ROTISSERIE GEORGETTE'S TARTE TATIN
By Georgette Farkas
This is classic, rustic French comfort food in the form of a tart that is baked upside down and then inverted at the last minute just before serving. It is essential to bake the tart until the apples are deeply caramelized and ready to melt in your mouth, yet still hold their shape. Honey crisp apples are the best choice, but Galas will do in a pinch. I bake my Tatin in a cast iron skillet, but you could use just about any oven proof baking dish. Pâte Brisée makes for the ideal crust. Crème fraîche on the side is a non-negotiable must.
Pâte Brisée (pastry crust)
Pâte brisée is a buttery pie crust. Prepare this dough well enough in advance so that it can chill for an hour or so before you roll it out. Make sure to use all cold ingredients, especially the butter. It’s a good idea to measure the butter first and then place it in the fridge while you measure the remaining ingredients. We suggest using cake flour so the pastry will be delicate, but all-purpose will work as well.
- 18 oz. cake flour
- 1 Tsp. salt
- 9oz. cold butter
- 10 oz. ice cold water
- 2 oz. eggs (ie 1 large eggs)
- This is more than enough for one large tatin, or several small tarts.
- Place flour and salt in a mixing bowl.
- Rub or cut in the cold butter until the butter is in roughly flat pea sized shards.
- In a small bowl, whisk together ice cold water and eggs. Pour the mixture over the butter and flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until it is roughly blended.
- Turn the mixture out onto a surface sprinkled with a little flour and work (not too much!) until the ingredients just comes together.
- Wrap the dough in plastic and chill for an hour or overnight.
- Once chilled, roll dough out into desired size, and about a 1/4 inch thick. Dock with a fork and keep chilled until needed.
Prepare the Apples
- 8 to 10 apples for a 10“ tart
- Peel and quarter and core the apples. Make a nice circular piece (button) to place at the center. Turning or evenly shaping each quarter is an un-necessary step but makes for a really beautiful end product.
Prepare the Caramel
- 2½ cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup
- 5 ¼ oz. butter
- Prepare the caramel only once the apples have been prepped, and the pâte brisée is ready and well chilled.
- In a small saucepan, make a wet “sand” with water and sugar. Place it over medium heat, and with a wet brush, wash any stray sugar crystals down the sides of the pan, so as to avoid crystallization. Avoid stirring the caramel.
- When it reaches a light amber color, stop the caramel by adding the butter. Remove from heat and whisk together before the mixture becomes too dark. NOTE: it will keep cooking once off the heat and again once it is baked in the tart, so avoid overcooking it at this stage.
Bake the Tart
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of tatin pan or skillet. Cast iron skillet works best. Pour in the caramel. Arrange the apple quarters standing up in the caramel, placing them as tightly together as possible. Place tatin pan on a sheet pan, ideally lined with a wire rack. This prevents direct contact between the sheet tray and the baking pan and will help avoid scorching. We don’t recommend placing the baking pan directly on the oven rack, in case any of the caramel bubbles over.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the apples to soften, but not completely. Remove from oven and re-arrange apples so they are now laying on their sides. Increase oven temperature to 425 degrees.
- Place docked pâte brisée on top of the apples, return to the oven, and bake another 15 minutes.
- Reduce the oven to 375 and bake 15 more.
- Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes, giving the juices some time to reabsorb. Carefully flip the tart onto a warm serving dish and top with more caramel sauce of desired. See caramel sauce recipe below. Serve with cold crème fraiche.
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 3 ½ oz. water
- 7 oz. cream
- ½ Tsp. salt
- In a high sided saucepan over medium heat, cook sugar and water until they reach a deep caramel color. Deglaze with cream. Add ½ teaspoon salt.