The blog is 1 year-old today. And I made Tarte Tatin to celebrate. My mom is also visiting, which marks the beginning of the new era: Mom comes to visit. She's already stocked my cupboards, bought me a jade plant, a new little table and a lovely print of two bears holding their arms out to each other with a caption that reads "Donne-moi ta bouche". I like Mom coming to visit.
Writing this blog has been one of the greatest things I've ever done. We've even acquired some faithful readers! I've so enjoyed sharing my culinary adventures with Kelsey and all of you. I know I've only been eating soup lately, but things are changing - spring is almost here!
I first heard about Tarte Tatin from Rock, a man I work with. He was always saying how easy it was and how delicious and how he was going to come to work early one day and make it for us all. He hasn't yet, but since I now know how to make it, I can eat it every day if I want to. And it's so easy! Most recipes I've seen call for store-bought puff pastry; however, in the International Best Recipe by Cooks Illustrated you make your own. And. It. Is. Phenomenal.
Darling Alix came for lunch. I made salmon and quinoa. Mom made a salad. We ate Tarte Tatin.
As adapted from Cooks Illustrated
For the crust:
Cooks Illustrated makes their dough in a food processor. I lack this kitchen tool, so I used a nifty hand pastry blender and the "smear" method (see below).
"Sugar makes pastry dough sticky, crumbly, and generally difficult to handle, and it also tends to fuse the spacers - the little bits of butter that make pastry flaky - leaving the baked crust crunchy, cookie-like, and a little hard." The solution? Confectioners sugar which "simply disappears" in the dough.
1 1/3 C white pastry flour
1/4 C confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick chilled unsalted butter
1 large egg, chilled and beaten
- Whisk flour, sugar and salt together to eliminate any lumps
- Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until the butter is in pea-sized lumps
- Slowly add the beaten egg, stiring and lifting the dough with a fork until big clumps form
- Dump the dough out onto a well-floured counter or cutting board and gather it into a rough ball. It will be loose and dry at this time.
- Take the heel of your hand and starting at the edge of the ball furthest from you, smear the dough onto the counter, all the while working back towards your body. This helps to combine the butter and the dough together (thank you Julia Child!) Now you can shape it into a disk, wrap it in Seran wrap and chill it while you prepare the apples. (You might need to use a bench scraper to get the dough off the counter).
For the apples:
1 stick unsalted butter
3/4 C granulated sugar
5-6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, quartered and cored.
- Preheat the oven to 375 F and place the rack in the upper third.
- Peel, core and quarter your apples
- Melt the stick of butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet (or any other oven proof skillet you have)
- When it's melted, sprinkle the sugar over top, stir it around and start to lay your apples on their cut side in a ring around the pan. They should fit tightly together. Fill the middle with more apples also lain on their cut side.
- Over high heat, cook the apples for 10-12 minutes. Then using a fork, turn the apples onto their other cut side. They will have cooked down some, making them easy to turn and creating a bit more space in the pan.
- Cook the turned apples for 5 more minutes.
- While you're waiting for the apples to cook, roll out the pastry.
- When the apples are ready, lay the dough on top of the bubbling caramelized apples, folding any excess dough onto itself to form a small crust.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the dough is nice and brown.
- Let it cool for 30 minutes on a rack.
- Place a plate big enough to cover the skillet and holding the plate and skillet firmly, flip the tart onto the plate. The apples should not stick, but if they do, just reposition any loose ones back on the tart.
We had ice cream, but Cooks Illustrated recommends 1 C heavy cream beaten with 1/2 sour cream until light and fluffy. Yes please!
Thanks for reading people. And thanks Kelsey. What pure delicious joy this is to share this space with you.