Apple Tarte Tatin
In ‘Disfigured’, Sylvie makes this dessert often for the patients at St. Giles when apples are in season, and brings some along for Erik one evening. She of course follows her mother’s treasured recipe. In truth, there is some confusion about when tarte tatin first came into being – it may possibly have been created a few years after the time period in the book, but this cannot really be verified.
You can use a prepared pie crust for this, but do have a go at making your own, as Sylvie would have done.
Note: The dough must chill at least 2 hours in the refrigerator,
so plan for that before you begin.
Directions: For the pastry, in a food processor, combine flour, sugar and salt. Pulse for a few seconds until mixture resembles coarse meal. With motor running, slowly add the ice water and process just until the dough comes together. It will stick to itself when pinched. Transfer dough to a floured surface and bring together in a rough mass. Press into a disk and roll out into an 11-inch round. Wrap well in wax paper and chill in fridge
at least 2 hours.
For the apple filling, preheat oven to 4000 F. Be sure to use a 10-inch nonstick ovenproof frying pan for the apples (cast iron works well). Over medium heat, melt the butter in the pan, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Don’t worry if it looks a little lumpy. Arrange the apple quarters, round sides down, in bottom of pan, making sure they fit snugly in a single layer. Reduce heat to low and cook until the sugar and butter turns to caramel and turns brown. The apples should be slightly tender.
This takes approximately 15 minutes.
Now place the frying pan of apples into the warm oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from oven, place on a trivet and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Raise the oven temperature to 4500F. While the oven heats, remove the pastry round from the fridge, peel away the wax paper, and carefully place over the apples in the pan.
Gently tuck the pastry edges inside the rim of the pan. Return to oven and bake about 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and golden. Carefully remove pan from oven. Run a knife around edge of pan to loosen the tart, then place a serving platter large enough to hold it upside down over the pan.
Wearing oven mitts, quickly invert pan and platter together, holding tightly. All will be very hot so take care. Lift off the pan – it should come away cleanly and leave the tart on the platter. If any pieces of apple cling to the pan, simply remove them and place them back on the tart.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream over it. A very impressive dessert!