Saturday, October 31, 2009

France - Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Upside-down Apple Tart

The story has it that the tarte Tatin was invented by the Tatin sisters, whose restaurant was located in Lamotte Beuvron (Loir-et-Cher). There are conflicting stories concerning the tart's origin, but the predominant one is that St├ęphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but 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. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. 
So often, mistakes in the kitchen can lead to new and wonderful recipes!

Here is the recipe we followed in class this week:

{Make pie dough ahead of time so it has time to cool in the refrigerator.  You can also use packaged pie rounds or puff pastry from the grocery store.}

Sweet Pie dough -
1 1/2 cups AP flour
1/2 cup cake flour
2 Tbs sugar
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz cold unsalted butter (one and a half sticks)
4 Tbs Crisco (vegetable shortening) refrigerated
1/2 cup ice water

For caramelized apples, you will need the following ingredients:
5-6 granny smith apples
6 Tbs unsalted butter
1 1/2 cup sugar 
zest and juice of one lemon

- For pie dough, mix dry ingredients in bowl, then quickly cut in butter and crisco until pea-sized pieces are formed.  The dough will resemble lumpy cornmeal in texture.  
- Add cold water, one tablespoon at a time.  Stop adding water when you feel that the dough will squeeze together and form with your hand.  You will not need the whole 1/2cup.  In fact, probably only 5 Tbs or so will do.  Remember not to overwork the dough.  Only combine the ingredients and work the dough into a round, then wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Peel and core apples, cutting each half into four pieces.  Toss with 1/2 cup sugar and lemon juice and zest.  Let sit for 20 minutes.

Using a cast iron skillet, or other pan which can go from stovetop to oven, melt butter completely then add 1 cup sugar.  Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend over medium heat. Keep stirring and watch for mixture to begin browning and bubbling

When mixture is caramel colored, remove from heat and add apple slices.  Lay them side-by-side facing the same direction, forming an attractive pattern. (This will be the top of the tart when served.)

Now fill in the gaps with remaining apples.  If the pan seems full, don't worry, the apples shrink while cooking. 
Place pan back over medium heat and cook until juices blend with caramel and bubble up through the apples.  Using a spoon or turkey baster, bring the liquid up and baste it over tops of apples.
When the liquid seems to have thickened and become syrup-like (about 5 minutes), remove from heat.
Let cool while you roll out your pastry dough.  Make the dough circle about 1 inch bigger than the pan.  
Place dough over pan, covering apples, and tuck the edges inside around the apples.
With the tip of a sharp knife, make 4 or 5 slits in the dough to let steam escape.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Let cool slightly before inverting onto a large serving platter or sheet pan.
Serve with sweetened cinnamon whip cream, or vanilla ice cream.

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