Sunday, November 23, 2008


For some reason, I didn’t like cooked fruit when I was little. I liked it fine raw, just not cooked. I especially hated cooked apples. Not a single bite of cooked apple would pass these lips. I thought apple pie wasn’t worth eating, baked apples were yucky, apple sauce was gross, and stewed apples would just about make me cry. But my first bite of tarte tatin changed all of that.

Tarte Tatin
Printable Recipe

8 large Golden Delicious apples, peeled, halved, and cored
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
1/3 cup water
1 8 to 9-ounce sheet puff pastry dough

Toss together the apples and lemon juice in a large bowl. Combine the sugar, butter, and water in a tarte tatin pan or a 10-inch, heavy sauté pan. Bring to a boil, brush down the sides of the pan with water, and boil for 10 to 12 minutes, or until caramelized. The sugar will be fragrant and a deep amber color when it is caramelized. Immediately add the apples cut side up, arranging them in neat overlapping circles.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the apples are tender.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425ºF. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to an 11-inch square and cut out an 11-inch circle. Transfer the circle to a plate, reserving the scraps for another use, and refrigerate.

Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for about 5 minutes. Top the apples with the pastry circle, tucking it in around the edges, and cut a 1-inch X in the center. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake for 22 to 24 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. Let cool for about 5 minutes and, using pot holders, carefully invert onto a serving platter. Let cool slightly, cut into portions, and serve.

Makes 1 10-inch tart, serving 8. Spectacular in the fall, when apples are at their best. And, of course, caramel is good in any season. Frozen puff pastry works perfectly, just thaw it in the refrigerator, not at room temperature. Golden Delicious apples are my favorite for this recipe, they keep their shape once cooked, and they taste silky and buttery. Be very careful when adding the apples to the caramel in the pan—caramel is extremely hot, and it will bubble up on contact with the apples. I like to cook the apples on the stovetop for quite a bit longer than usual, so that the all of the juices the apples exude have enough time to cook down. This method ensures that the crust does not become soggy once the tart is inverted.


Jesse said...

Fantastic! I was planning on making this for Thanksgiving for the first time. So I'm curious... is this something I can make a day in advance, or will the crust be soggy? If not, can I make it in the morning to serve late afternoon?

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

Ideally, I wouldn't make the tart more than a couple of hours before serving it. But if I had to do it in advance, I think I would try leaving it in the pan until serving time to keep the crust crisp. Just heat the pan for about a minute over medium-low heat to make sure that the tart releases cleanly before inverting it onto a serving platter. Enjoy!

The Food Librarian said...

Absolutely DELICIOUS! It's beautiful and lovely!

Anonymous said...

This looks stunning! Thanks for sharing the recipe to this! :)

ila said...

WOW. droolsworthy!

Melita said...

I love tarte tatin! Made it recently, it is delicious! Great job on yours!

Irina said...

This is a wonderful dessert! We had it with homemade ice cream and the light sourness of apples is so good in contast to the sweetness of ice cream.
Amazingly, the crust has not lost its crispiness on the second day. It is as good as fresh after 20 secs. in the microwave.

Thank you,

DBW said...

I made this recipe tonight for dinner and everybody loved it. I did not have the "tarte tartin" pan so I used a saucier pan instead (and made half a recepie). I was, however, uncertain if the apples should cook covered or uncovered for the 50-60 minutes. After 60 min uncovered, I decided that they should be covered, so I covered them for about 20 min until they were soft. That seemed to do the trick and I completed the recipe as written. I served it with chicken meuniere, rice pilaf and blanched broccoli. There were leftovers of everything but the apple tarte tarin. Thanks.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

I’m glad you enjoyed it! For future reference, if something is to be cooked covered, I specify it in the recipe.

Anna said...

A strange thing happened to me when I was making this. The sugar re-crystallized before it caramelized. It turned a very, very light gold, and then it just turned to sugar again. I was using a pan about an inch bigger than called for. Perhaps the necessary liquid evaporated before everything could caramelize? Also, the sugar I was using was from sugar beets, not sugar cane. Not sure if that would have some effect. Any ideas? I haven't worked with sugar a lot in this way. I was able to save it all in the end, but I won't go into the details of how I did it. I'm just curious about what happened.

Lucy Vaserfirer said...

I’m sorry to hear you had some difficulties with your caramel. It’s hard for me to say for sure what the problem was without having been there, but if you used a larger pan it’s possible that all of the water evaporated away before all of the sugar crystals dissolved (more surface area=more evaporation). Undissolved sugar crystals can cause crystallization. So can impurities in the sugar and too much agitation during cooking. Next time, try using a little more water, say half a cup. And be sure to use pure sugar and impeccably clean equipment, brush down the sides of the pan with water when the mixture reaches a full rolling boil, and avoid stirring. Hope that helps!

Anna said...

Hi Lucy,

Thanks for the very informative reply. What you said makes a lot of sense. I will give it another try with those things in mind. Thanks again.

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