New cooking project: Apple Tarte Tatin

I lasted a whole 48 hours before I had to bake something from Molly Wizenberg's book. Chris got us a fruit tarte for my birthday and I've spent the past few weeks in the shadow of that heavenly creation from Financier. I thought an apple tarte might be a fun Sunday project.

I'm not going to retype the recipe here, but for those of you who have the book, check out pages 108-109 to try it out. I'll just add a couple of personalized tips to flesh out an already comprehensive recipe. Here's the list of things you'll need to get started:

Juice of 1 lemon
1.5 cups of granulated sugar
5 to 6 large Golden Delicious apples
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
14 oz of puff pastry

Making the hot caramel was super-easy. I didn't have what the recipe called for (8- or 9- inch cast-iron skillet), but I figured a regular old frying pan would work alright. More on this later.

Molly's recipe calls for quartering the apples and mixing them with a sugar/lemon juice mixture. I never know how literal to take instructions like this. I cut the apples in four, but they looked way too big. Plus, the last time I checked, apple tartes in la France are made with uber-thin slices of pommes. Solution? I cut my quarters in half. I think next time I would try making them even thinner.

So here's where the skillet-deficiency becomes an issue. The recipe says that you're going to cook these apples on the stove-top and then put the same pan into the oven. Unfortunately, my frying pan from Target isn't made with such transitional skillz. Cue stress.

The caramel started bubbling and the apples were cooking. And still I had no solution. What the hell could I use to cook this tarte?

A pie plate? Maybe I could just dump the finished apples into the plate and be done with it. Voila!

I started moving the apples, but then realized that they were originally placed in the frying pan round-side down. Ruh roh. I'm sure I could have scooped all the apples any which way, but I am a slight perfectionist and was already a little peeved about the whole "not having the right pan in the first place." A fork and a little patience paid off.

With the apples aesthetically arranged, I slipped the puff pastry on top, taking care to tuck the extra sides into the plate. It looked like a masterpiece already, but I knew that the most difficult maneuver was still to come.

Le pie bakes. After 30 minutes, I took it out of the oven and it looked a little worse for wear.
"Are you really sure you need to flip it?" Chris asked. "I think all the stuff is going to fall out."
"Yeah..." I, too, was doubtful.

Imagine our shock when it went perfectly. Chris flipped. I flinched. And all was well with le pie.

I mean, seriously, how fancy pants is this tarte!?

Serve with a scoop of Brown Sugar ice cream. Welcome to heaven.

The recipe says it serves 8. I say only if they're 8 children. YUM.

And now it's time for a breakdown:

I'm not going to lie. There were a bunch of things to juggle with this recipe, though it might be easier if you have the perfect tools and are not trying to simultaneously cook stir fry. Just saying.

It was really good, but it didn't remind me of a French apple tart so much as a yummy caramel-soaked pile of apples with a tiny bit of crust underneath it. I also wished there had been some cinnamon in this recipe. I think next time I'll try to add some to the caramel sauce.

Overall though, way fun and way do-able on a Sunday evening. Bon appetit!


Britt said...

Awesome! Nicely executed. Yes, this my dear is exactly how we make due before we have the dreamy collection of culinary implements that I listed in my little diatribe the other day. A lot creativity (and usually quite a bit more time) and it can be done. Looks lovely!

Erica said...

Hey Jen, your tarte tatin looks perfect !! The apples in tarte tatin are supposed to be big (it's not the same thing as tarte aux pommes, when you have the thin slices of apple). Do a google image search for tarte tatin and you'll see that yours is perfect !

Damien's mom makes a wonderful tarte tatin and yours looks really similar !!! I'm impressed ... and jealous, yum !

Jen said...

Aha! Thanks for the tip, E. Will have to seek out a recipe for the normal tarte aux pommes. :)

Thanks, B. A little kitchen gymnastics worked out just fine. ;)

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