Last weekend I visited my good friends Amy, Nate, and baby Luke in the Chicago area. We had a great time enjoying our time together in the unseasonably warm weather and fall colors. We visited a Wisconsin orchard (Brightonwoods Orchard and AEppelTreow) where we stocked up on apples, cheese, and cider. In order to “earn my keep” at their home, Amy and I made applesauce and a Tarte Tatin. The tart was a new endeavor for both of us, but it was a surprisingly easy treat.
I suggest you keep an eye on the apples as they caramelize, because mine took significantly longer than the recipe suggested. Don’t worry if you over-caramelize the apples anyway, then you just have burnt-caramel flavor, which is a real flavor unlike “burnt toast”. You must, must, must eat this with vanilla ice cream. You can even use some of the leftover caramel from the skillet to drizzle over your ice cream. In my opinion, this is one of those things that tastes even better the next day, so eat up and save some for tomorrow!
Caramelized Apple Tarte Tatin a la Mode
source: Joy the Baker
1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold
6-7 apples (I used Fuji)
1/2 c unsalted butter
1 c sugar
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Peel, core, and quarter the apples. Do not slice thinner, because they will shrink as they cook. If the apples brown just a bit while they’re waiting to be baked that’s fine.
- Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron skillet. Remove skillet from the heat and whisk in the sugar to thicken, and spread evenly over the bottom of the skillet.
- Arrange the apple quarters in the pan by stacking the pieces in a tight circle along the outside of the pan and working your way in. Save any extra apple quarters to add to the tart as it cooks on the stove and more room frees up.
- Return the pan to the stove and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes or until sugar becomes a golden, gooey caramel. Be sure to keep the flame at medium high, letting the sugar boil and caramelize. Add any extra apple quarters as room becomes available.
- While apples are cooking, remove and unfold puff pastry. On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out puff pastry, extending it about 1/2 to 1-inch on all sides. Find a dinner plate about the size of the 10-inch cast iron skillet to measure the pastry and cut out a circle about 1/2-inch bigger than the plate. Place the puff pastry in the fridge until the apples are done cooking.
- Once the caramel color has arrived, cook for an additional 5 minutes (by this point, the apples have been on the stove about 15-18 minutes, give or take) and remove the pan from heat.
- Carefully place the puff pastry over the hot apples, tucking into the edges of the skillet. Pastry doesn’t need to look perfect. Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.
- Run a knife along the edges of the skillet to loosen puff pastry edges. Place a large plate on top of the cast iron and, using two giant pot holders, invert the plate and pan. Lift the cast iron and you should have a gorgeous tarte tatin. If any apple slices stuck to the cast iron, just remove them with a fork and place them right back in the tart.
- This tart is best served warm with ice cream.