Caramel and pineapple are a perfect combination of flavors, especially when they rest on a buttery puff pastry crust. There are dozens of ways to make a tarte tatin, but this is one I’ve used for years with good results: First you caramelize some sugar and butter in a nonstick sauté pan. Then the fruit goes in and it’s topped with a disk of puff pastry. The tart is baked at a high temperature, just long enough so that the dough bakes through. A few minutes after it emerges from the oven, it’s inverted to a platter revealing a beautifully arranged pattern of caramelized fruit on the baked puff pastry base. Tarte tatin is usually made with apples, and I’ve included that variation.
Tarte Tatin is best within a few hours of being baked. You can cook the fruit to the end of step 7 and keep it ready to bake as long as you wish on the day you’re going to serve the tart. Roll out the dough and slide onto a cookie sheet and refrigerate it. A couple of hours before you intend to serve the tart, put the dough on, and bake the tart. The longer the tart sits around unmolded, the longer the juices have to seep into the dough and soften it. Serve the tart with some lightly sweetened whipped cream.
See Serving above. Wrap leftovers and keep them at room temperature.
CLASSIC TARTE TATIN WITH APPLES: Substitute 8 large Golden Delicious apples for the pineapple. Peel, halve, core, and quarter the apples but do not bake them. Arrange the apple quarters, rounded side down in the caramel, in concentric rows perpendicular to the side of the pan. Scatter any remaining apple quarters on top of the first layer. Bake the tart at 350°F (180°C) until the dough is baked through and the apples are tender, about an hour.
© 2008 Nick Malgieri. All rights reserved.