My mom’s longtime favorite dessert has been the tarte tatin, which is essentially a french upside down apple tart. Maybe it’s the rich caramel flavor, maybe it’s the pure, unadulterated apple-i-ness, maybe it’s the crust; whatever it is, she in love, and it’s not going away any time soon.
What I love about the tarte tatin, is I find it to be simpler and more impressive than an apple pie. First off, it looks awesome. Secondly, it tastes like apples with an exclamation point. Being only 5 ingredients (apples, butter, sugar, butter, flour, and vanilla), there isn’t much to get in the way of the main ingredient, the apples. Secondly, it’s less work. Yeah, it looks more complicated, but honestly, I find it easier to put together. Plus, the crust is guaranteed to be golden brown, flakey, and tender, not sopping wet or gummy, which, as a crust lover, adds extra points for me. It’s delicious, beautiful, and the perfect centerpiece for a family dinner. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (TARTE TATIN)
A 10 inch cast iron skillet or round pan
8-10 gala or pink lady apples, any high acid firm apple with a hint of sweetness, peeled, cored, and halved
1/2 cup salted butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 vanilla bean, seeds extracted
1 recipe pie crust, rolled out to 1/8 inch thick.
INGREDIENTS (PIE CRUST)
This is a double crust recipe, so you will only be using one for the tarte tatin. Refrigerate or freeze the other one for future use
2 1/2 cups flour
8 ounce (two sticks) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoon sugar
1/4-1/2 cup ice water
INGREDIENTS (MAPLE WHIPPED CREAM)
1 cup heavy cream
2-3 tablespoons maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
For the pie crust, in a food processor or quickly using your fingertips, combine the flour, sugar, salt and butter until the chunks of butter are broken down to the size of peas and the flour feels like wet sand. Add the first 1/4 cup of water and mix until the dough comes together easily. It’s too dry if it immediately clumps apart. Add two tablespoons of water at a time, you can always add more water but not more flour, so careful not to add too much! Bring the dough into two balls and plop them on top of two sheets of plastic wrap. Loosely wrap up the ball and press down, smooshing the ball into a disc about an inch thick. Pop them in the fridge for 30 minutes while you busy yourself with the other stuff.
For the Maple Whipped cream, combine all of the ingredients in a bowl and whip with a whisk or a hand mixer until soft peaks form. Set aside in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Stir together the sugar and vanilla seeds. Pat down the butter onto a skillet and sprinkle the vanilla sugar on top. Place the apple pieces vertically in the pan, snaking in a circle along the edge. Keep repeating until the whole pan is full. Over a medium flame, place the pan for 20-25 minutes, until the butter, sugar, and apples have created a golden brown caramel. It’s ok if it’s a little patchy. Let it cool for a few minutes and roll the chilled pie dough neatly onto the dish, and roll the crust on the edge. Put in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are bubbling and the crust is golden brown. Bring to room temp (if you can wait) and flip onto a serving dish. Served with maple whipped cream. Enjoy!