Tarte Tatin

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This upside-down apple pie is known around the world as la tarte des Demoiselles Tatin, after two sisters from the small town of Lamotte Beuvron, who invented it. The sisters ran the Hôtel de la Gare, where it is still possible to see their cooking stove and eat tarte Tatin. Sugar caramelizes on the bottom of the pan to form a rich topping when the tart is unmolded, with the succulent apples lying underneath, and the pastry on the base.

Ingredients

  • pâte brisée made with 1 ⅓ cups/200 g flour
  • ¾ cup/175 g unsalted butter
  • 2 cups/400 g sugar
  • 6 lb/2.8 kg firm apples, peeled, halved and cored
  • crème fraîche or Chantilly cream, for serving
  • 12-14 in/30-36 cm heavy ovenproof non-stick frying pan or skillet

Method

  1. Make the pâte brisée and chill it. Melt the butter in the pan and sprinkle with the sugar. Arrange the apple halves, cored side up, in concentric circles on top of the sugar: they should fill the pan completely and be tightly packed. Cook the apples on top of the stove until a deep golden caramel is formed, 15-20 minutes.

    Note

    The apples will produce juice that must evaporate before the fruit will caramelize.

  2. Let the apples cool slightly. Heat the oven to 425°F/220°C. Roll out the pâte brisée to a circle slightly larger than the diameter of the pan. Set the pastry on top of the apples so that they are completely covered, tucking it in at the edges. Work fast so that the dough is not softened by the heat of the apples.

  3. Bake until the pastry is crisp and golden brown, 20-25 minutes. Let the tart cool in the pan for 5-10 minutes. Unmold the tart on to a large tray or plate, as any juice that is left may splash. If any apple sticks to the bottom of the pan, transfer it to the top of the tart with a spatula. Serve the tart warm, with crème fraîche or Chantilly cream handed separately.

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