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Jan 30, 2010 05:36 PM

Tarte tatin - crust won't brown?

I'm following Thomas Keller's Bouchon recipe for Tarte Tatin. It's been in the oven a good 25 minutes longer than called for in the recipe and the top isn't browning at all. I turned the heat up (from 375 to 400) about 10 minutes ago, but still nothing. Total cooking time is roughly 1:05 so far.

Any ideas?

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  1. I'm sorry not to be familiar with Keller's recipe. I use Jacque Pepin's:
    You might want to compare them and see how they differ.

    3 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Thanks for the link todao.

      Unfortunately, Pepin's dough and baking instructions are pretty similar, so I'm still stumped.

      It eventually got very, VERY slightly brown, and we just pulled it from the oven. Aside from an egg wash, is there any way to facilitate browning the next time around?

      1. re: jeremyn

        Isn't it really about the BOTTOM browning since the bottom becomes the top? adam

        1. re: adamshoe

          Indeed. I'm talking about what is the top while it's in the oven...what will become the bottom.

    2. Maybe your oven's thermostat is inaccurate. Do you have an oven thermometer?

      1. Make sure your pan is on a rack that is on the top of the oven. This facilitates browning on the crust.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mcel215

          I'll try this next time. It was probably 40% of the way up from the bottom.

        2. Maybe one of the following:
          Is there salt in the recipe? salt helps browning.
          Oven preheated
          Inaccurate oven
          Did you bake the tarte in pan/skillet that is too deep where the dough is no longer on the surface?

          5 Replies
          1. re: PBSF

            I'll try to borrow someone's oven thermometer, but I feel like I know my oven pretty well. When it reads 375-400, that is normally hot enough to brown dough.

            I used my 4 quart All-clad saute pan, which is pretty deep (2"). However, Keller recommended a nearly identical pan for the recipe (9.5" x 2"). The top of the dough was probably sitting 1/2" from the top of the pan. Do you think that could have made a difference? Seems like it should have been close enough, but I may try baking it in something shallower next time to test your theory.

            1. re: jeremyn

              I usually have the crust pretty much flush with the top of the pan or maybe slightly lower, but I don't think that's the issue.

              I agree with the recommendation to try a higher shelf in the oven. You might also just try a higher temperature. I bake the crust about 20-25 minutes at 425F.

              1. re: David A. Goldfarb

                I'll try a higher shelf and higher temp next time. I suspect that will cure the problem.

                I was really hesitant to go a full 50 degrees hotter than the recipe. I wonder what Keller was doing that I was not.

                1. re: jeremyn

                  I forget where I read this recently, but Keller has mentioned that some things that he has in his books may not translate exactly to a home oven. It could just be the oven.

              2. re: jeremyn

                The skillet size may not have anything to do with why your crust did not brown, but a 9.5"x2" skillet stated in the recipe has a 2 quart capacity, where you used a 4 quart saute pan. Pastry crust baked at 375 degree for one hour and 5 minutes as you've done should brown the crust regardless where you place the pan.