Saturday, October 16, 2010

Tarte Tatin

I'm absolutely loving the apple harvest this fall! We went to an orchard last weekend, and then while my dad was visiting he and I went to another. I made an apple crisp to go with our mushroom stuffed beef roast dinner, and an apple pie for this weekend when we are going on a hike in a state park. I decided that it was far too cruel (to myself as well as to the fiance) to bake a pie and have to wait to break into it, so the idea came up for a tarte tatin.

I've been lusting after this tart for quite a while, the page in my french cookbook has been marked for at least a year, if not longer. Anything carmelized is sure to be delicious, and french pastries are unmatched in my book. This is not for those worried about calories, fat, or cholesterol, but you only live once afterall!

Tarte Tatin
1 1/2 pounds (5-6) apples (preferably pippins, Granny Smiths or Jonathans)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, plus butter for greasing pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Zest of 1 lemon removed with lemon zester or grater
1/2 cup water
whipped cream, sweetened lightly (optional)

Pate Brisee
1 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
Pinch salt
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut in 8 pieces
1 large egg yolk
2 tablespoons water

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Core apples and cut each into 6 slices.

2. In a large skillet over moderate heat, melt butter. Add 1/2 cup of the sugar, lemon juice and lemon zest. Add apple slices and stir to coat with butter. Cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.

3. In a small, heavy saucepan, combine remaining sugar and the water. Cook over medium heat without stirring, until sugar turns golden brown. Immediately pour caramel into a greased 9 inch cake pan. Swirl cake pan quickly to coat bottom with caramel.

4. Arrange apple slices in neat concentric circles on top of caramel. Any remaining apple slices can be piled randomly on top. Reduce liquid remaining in skillet to 1/4 cup and spoon over apples. On a lightly floured surface, roll Pate Brisee into a circle large enough to cover pie plate and about 1/8 inch thick. Cover apples with pastry. Bake until crust is golden brown (about 25 minutes). Cool pie on a rack 15 minutes. Unmold onto a serving dish. Serve in wedges with cream (if desired).

Pate Brisee
1. To make in food processor: Combine flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest in work bowl. Process 2 seconds. Add butter and process until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. In a separate bowl combine egg yolk and the water. With motor running, add egg mixture through feed tube and process until dough almost forms a ball. Remove from work bowl and gather into a ball with lightly floured hands.
To make by hand: Stir together flour, sugar, salt and lemon zest. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Combine egg yolk and the water. Add to mixture, tossing gently with a fork to blend. With lightly floured hands, knead mixture just until it forms a ball.

2. Pat dough into a 5 inch disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 3 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Remove from refrigerator 10 minutes before rolling.

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