Yesterday I was in the mood to cook something exciting for dinner, so I made the boy come over and put up with my kitchen crusade. We had honey-lemon glazed salmon, a roasted asparagus salad with lemon, homemade bread crumbs, and honey goat cheese, with a side of my homemade bread. (Sounds fancy, right?!)
Then, for the grand finale, I made my favorite dessert: tarte tatin. It’s a [very] simple French dessert (an upside down apple tarte) and it. is. just. phenomenal. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge francophile. I just love everything about France (except it’s politics…): the language, the history, the culture, and obviously, the food. My parents lived in France for a little while and my mother minored in it in college. So I was destined/really didn’t have a choice in the matter. French history and literature absolutely stole my heart in high school [because I had the greatest French teacher of. all. time.] I then went on to major in it in college, and the rest is history.
But enough gushing, and back to dessert: tarte tatin is my mother’s favorite dessert, as well, so I grew up loving it. We would order it at essentially every restaurant we frequented in France, without fail. I learned how to make it when I took a cooking class while studying abroad in Aix-en-Provence. And, my dad actually gave me his tarte tatin pan (yes, a pan created just for making tarte tatin) when he realized – much to his shocking dismay – that I make a better one than he does… (sorry I’m not sorry, dad). So anyway, the main course was a success last night (we both cleaned our plates, which is a sign of success, to me); but dessert was the ascendancy of the evening. For real. I was so happy (read: I may or may not have jumped up and down. Don’t judge.) that it actually turned out so pretty/perfectly golden that Bo made fun of me. It’s the little things, right? Right.
- 5-6 small-to-medium sized apples (I used a mixture of gala and golden delicious, because that’s what we had), sliced in half, cored, and skin removed
- 4-5 Tbs sugar, divided
- 4-5 Tbs cinnamon, divided
- 2-3 Tbs butter (if you haven’t tried yogurt butter, I highly recommend it), cut into little pieces (if you’re using a stick)
- 1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed (or you can make your own pastry dough, if you feel so inclined. I used to always make my own, but just got lazy yesterday… the frozen puff pastry worked really well, though!)
- Equipment: about a 10-12″ round pan or a cast iron skillet
Preheat your oven to 350F. Place a little over half of your butter in the bottom of the pan (if using yogurt butter from a tub, just press small amounts of it all around the bottom of the pan. If using a stick, place little pieces along the bottom.) Then sprinkle half your sugar and half your cinnamon on top of the butter pats. Next, place your apples, flat-side-down, in the pan. There’s really no special way to do this; just piece it together like a puzzle. If you need to cut one or two of the halves into quarters to make it fit, then do that. Then, press the remaining butter on top of the apples (I did a little pat on top of each apple half) and sprinkle the remaining sugar and cinnamon on top.
Throw your apples in the oven for about 15 minutes, or until it smells AWESOME and your apples/butter/sugar/cinnamon have begun to caramelize. Then take your pan out and carefully (read: don’t burn yourself, like I tend to do, without fail…) cover the apples with your thawed puff pastry sheet and tuck the edges around the apples, but inside the pan. [I cut off the corners of the pastry so it wouldn’t bunch up so much.] Throw the pan back in the oven for another 10 or so minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown, like so:
After taking it out of the oven, get a large plate and set it upside down on top of the tarte. Then, using oven mits, carefully flip it over and let the caramel drain onto the apples. (You only need to let it do this for a few seconds. As long as it’s still hot, all the juiciness will drain onto the apples really quickly.) And – *drum roll* – violà! A perfectly beautiful tarte tatin! [And you’ve most likely impressed people because it sounds so fancy and French.]
It also makes for a pretty delicious breakfast the next morning, even without re-heating it.
Eat up and happy Sunday, y’all!
[aaaaand another photo, just because instagram makes it oh so pretty:]