Saturday, November 10, 2007

TarteTatin The Old Fashioned Way

I've been threatening to post this recipe for some time. Finally, here it is. I've called this 'The old Fashioned Way' because its the way I've been making Tarte Tatin for some 25 years. Think I first learned how to make it from Julia's original book. This is the stove top method and I'll readily admit that it more work & messier than doing it in the oven, but Linda (who hates me getting caramel all over the kitchen) prefers it despite that & I think I do too. Besides its far more dramatic. Get your friends to watch you & Ohh & Aww!

Equipment: A good knife, an apple corer, an 8 or 9 inch non-stick frying pan (preferably with a removable handle, but if not a handle that will stand oven heat.), a mixing bowl and a flat plate for the finished tarte.

  1. 6- 8 apples, Granny Smith's by preference, but in case apples that don't fall apart when cooked.
  2. One lemon.
  3. 1 & 1/2 cups of sugar.
  4. 3 oz unsalted butter.
  5. Enough pate brise (butter pie crust) to cover an 8-9 inch pan.

First core the apples then trim the end flat & peel.

Cut each apple into 1/8ths

Peel the zest off of the lemon, juice it and put both juice & zest into the mixing bowl along with 1/2 cup of the sugar.

Add all of the apples & give a good stir with your hands to coat the apples throughly.

Now, melt the butter in the frying pan and add the remaining cup of sugar.

Stir gently, but constantly. Do not panic as the mixture goes all bubbly, then separates just keep stirring until it starts to smoke. When that happens turn off the heat.

Now comes the first tricky part.

Start laying the apples pieces on their sides around the perimeter of the pan.
Obviously you need to be very careful as you do this. A wooden spoon to nudge the pieces around helps.
Continue until you have completed a first layer, then
start a second.

Put the pan back onto a medium high heat. Using a bulb baster or a spoon start basting the apples.

You will need to do several bastin
g's. ( About now turn your oven on to 200 degrees C.)

After 5 minutes or so cover the pan for 5 minutes. Then uncover & baste, then cover again.

Give the apples about 15-20 minutes of cooking time. You will see them start to soften. Get you crust out and start rolling it out. You need the diameter of the pan plus a goodly bit to trim.

Turn the heat off. Fold the
crust in half & gently lay over the pan.

Trim the crust all round & tuck it into the INSIDE of the pan. Poke a few vent holes in the top.

Place the tarte in the top half of the 200 C oven and bake until the crust is nicely browned. (About 15 minutes) (NOTE: If your pan has a removable handle great. If no
t then put the pan in the oven & leave the door open a bit at the top if the handle won't fit.)

Take the pie out (WATCH OUT FOR HOT HANDLE & PAN!!) and check to see that the caramel is fairly thick by tilting the pan. If it runs too easily place the pan back over medium high heat on the stove top for a few more minutes.

You are now ready for "the moment of truth". Let the pie cool for no more than 3-4 minutes. Get the plate the pie will be on and place it, inverted, on top of the tarte.

Quickly, but smoothly turn the tarte over as shown.

Gently lift the pan off and....

With any luck the tarte comes out whole.

If not usually you can repair any minor damage.

Let the tarte cool & then serve. My preference is to serve Tarte Tatin at room temperature, but it delicious at any temperature and accompanied by Cream, Ice cream or Creme fraƮche.

If you prefer a more golden color for your tarte simply don't cook the caramel until its as dark brown as shown before putting the apples in. Take it off heat the moment it starts to smoke. The caramel will be less thick, but still delicious.

Enjoy. I'd love to hear how your efforts come out and how easy or otherwise the recipe is to follow.

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