Tarte Tatin-Upsidedown Caramelized Apple Tart
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 has 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.
1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
½ t salt
½ t baking powder
5 T unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes and chilled
1 extra large egg yolk
2 T milk
2 T sugar
12 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
½ cup unsalted butter, melted
2 T sugar
2/3 cup sugar
2 T unsalted butter
8 oz. crème fraiche
In a food processor, pulse flour, salt and baking powder. Add butter and pulse briefly. Add yolk, milk and sugar. Pulse until just incorporated. Flatten into a disk and refrigerate for an hour.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Turn dough out on a silicone mat and roll out to a 1/8 inch thickness. Invert the 9-inch silicone mold onto the dough and with a sharp knife trace around the mold. Transfer baking mat to a baking sheet and bake in oven until golden, about 15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Prepare apples. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees. Place apples on a parchment-lined baking sheet and brush with melted butter. Sprinkle with sugar and transfer to oven. Bake until slightly softened, about 15 minutes.
Make the caramel. Place sugar in a small saucepan over low heat. Don’t use dark cookware as you won’t be able to gauge the darkening of the caramel. Melt without stirring. Just swirl pan until amber in color. Whisk in butter until smooth.
Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees. Place the 9-inch silicone pan on a baking sheet and pour in the caramel. Line the apple quarters vertically in the pan starting around the perimeter and working inward. Place a flat side of each apple quarter against the rim and the tart will be more attractive in the end. Bake until browned and apples are very soft, about one hour. Let cool. Place pastry disk on top and unmold onto serving plate.
Serve with crème fraiche.