I know I’m treading on the territory of culinary arrogance when I say this, but I don’t understand why the Tarte Tatin has been regarded as an insurmountable feat for an amateur cook. Sure, the caramel is a blink-and-it’s burnt kind of ordeal but other than that, it’s literally just some minor pastry action (shop-bought one at that), apple slicing, baking (which the oven does for you) and finally flipping onto your serving dish. One of the lesser evils of French pâtisserie, if you ask me. Having said that though, this is probably the farthest I’d venture into that world, precision in cooking not being my biggest virtue.
The apples and sugar together feel like we’re going down the apple pie route and although I wouldn’t dismiss that idea, this sure does feel different. In a hoity toity chef-y kind of way. With a rustic more-ish charm to it. It’s all encompassing and completely undeniable.
Quickly want to point out the changes that I made to the original recipe : I added a vanilla pod to the caramel as it was cooking down (because that just seemed like the right thing to do). The cooking times have also been altered, and my guess is that yours will be different from mine too).
In other news, today marks the first anniversary of this tiny little part of my world here. Truth be told, when I first started, I had no idea what I was doing and literally dove into it blind (which is obvious with the pictures from the first few posts) and unprepared. But looking back, I can definitely say that it’s been a lot of fun and a great way of connecting with you guys. Thank you for all the love and support!
INGREDIENTS : (Makes one 9” tart)
Adapted from Martha Stewart’s ‘Pear Tarte Tatin’
3 medium apples – each peeled, cored and cut into 6 wedges
1 vanilla pod, halved
1 ½ tsp cider vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 tbsp water
2 tbsp butter
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
Flour for dusting
Pre-heat oven to 375 F / 190 C.
Dust your work surface with some flour and roll out the puff pastry to fit the size of your pan. Cut out the excess and refrigerate until ready to use.
Add sugar, cider vinegar and water to an oven-proof skillet and leave on medium heat until it caramelizes to a rich brown colour. Shake the pan if need be, but do not stir. It goes from just right to burnt in a few seconds, so keep your eyes on it constantly.
Remove pan from the heat and drop in the butter, swirling the pan until it melts through. Place the halved vanilla bean into the skillet. Carefully arrange the apple slices on top of the caramel in whatever pattern you’d like, making sure not to touch the scalding caramel underneath. Lay the puff pastry over the apples, and tuck the edges in using a blunt knife. Make a few small slits on the pastry to allow steam to escape while cooking.
Prop a small oven-proof plate on top of the pastry and bake for 10 minutes. Remove the plate and continue to bake until the pastry turns golden brown, about 15 – 20 minutes. Remove and rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
Shake the pan around a little and slowly run a knife around its edges to loosen out any bits that might be stuck to the base. Hold another plate that is generously bigger than the skillet over the pastry, and quickly invert onto the plate to serve (if you feel there might be bits stuck to the skillet, tapping it a few times helps).
Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.