Recipe for Tarte Tatin

Weeks ago, my sister came to town for a weekend visit from northern CA. She had recently taken a cooking/baking class at the Learning Exchange where she learned to make Tarte Tatin. Tarte Tatin is pretty much like upside down apple tart. (Think upside down pineapple cake but way better because I don't like pineapple).

Normally Tarte Tatin is made in one pan. (Did anyone see that Top Chef episode in season 5, where the chefs have to make a dish in a 1 pot wonder? This would be a great dish to make for that challenge!) Any how, we had made some changes to the recipe because I wanted to use some new Williams Somona baking pans I had recently gotten at a vintage store.

1 puff pastry sheet (the chef teaching the class said you can make the pastry dough from scratch, but its much easier to use the pre-made sheets. We say, if teachers say so, it must be okie!)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
7 to 9 Gala apples (3-4 pounds), peeled quartered lengthwise, and cored

Equipment: 10 inch skillet

Yield: Makes 8 servings

Preheat oven to 425˚F

First, prep all your ingredients (peeling and slicing all the apples). 

Roll pastry sheet into a 10 1/2 inch square on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin. Brush off excess flour an cut out a 10-inch round with a sharp knife, using a plate as a guide. Transfer round to a baking sheet and chill.

Spread butter thickly on bottom and side of skillet and pour sugar evenly over bottom. Arrange as many apples as will fit vertically on sugar, packing them tightly in concentric circles. Apples will stick up above the skillet.

Cook apples over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until juices are deep golden and bubbling, 18-25 minutes. (Don't worry if juices color unevenly.)

 (we changed the recipe, since I wanted to use the new baking pans I just got. We ended up caramelizing the butter and sugar first, and the placing the apples on top of the sugar mixture.)

Put skillet in middle of oven over a piece of foil to catch any drips. Bake 20 minutes (apples will settle slightly), then remove from oven and lay pastry round over apples.

Bake tart until pastry is browned, 20-25 mins. Transfer skillet to a rack and cook for at least 10 minutes.

First before serving, invert a platter with a lip over skillet and using potholders to hold skillet and plate tightly together, invert the tart onto the platter. Replace any apples that sticks to the skillet.  (Don't worry if there are black spots; they won't affect the flavor of the tart). Spread any excess caramel from skillet over apples. Serve immediately.

Bon Appetit!