If I had to name my favorite dessert, it would hands down be tarte tatin, the dazzling caramelized upside down apple tart. And this from a chocolate lover. In the past I always began the tart by artfully arranging apple slices on top of sugar and butter in a cast iron skillet. The result was delicious but unmolding was tricky. Often some of the caramel stuck to the bottom of the skillet.
But then, on the Martha Stewart Show, I happened to see pastry chef Alexandre Talpaert of Benoit make a mouthwatering tart using a silicone straight-sided pan. He made a dry caramel first, poured it into the silicone pan and placed the apple quarters, which he had softened in the oven first, upright starting around the rim of the pan, thus preventing the tart from collapsing. After the apples baked, he placed a baked disk of crust fitted exactly to the pan on top. Best of all, the tart unmolded to a picture perfect work of art.
Chef Talpaert made a 7 ½ inch tart, but I have a 9-inch Calphalon silicone pan with reinforced handles which I prefer. I bought it at Chef Central. I offer this luscious tart with adaptation to a 9-inch tart pan as well as adjustments after making it twice this week. (Continue reading Tarte Tatin . . . )