Tarte Tatin aux Pommes (Upside down Apple Pie)
Tarte Tatin sounds like a fancy dessert, but really, it's just an upside down caramel apple tart. I made a simple tart shell using dough called pâte brisée. Instead of filling the shell though, I placed slices of apples that were cooked in a caramel sauce into the mold and then covered them with the tart shell. The tarts then went into the oven to cook the shell.
You really should eat these treats almost as soon as they come out of the oven. To plate, just flip each mold and the apples will now be on top. If you wait too long, the caramel will harden and it will be difficult to unmold. If you flip the tart out and let it sit, the crust will get soggy. This has never been a problem at my house because the smell of freshly baking apples always manages to gather the entire family in the kitchen.
Yields: 12 mini tarts1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, + extra for greasing the baking dish
1 teaspoon canola oil (or any neutral oil)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons water, chilled
8 Red Delicious apples
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
7 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
4 tablespoons apricot preserves, warm
Making pâte brisée (tart shells):
The dough can be prepared in advance. Dice 7-½ tablespoons of butter that has been chilled. Set aside.
Grease 12 4-inch diameter individual non-stick pie molds (or 2 9-inch diameter pie pans) with a thin layer of butter (about 1 tablespoon).
Lightly oil the bowl of your food processor with a silicone brush. Add the flour, 3/4 teaspoon of sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of salt and the cold diced butter. Blend for a few seconds. Pulse the mixture until it forms sandy crumbs of butter and flour. Add 5 tablespoons of chilled water. Pulse another 3-4 times until it forms a dough. Do NOT over-mix. Transfer the pâte brisée into a bowl. Allow to chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Once chilled, transfer the dough onto a pastry board lined with a sheet of parchment paper. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough like a sandwich. Using a rolling pin, even out the dough to about ½-inch thick. Using one of the individual pie molds, create 12 disks of dough. (scalloped-edge). Prick the dough with a fork. Stack the dough rounds, placing little squares of parchment paper between them to prevent them from sticking to each other. Chill in the refrigerator until the rest of the ingredients are ready.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Peel, core and slice the apples in half. Cut the halves into 4 small wedges. Coat them with lemon juice to prevent them from browning.
In a large non-stick pan, dissolve the sugar with about 4 tablespoons of water over high heat. It's important to carefully watch the sugar; as soon as the edges of the pan start caramelizing (about 3 minutes), immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Gently jiggle the pan in circles. Don't let the sugar get dark brown or you'll get a burnt taste. When all the sugar is an amber color, remove from the heat, pause for about a minute (be careful of splattering when the butter is added), then slowly add 4 tablespoons of butter and 1/8 teaspoon of salt. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon. Add the apple wedges and about ½ cup of water. Bring back to a boil. Cover and poach the apples in the caramel for about 6-8 minutes, tossing occasionally. Remove the lid and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Check if there's any liquid left in the pan (add a little water if necessary). Sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook for an additional 5 minutes until the apples are coated in caramel and tender (the liquid should have evaporated).
Remove the dough disks from the refrigerator. Lightly roll out the dough so they are slightly larger than the circumference of the pie molds. Place 5 apple slices into each mold. Lay a dough round on top. Gently press the dough with your fingers so there are no air bubbles. Prick the tart shell with a fork.
Bake for 5 minutes at 400°F; lower the temperature to 375°F and bake for another 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven. Place a dessert plate onto each mold and turn both upside down to loosen the caramelized apples along with the tart shell onto the plate. Immediately brush each tartlet with the warm apricot preserves, to make the apples more moist and for a burst of bold fruit flavor.
I used Red Delicious apples for their very sweet flavor but you can use any other kinds, such as Granny Smiths for a more tart flavor or Gala apples for a less tart / sweeter flavor.
FYI: 1 cup of butter = 16 tablespoons = 2 sticks of butter.
As soon as the tart is ready, flip it immediately (the apples will unmold easily). Otherwise the caramel will settle and stick to the mold. Serve immediately; you don't want the dough to become soggy.
I used Laura's apricot preserves for the glaze. You can find her preserves at the annual Belmont Arts and Crafts fair (San Francisco Bay Area). While the tatin tarts are still hot, brush some fruit preserves over the apples. Just warm the apricot preserves in the microwave for a few seconds (or over the stove). If you fancy some Calvados (cider liqueur) flavor, add a drop to the glaze.
This recipe is fairly basic. If you want to make the tart fancier, you can add dried fruits (such as raisins, dried apricots, dried pineapple, dried mangoes or dried papaya), candied orange rinds or candied tangerine peels, Calvados or nuts (such as slightly toasted almonds). You can also use other fruits that are in season; the possibilities are endless.
For more recipes using caramel, click on the link.Published By: on January 17, 2010.