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Oct 1, 2006 07:44 PM

Tarte Tatin

I have a surplus of apples that were picked yesterday and I want to make a Tarte Tatin in a 10" cast iron skillet. I have searched Epi and Zaar but many conflicting opinions out there. Anyone have a semi easy recipe? I already have the Pate brisee made so no puff pastry..Hopefully for this evening?

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  1. This is supposedly the "official" tarte tatin from the Confrerie des Lichonneaux de Tarte Tatin. It was from the NYTimes about six years ago and I've made it with great success a few times. The recipes calls for puff pastry, but I've done it with pate brisee as well.

    Spread 8 tablespoons of butter evenly in a 10-inch skillet. Spread 1 cup sugar as evenly as possible on the sides and bottom of the pan. Arrange 6 medium apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters, in concentric circles, fitting them closely together.

    Place pan over high heat and cook without stirring until sugar carmelizes and becomes a dark golden brown. Recipe says 15 to 20 minutes, but I usually need more time. Remove from heat. Press down on the apples to remove any spaces. Cover with your pastry, tucking the pastry down the sides of the pan. Bake in a preheated 350 F. oven for about 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.

    1. I would add that I toss the sugar and apples together and move them around quite a bit in the pan over medium high them until the sugar has dissolved and the apples have given up enough liquid to get the caramel going. Then I arrange them round side down quite compactly and proceed as described above. Otherwise I find the apples can scorch.

      PS - I always use pate brisee.

      1. This may be too late for you to use, but hopefully someone can benefit. Below is a link to a French meal that I posted about w/ the dessert being tarte tatin. Pia's response set us on a long tangent regarding tarte tatin, including recipes, so check it out.

        So, how did your tarte turn out?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Carb Lover

          First off let me say thank you for everyone's quick response. I used Joan's recipe with Juno's tip. (Sorry Carb I didn't get your thread until all was said and done) Second let me add that I am not a dessert person at all. The tarte came out wonderful. I have never made Pate Brisee before but I figured I'd try. When I rolled it out it was a little unsightly but you invert it right? So I used it. I really let the apples/ sugar carmelize till they got pretty brown. After baking I let it rest for about 15 min or so and tried to invert it but some of the apples stuck. Crust came out fine so I was able to just replace the apples very easily and it looked fine. Picture worthy? No but it tasted great. I used a mixture of Cortland, Stayman Winesap and King David apples which made for a perfect balance of sweet/sour. I will definitely keep making this so maybe I'll get a picture worthy one eventually..

          1. re: King of Northern Blvd

            This post made me think of one of my favorite episodes of Julia Child's The French Chef. She makes a Tarte Tatin and it's a complete disaster-- the apples basically disintegrate into a saucy mess. But she carries it off with the usual Julia flare. It's a great episode and so unlike the edited, buffed and polished cooking shows we see. Nice work getting the tarte to invert mostly successfully. I didn't do so well with an apricot tarte tatin, but maybe I'll try one with apples based on your success... thanks!

        2. This is one of my most favorite desserts. I've had a few near misses as the heavy and very hot frying pan was inverted, but nobody cares once they taste it. Imho it's the perfect dessert.

          1. One Tarte Tatin lesson (I learned it the hard way) is that you really need to let it cool all the way down to room temp before inverting it. The juices--sugar, butter, apple juice--will thicken as they cool, but if you invert too soon you'll get a tide of very hot, very sticky liquid that (if it hits your forearm) can easily make you drop the whole thing. One way to make inverting easier (though you still need patience) is to use a Tarte Tatin pan, usually copper with a tin or stainless steel lining; Mauviel makes these, and the stainless-lined version has handles, which are nice. It's a lot to pay for a single-use utensil, but Tarte Tatin is so good, and you'll have the thing for years, so you can rationalize that the more times you use it, the lower the marginal cost per tart!

            3 Replies
            1. re: rootlesscosmo

              Inverting a cast iron skillet is certainly tricky and always a little scary, but I've found that when I let it cool too much, certainly anywhere near close to room temp, the caramel starts to harden again. Not only do the apples stick, but most of that great caramel remains stuck in the pan rather than covering the top of the apples. In fact, the only time I had a real tatin disaster was when I made it too far ahead of time and didn't turn it out of the pan soon enough. Any idea why letting it cool would work for you and not work for me at all?

              1. re: JoanN

                I've never made it in a cast iron skillet; I think I made my first in a Le Creuset enameled cast iron pan, then I got one of the tinned copper ones. Those linings may be more slippery than cast iron and so release the caramel more easily. Sometimes I have to give the bottom (now top) of the pan a thump, and once in a while an apple section sticks, but usually it slides out without a hitch.

              2. re: rootlesscosmo

                I'd love to have a tarte Tatin dish--it is so pretty in copper--but so far, I've found that a heavy stainless steel 10-inch saucepan works very well for me. It must have sloped bottom and sides, however. I've tried a non-stick pan, too, and sticking was not a problem, but the caramelization was definitely inferior.

                I find that you can usually eliminate or at least minimize the apples sticking if you (1) do NOT scrimp on the butter; this should not be a low-calorie dish; (2) turn the tarte over while it is still warm, but not hot, pretty much the temperature at which I think it is best to enjoy the tarte. If you let it cool to the point at which the butter in the caramel starts to stiffen, you should warm the tarte until the caramel is liquid again.