If I am making dessert at home, chances are it will be tarte tatin. All you need is sugar, butter, lemon, apples, and some quality puff pastry, which is now available in many stores. The crisp dough, sweetness of the fruit, and pleasantly bitter flavor of the caramel is unbeatable. Don't forget to add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Try a shot of Calvados on the side to add another dimension to this dish.
- 1 hour total time
- 32 minutes active time
Pies and Tarts
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 Granny Smith apples
- ¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon unsalted butter, cold, cut into ½-inch dice
- One 10- inch square sheet puff pastry (8 ounces)
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 tablespoon powdered sugar
- Vanilla ice cream, optional
To Prepare the Caramel
Position an oven rack in the center. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron skillet (or other ovenproof skillet or sauté pan) over medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough sugar to evenly dust the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sugar to melt before adding more, again coating the bottom evenly. Stir the sugar together with a high heat (silicone) spatula and continue adding sugar, lowering the heat as needed to keep from getting too dark, until all of the sugar is added and melted. Continue to cook, stirring regularly, until the sugar is a deep golden brown. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and lemon juice. (The caramel will harden as it cools, but will melt again in the oven).
To Assemble the Tarte
Peel the apples and cut in quarters through the core. Cut the cores away with a knife. Cut two of the apples into eight equal slices (cutting each quarter in half). Place the apple slices core side up in a circle in the pan, distributing them evenly around the perimeter like spokes on a bicycle tire; place a few pieces in the center of the pan, again, core side up.
Cut the remaining single apple into sixteen total slices (cutting each quarter into four even slices). Distribute these slices between the larger pieces, this time core side down.
Distribute the butter cubes evenly over the top of the apple slices.
Carefully lay the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface.
Find something in your kitchen that is 10-inches round (lid to a pan works well) and using a pastry cutter or a sharp paring knife, cut the puff pastry into a 10-inch circle. Prick the top with a fork and lay over the top of the apple slices.
Bake until the puff pastry is golden brown and baked through, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a cooling rack for 10 minutes.
Run a butter knife carefully around the edge of the tarte to loosen it from the pan. Put a round serving dish against the top of the skillet and carefully invert the tart onto the serving dish.
Add the pine nuts to the pan and then spoon the nuts and any remaining caramel over the top or around the edges of the tart. Dust with powdered sugar and serve with ice cream, if you like.