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What kind of dough should Tarte Tatin be made with?

I'm confused as to whether it's traditionally made with tarte crust or puff pastry dough? The best examples I've had seem to be using the latter, although that would mean it's really a tarte.. Thoughts?

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  1. IMO, the best choice would be a phyllo/puff pastry dough.
    Jacques Pepin would disagree with me; he uses a Pâte Brisée.

    1 Reply
    1. re: todao

      Thanks but isn't phyllo different from puff pastry? I believe they are two different techniques.

    2. Id go with a pate Brisée or a pate Sucrée, but that's just me. adam

      4 Replies
      1. re: adamshoe

        Me too. I know that some people make it with puff pastry dough, but I've never tried it. I don't think I would like it at all with phyllo dough. I think I may have posted the Julia Child recipe that I use - foodsmith, let me know if you want me to track down the post.

        1. re: MMRuth

          Again just wondering, aren't phyllo and puff pastry different? I think I've had it many times with puff pastry, and loved it.

          1. re: foodsmith

            Yes, phyllo and puff pastry are very different, which is why I can't imagine making it with phyllo.

        2. re: adamshoe

          My first choice would be the pate sucree, but homemade puff pastry is always welcome.

        3. Martha Stew's website has several different recipes that all sound wonderful. Most of them use a pate Brisée, but not all. adam

          1. I favor puff pastry. Thanks for the reminder that it's Apple Dessert Time. :)

            1. I use both. If I have the time, I make a pate brisee. If I don't I ued puff pastry.

              And a favorite of mine is a Carmelized Pear and Ginger Tartin, from a class I took last
              fall in Cambridge. It's amazing. I posted it somewhere on here, or you can go to Helen Rennie's website and it's posted there. beyondsalmon.com

              12 Replies
              1. re: mcel215

                How can puff pastry be faster pate brisée? Pate brisée, in my world, is pretty fast. But then I don't measure very carefully - just eyeball it. Even if you're buying the puff pastry you still have to read each label till you find one made just with butter, buy it, time the thawing of it, it still has to be rolled out a bit . . . it never seems as fast as a brisee to me.

                I can hardly wait to slip some ginger into my next pear Tatin - thanks for that!

                1. re: cinnamon girl

                  Well in my world, puff pastry is bought at a store and taken out of a box and pate brisee is hand made and needing to be chilled at least 2 hours before using. ; )

                  1. re: mcel215

                    Well that's where we differ - lazy bones me only ever gives it 20-30 mins in the fridge if in a rush. And then proceed with the apples. It's been so many years since I used bought puff and I vaguely remember having to thaw it in the fridge for several hours. I should revisit it obviously. I'm told it's easier to find all-butter now. Gosh I'm like a dino. No Trader Joe's here tho', Chowser :-(

                    1. re: cinnamon girl

                      I was so excited when I discovered the TJ's puff pastry. I had bought Dufour before but it was so much more. TJ's is only butter, flour, sugar, salt. A little on the sweet side but perfect for tarte tatin. But, if I didn't have a TJ's nearby, I'd do pate brisee, too. Although, it does have to sit out for 20 minutes but it's perfect for preparing the apples.

                      1. re: chowser

                        I tried to buy some at a Boston-area TJ's last month to make Ina Garten's Tomato-Goat Cheese Tarts, but they said it was seasonal and wouldn't be available for a while.

                        I went to Whole Foods, and they had the Good Wives brand and Dufours, both of which are all-butter and very good. I'll check back with TJ's next time I'm there.

                        1. re: bear

                          You know, I have bought it year round but it wasn't in the store the last time I checked, a couple of weeks ago. I'll have to ask next time. I wonder if they changed distribution. I'll be very disappointed.

                          1. re: chowser

                            Yes, I just checked with our local TJ's and was told it was seasonal, for the holiday season. I think I was told it would be in towards late October.

                            I had no trouble finding the Dufours at Whole Foods.

                          2. re: bear

                            I recently used the Dufours from Whole Foods. I didn't see the Good Wives brand (but didn't look for it either.)

                            How do the two brands differ? Do you prefer one?

                            1. re: karykat

                              I haven't done a side-by-side taste test, so I can't say if I prefer one to the other. I have been happy with both when I've used them. The Good Wives might be a regional brand, now that I think of it. Both have a nice buttery flavor and very flaky texture. Good Wives comes in a smaller package, and therefore costs a couple of dollars less, so I bought that since I didn't need a large amount.

                              TJ's is also nice and buttery and flaky, and significantly less expensive than the others, so I'll grab a couple of packs of that when it's available to keep in the freezer for those special indulgences.

