Julia Child TWC Tarte Tatin Recipe
Ingredients for 8 inch tart (my cast iron pan is at least 9 inches)
5-6 Golden Delicious Apples (or the other ones I posted about) (I have 7-8 on hand)
Grated rind and juice of one lemon
1.5 cups sugar
6 T unsalted butter, cut into .5 inch piece
8 oz butter pastry (pate brisee - will post)
Optional accompaniment - whipped cream, sour cream or vanilla ice cream (I like creme fraiche)
Will post instructions when dog stops licking my hand incessantly.
I have made this twice so far -- the first time it was okay -- i think I didn't let the caramel develop enough before putting in the apples, and I remember thinking it was a bit sweet. Just made it a second time, with at least 1/4 cup less sugar in the pan (still 1/2 cup on the apples initially) and it was fantastic. Lemon juice really brightens it up.
Sorry about that ...
Here's a list of the apples she recommends using:
Use a cast iron 9 x 2" frying pan. You need a baster to baste the apples - I recommend using a heavy duty metal one, due to the temperature of the caramel.
Core, peel and quarter the apples, cut the quarters into half lengthwise, toss in bowl with 1/2 cup sugar and lemon, let sit for 20 minutes, drain.
Melt the butter in the frying pan over moderately high heat - when melted, add remaining sugar. Stir with wooden spoon until syrup turns bubbly caramel brown - JC says it will smoothe out later when apple juices dissolve the sugar. Key point - this will look like a big mess of seized up sugar - don't worry - just make sure it turns caramel brown.
Off heat, arrange apples in nice pattern on the bottom (in circles) - this will be the top of the tarte. Then add the rest of the apples packed closely and "only reasonably neat". As I mentioned in the ingredients - I use more apples, so that, as JC says, they heap up 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan, as they will shrink when cooked.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and put rack in lower middle level. Put pan on moderatley high heat, press down the apples as they soften, and baste with juices as they accumulate. After several minutes, when the apples have begun to soften, cover and cook 10 - 15 minutes, checking and basting frequently. When juices are thick and syrupy, remove from heat and let cool slightly.
Roll out the chilled dough (I'll post the pate brisee recipe later) into a 3/16 thick circle, 1 inch larger than the pan and cut 4 steam holes, 1/4 inch size, 1.5 inches from the center of the dough. Fold dough in half, then quarter, then center over the apples and unfold. Press the edges of the dough between the apples and the inside of the pan.
Bake about 20 minutes in the oven until brown and crisp and remove from oven - I find sometimes it takes a bit longer. JC kindly reminds us that the handle will be red hot, to which I can attest based on several occasions of starting to pull it out without a mitt.
Tilt pan to see if juices are runny - they should be a thick syrup - if not, boil down rapidly on a burner, but don't evaporate completely, or apples will stick.
Put the serving dish on top, using oven mitts, then grasp onto the serving dish and the pan and invert. If needed, fix the pieces of apple that may not have inverted perfectly.
Tips for making ahead and serving later so it doesn't get soggy:
I just made this for the first time for xmas dinner - it was so absolutely fantastic. I didn't have a baster on hand, so I ended up using a thin pastry brush and just dipped carefully into surround caramel and brushed the apples as they were cooking on the stove. The sugar-butter mixture does initially look weird and ruined (made me nervous!) before they become a wonderful brown caramel - it took me about 10 minutes to get there, I think. But this is definitely my new favorite dessert!
Adding my tips for reheating it later:
Here's my tip about the Tarte Tatin. When it is done, flip it onto a plate. Then, line the castiron pan with foil, flip it back in. And cover with foil - meaning - the apple side is in the pan, so no dough sogginess. Transport it like that, then briefly heat up in the oven before serving. I've made it the night before or the morning of. I keep it at room temp until reheating.
I remembered another step - a safety precaution! - I brush the foil with butter, put in a circle of parchment paper, then butter the paper, before putting the Tarte Tatin back in. The trick with reheating is to make sure that the caramel doesn't melt again - sometimes I need to put it on the stove top for a minute or two to make sure that the caramel gets absorbed back into the apples.