Research shows that the tarte Tatin was created accidentally at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 160 km (100 miles) south of Paris, in the 1880s. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. Stéphanie, who did most of the cooking left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven.
And, apparently there are other versions of the story too. The concept of the ‘upside down tarts’ was not new. A specialty of the Hôtel Tatin, the sisters did not set out to create a ‘signature dish’. They never wrote a cookbook or published their recipe. They never even called it tarte Tatin. That recognition was bestowed upon them by Curnonsky, the famous French author and epicure, as well as the Parisian restaurant Maxim’s after the sisters’ deaths.
Original tarte Tatin is made by cooking apples in caramel sauce in cast iron skillet or oven-proof heavy-bottomed skillet, then covered with pâte brisée/shortcrust pastry, placed in oven and baked.
This recipe is a simpler version, which uses a non-stick cake pan and covering caramelized apples with store bought frozen puff-pastry. When choosing apples for a tarte Tatin, it is important to pick a variety that will hold its shape while cooking, and not fall apart into apple sauce. If found in your area, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala, Jonathan and Braeburn are good varieties for baking.
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
This recipe is for a non-stick 23 cm x 5 cm deep / 9″x2″ cake pan.
• 1¼ Kilos/ 2¾ lbs/ 5 medium apples – used Envy apples
• 175 g/ ¾ cup+2 Tbsp granulated sugar
• 3 Tbsp water
• 45 g/ 3 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
• 1/16 tsp/ pinch salt
• 1 sheet puff pastry
◊ Wash apples. Peel them, cut them in half. Other than one of the halves, slice each half into equal 3 wedges. Remove cores. This may be done a day in advance to dry them out. Don’t worry about discoloration, it disappears while cooking.
◊ Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
◊ Place rack on middle oven shelf and preheat to 190°C / 375°F.
◊ In a no-stick large pot, add sugar and water, on medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Do not stir, combine by swirling the pot. When sugar thickens and turns amber, add butter and swirl the pot until melted.
◊ Add cut apples to the pot and sprinkle salt. Cook the apples until the sauce darkens to a deep amber, caramel color. Using a wooden spoon, turn the apples as stirring to coat them with the caramel sauce. Sauce is done when it is thick and most liquid has evaporated. Be patient, thicker the sauce becomes, the better the result. Watch closely not to burn the caramel. Remove from heat to cool for 10 minutes.
◊ Be careful not to touch the hot caramel sauce with hands! Using two spoons or chopsticks, gently place the half apple in the center of cake pan. Arrange the rest of the apple wedges around, neatly, almost overlapping. Leave room around the outer edge of the apples for space to tuck the pastry into. Pour the caramel in the center of the cake pan.
◊ Cut puff-pastry 3cm/2″ all around bigger than the cake pan (roll the pastry to size if needed). Place the pastry over the top of the apples and tuck the edges tightly down inside the pan. Poke a few holes on the puff pastry with toothpick or tip of a knife for steam to escape. Place cake pan on the lined baking sheet and bake for 25 ~ 28 minutes or until pastry is golden. Place pan on a cooling rack and cool for 30 minutes.
◊ Rotate the pan gently to loosen the tart. Invert a round serving dish larger than the cake pan over the pan, and flip. If any apples are stuck to the pan or out of order, arrange back on tarte. Serve with crème fraîche, lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice-cream.
~ Bon Appétit! ~
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