                          3. re: chowser

                            oooohh I'll look for that. 20 minutes ain't long at all! Yes, I don't mind it with a little sweetness either. Plus I think pastry browns a little nicer with a touch of sugar in it. Thanks for the recommendation, Chowser. And everyone else for that matter. I might have better luck finding Dufour in the meantime ... I do have a Whole Foods in my town.

                      2. re: cinnamon girl

                        I'm with mcel215. Puff pastry in a pinch, from Trader Joe's. It's so easy. I can't say I like either better but it's the time constraint.

                        1. re: chowser

                          I very much liked the Dufours I used and definitely wanted the all-butter. But it is a little spendy. Over $10 for a box with one sheet. That was fine for an occasion, but not for everyday.

                          I think I may need to start making the rough puff.

                    2. I just made two the other night using Dorie Greenspan's filling recipe and Cooks Illustrated vodka pie crust, which has a bit of sugar in it like a pate sucree. Delicious combo.

                      1. Add jfood to the puff pastry vote

                        1. I really like Chez Panisse's crostata dough, but I will use puff pastry dough in a pinch.

                            1. re: Rizza

                              I like it with puff pastry as well....always taking my cues from the Roux brothers. That's the only one I've ever made. Will have to try it with pate brisee or sucree.

                            2. This has been my go-to dessert for eons . . . especially for those big celebratory dinners like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Puff or pate brisee but never pate sucree. The caramelized fruit is already sweet enough. That said, I'd happily scarf down a slice made with pate sucree and no doubt greedily chase that last crumb around my plate till captured.

                              I've taken to making a rough puff for the past 5 or 6 years and this has become my favourite. You don't have to worry about it puffing too much and it's slightly (but only slightly) less rich than a full puff pastry after a big meal. But I don't just fold pate brisee over on itself to make "layers" . . . this only ever seems to result in toughness for me. I lay down thin slices of butter in btwn folds. It's all kind of willy nilly but puffs just the right amount.

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: cinnamon girl

                                CG -- do you use a specific recipe for your rough puff?

                                I tried it long ago and don't remember how and it sounds like your method might be different.

                                Any tips?

                                1. re: karykat

                                  Oh gosh Karykat ... not a recipe per se but here goes anyway: (not sure if you're metric or imperial so I'll do both.) I make my tarte tatin in a skillet so figure I need a generous cup of flour (esp since after turning a few times you end up with a square). So about 1 1/4 c flour or 155 g/5.5 oz mixed with 1/8 - 1/4 tsp salt (depending on if you use salted butter or not) and a tsp of sugar.

                                  Then let your conscience be your guide for the butter. I go with about 90g / 6 tb / 3/4 stick / 3 oz / 1/3 cup. I cut off abt a tb and cut it into the flour and add sufficient ice water to make it kind of come together; it'll still be quite rubbly. Probably no more than a 1/4 cup of ice water.

                                  Then cut the cold butter into as many thin slices as you can. Shape the rubble into a vague rectangle shape (vertical orientation). Lay half the butter slices over 2/3rds of your flour rubble pile. (Easier for me to lay it on the bottom 2/3rds.) With a bench scraper in one hand and a plastic dough scraper in the other, I fold down the one-third of the flour rubble w/o butter - over top of the middle third (w/ butter). Then I fold up the bottom third (also with the butter) over the middle (whose butter is now covered by the top third). It won't be perfect - the bench scraper comes in handy.

                                  At this point it will look like uncompromising mess - don't despair it really will come together. Roll it back to its original rectangle shape (or fascimile of) but you'll be rolling it horizontally as it will be easier to turn your body than the pile of rubble (as you would with proper puff pastry). Fold and roll.

                                  Your pile of rubble will be looking a bit more solid now and it will oriented vertically again. Arrange the rest of the butter and repeat as above. Fold and roll again or until it looks like pastry. It just suddenly starts looking like pastry as if by magic. You'll want to keep rolling and folding when you get the rhythm of it. But stop before the butter starts melting and let it rest.

                                  Unorthodox but very flaky and puffy. Have I totally confused you? I find that unlike proper puff pastry or other laminated doughs (e.g. croissant, danish), it doesn't matter if you use salted or unsalted butter. Frankly I'd rather have salted butter than forget to add salt and have no salt in the final product.

                                  1. re: cinnamon girl

                                    Thanks! Do you refrigerate between rollings? I seem to recall that the one time I made puff pastry?

                                    Sounds like you don't need to.

                                    1. re: karykat

                                      No b/c I do it for it speed. Otherwise, I'd just make real puff. I guess if it was really hot and I was trying to be fancy schmancy I might. But you'd only be able to after it had come together enough to move it. Oh, I should add that before putting it in the fridge it's helpful to roll it out as big as you have a tray for .. that will fit in your fridge. Provided the butter hasn't melted too much.

                              2. Pate sucree...but then again I have a mean sweet tooth. I never considered making it with puff pastry.