I have made an orchard of apple pies in my time, but never a tarte tatin, the patisserie classic beloved by the French and served at the drop of a hat in every cafe and bistrot in the country and quite a few others…
I had some miserable looking apples in the refrigerator drawer that kept winking at me trying to get my attention, so I finally took them out, and gave them a peel. Unlike apple pie, tarte tatin uses wedges not slices of apple. Aha, but the apples were the easy part.
Start by putting about a cup of sugar into a hot cast iron skillet (Note: you MUST for safety, use a heavy pan like cast iron…) Once it reaches molten lava stage, add little bits of butter and whisk constantly. The butter will foam, hence another reason for a heavy pot. Keep whisking…Add some Sel de Mer, aka sea salt, but the kind that comes in flakes like that from Brittany or Normandy. Keep whisking….
When the butter and sugar looks like caramel, place the apple wedges in even circles and cover with pastry crust. I used the single piece of puff pastry dough that was hanging out in the fridge, not far from the apple neighborhood. Bake in a 400° oven until brown and pastry is cooked through….
Ok here is where I recommend you put your shoes on because this is when it gets dicey. Unlike pie that comes out of the oven right side up, you have to FLIP the tarte tatin over! I used the pie pan that I normally bake pie in. And I recommend flipping it over the sink to avoid a tragedy. And you will need hot mitts.
Just look at that caramel! Top with your favorite of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or cheese….