I have been making Tarte Tatin for a long time though my first post about it took place in the early days and it shared space with a lamb dish - not exactly very nice of me, I suppose. I thought that since I am making this for Babinette's dessert after lunch, I could dedicate a short post to it on its own.
This is a dessert that usually pleases both children and adults and is easy to prepare. After all this time, I would need to invest in a shallow cast-iron dish that would allow me to cook the caramel and apples on a stove and then bake with the puff pastry in an oven. Lacking that, I do both steps in the oven which isn't too bad either.
I cook this French apple tart differently almost each time I do it, so there is really no one method for it. What you need to obtain at the end of the preparation though is a puffy and crispy tart base with a caramelised apple topping. That you could serve as it is or with vanilla ice cream or thick cream. Yummy...
Tarte Tatin (serves 4) :
1 roll round or square puff pastry
1 21-cm round oven-proof dish
2 granny smith, braeburn and/or reinette apples (sliced into 12 slices each)
4+1 tbsp mix of white and brown sugars
1 tbsp water
1/2-1 tsp ground cinnamon
a bit of butter
Heat the oven to 180/190°C.
One could prepare the caramel in a cast-iron pan on the stove with 4 tbsp of the sugars and the tbsp of water, or spread the sugar out on a round baking dish, sprinkle the water all over on it and bake in the hot oven. In either case, keep a tight eye on the caramel so that it doesn't carbonise. It should just turn golden brown.
Here, one can let the caramel turn very brown, or one could just let it turn brown. The former will allow you to skip one step in making the tatin (and the product will be more moist), while the latter will require you to return the tart to the oven at the end to finish caramelising the apples. I like the latter method as I prefer a more cooked crust.
Remove the dish from the oven and place the apple slices in the caramel. Sprinkle the extra tbsp of sugar all over them as well as the ground cinnamon. Cut a bit of butter into tiny cubes and place them on top of the apples. Return to the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the dish from the oven once again and cover it with the puff pastry, tucking in (on top) any extra pastry. Bake for another 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and place a large plate over the baking dish. In one move, turn it over so that the apples are now on top.
Needs more tanning
If the caramel had been very dark earlier, this should be enough. Otherwise, gently slide the tart onto a paper-lined baking tray and return to the oven for another 10 minutes or till the top is caramelised. This way, the sides of the pastry will also be caramelised.
Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or cream.