Tarte Tatin is a family recipe for me. There are a few pies and cakes that make the cut: Devil’s food cake with marshmallow frosting, Tina’s pumpkin pecan pie, Spooky’s Rum Cake. Tarte Tatin is yet another to add to the list, and one of my favorites. It’s essentially an upside-down apple tart, made with four ingredients (apples, butter, sugar, pie dough). It could not be simpler, and because of that, it’s flavor is deep and rich, almost like you pressurized the apples until, like diamonds, they changed their form into something wonderful. I love apples and rosewater as a flavor combination, so that’s what I did here, along with candied rose petals for the garnish, but you’re welcome to omit the rose and just serve with whipped cream. This is a recipe where simplicity rules, so don’t get too far in front of the recipe by adding a ton of extra flavors. Enjoy!
INGREDIENTS (TARTE TATIN)
For 4 mini Tarte Tatins (or one 10-inch Skillet)
4 four-inch wide saute pans, preferably with deep side (or one 10 inch skillet)
1/2 cup white sugar, divided 4 ways
1 vanilla bean, seeds extracted and divided 4 ways
1/2 cup (one stick) unsalted butter, divided 4 ways
10-12 small pink lady apples (mine were about 2 inches diameter), any high acid firm apple with a hint of sweetness, peeled, cored, and halved
1 teaspoon rosewater
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 all purpose flour
3 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
8 ounces (two sticks) unsalted butter
1/4-1/2 cup ice water
INGREDIENTS (CANDIED ROSE PETALS)
16 rose petals, unsprayed (organic is best)
1 egg white
1 cup superfine sugar
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 candied rose petals, dip each rose petal in the egg white, coating the entire petal. Then dip the petal in the superfine sugar, coating entirely. Place on a rack to set, which should take about an hour. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 F. Stir together the sugar and vanilla seeds. Pat down the butter onto the pans 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, then sprinkle with a little rosewater. Repeat for all small pans. Over a medium flame, place the pan for 15 to 20 minutes (up to 25 if making in one large pan), 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 inside the edge of the pan. Put in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes (20 if making in one large pan), 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 candied rose petals. Enjoy!