Friday, October 22, 2010

Adding to my apple reportoire

I had apples. I had butter, I had sugar. I had an urge to do something I'd never done before.

So obviously, I made an apple tarte tatin.

It came out pretty good. I had some issues (I burned the apples in the middle of the pan, and as a result, it didn't come out prettily when I flipped the pan over), but even so, this is seriously one of the best apple dishes I've made.

I originally planned to make it for the same small dinner party I made the pork with roasted grapes for- but I decided it's better to make a tried and true recipe for dessert when your dinner is something new. So I saved this for when we had friends over for dessert, immediately following going out to a restaurant. This worked very nicely, although I'm still kicking myself for forgetting to serve the ice cream. I always forget the ice cream!
Apple Tarte Tatin,
from a guest post on Smitten Kitchen

note: I followed the instructions exactly (this is rare for me), and used a food processor. I combined the dry ingredients in the food processor, then stuck the whole thing (not the electronic base, of course, just the bowl, blade and flour/etc) in the freezer for almost an hour. I diced the butter and froze that, and I use the chilled water that comes out of our fridge. It's important to keep everything cold, so that you get a nice, flaky crust.

1 1/2 cup AP flour
1.5T sugar
dash of salt
5oz (10T) butter
3-6T ice water

In the bowl of your food processor, whizz the dry ingredients briefly. Put the bowl and blade, with the flour still in there, in the freezer. Chop the butter into smallish pieces, freeze those. Chill the water. Leave it all for about 45 minutes.

Bring it all out, and add the butter to the flour mixture. Whizz until it's crumbly, then slowly add the water. I actually used the full 6T of water, and it was a little wetter than I thought it should be, but it was still good. It should come together, but not quite form a ball.

Turn the dough out on a floured or plastic wrap-lined surface, and pat into a dish. Don't handle it too much, you don't want it to get too warm. Roll into a circle big enough to cover your skillet, about 11 inches for me. Chill in the fridge while you make the apples (I rolled it up with the plastic wrap and laid it carefully on top of the egg carton to keep it from flopping or tearing.)

Apple filling:
7-9 apples, peeled and cut into wedges
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar

In a large skillet, about 8inch across on the bottom and 11 inches on the top (I used my Le Creuset braiser), melt butter over high heat. Once it's melted, remove from heat and whisk in the sugar, until it's dissolved. Spread around with a wooden spoon to make sure it's evenly distributed, then arrange the apple wedges all around, packing them in fairly tightly. You don't want to use all the apples you've already sliced, so don't crowd them all, or else cut another apple, as needed.

Return the skillet to medium-high heat. Let the apples cook for 10-12 minutes, and just leave them be! After 10-12 minutes, remove from heat and turn each of the apples over. Since they'll cook down, add in your extra apple wedges as needed. I added about 5 more wedges.

While that's cooking, preheat your oven to 375F.

Return the pan to medium-high heat and cook for another 5 minutes. Here I kind of poked around to make sure nothing burned, because, well, it did burn (I cooked over high, this is why I've changed it to medium high).

Now remove from heat, and take your crust and carefully place it over the pan. Be very careful to center it properly (approximately, you don't have to be exact), because the crust will kind of melt once it hits the hot pan, and you can't really adjust it.

Pop in the oven, uncovered, and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust looks done. Let cool for about 30 minutes, then carefully invert the pan over your serving platter. If your apples stick to the pan (like mine did), just pry them out and try to arrange. It won't be pretty, since they'll be so mushy and stuck, but it'll still taste good.
Another option? Cook up the apples as above, and use a storebought, frozen puff pastry. That's what Joy the Baker did, and since the star of the dish is the caramelized apples, I think it's a great short cut.

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