Adapted from a Julia Child recipe
My first job was at a 4-star French restaurant in Boston and one of my most vivid memories of working at Maison Robert was the tarte tatin that sat in full view of all the diners, enticing anyone who walked by to order it for dessert. It was kept warm on some sort of hot plate, waiting to be topped with chantilly cream.
Since it’s just about the end of apple season, it’s finally time to bake that apple dessert you’ve been talking about. Tarte tatin, a warm, upside-down tart with caramelized apples, is a good choice. Rumor has that this dessert was created by mistake in the late 1800s: one of two sisters who owned the Hotel Tatin in France was exhausted but planned to make an apple pie. By accident she’d left the apples and butter on the stove for too long and they began to burn. She placed the dough on top of the pan and put it in the oven, hoping to salvage the dish. What she did was create a classic dessert. As they say, some mistakes are blessings in disguise.
6 medium apples
Juice of half a lemon
6 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cup sugar, separated
Puffed pastry, chilled
A 9-inch ovenproof skillet
Make the Tarte Tatin
Peel apples, halve and core apples, then cut lengthwise into quarters. Toss apple pieces with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup of the sugar. Let this sit for 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Over medium heat, melt butter in an ovenproof skillet. Sprinkle in remaining 1 cup sugar and whisk over the heat until it turns a pale caramel color. Remove the skillet from heat and add the apples, arranging them in a pattern, rounded edges down. Continue to layer apples around the pan, beginning in the center. Place the skillet over medium high heat again, and cook for about 20 minutes, pressing down on the apples with a wooden spoon. Periodically baste the apples with the juices.
Please note that apples may shrink.
Meanwhile, on a floured surface, roll out the puffed pastry to a 9-inch circle. Remove skillet from stove and drape the dough over the apples, trimming the edges if necessary. Cut four steam holes into the dough then place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and then using
Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.
Tracey Ceurvels is a busy writer-mom-food lover who blogs about dining in + out at The Busy Hedonist. She offers busy food lovers an easy + convenient dinner plan of fresh, seasonal dishes with weekly menus + shopping lists.