Wednesday, January 6, 2010

TWD: Tarte Tatin

This recipe was one of two chosen for the Tuesdays with Dorie's 2nd Anniversary Posting. And you know with my current leaning to all things fruit, I eagerly chose this one over the chocolate cake option (I know, who have I become?).

This is basically an apple tart with caramelized cooked apples and a crunchy butter crust of puff pasty. I mean, seriously... what could be better, right? Those French. God bless them and their desserts.

I made this for Christmas Dinner Dessert and since it's such a simple recipe and I was making it for my family on Christmas, I was determined to take Dorie's advice in the book and seek out an all butter puff pastry. Which basically means... Pepperidge Farm brand was out.

Now, finding an all butter puff pastry in a town like Nashville around the holidays in the area I live in, is not an easy feat. Why? Because it means I have to go somewhere other than my beloved Harris Teeter and venture into the traffic jammed, christmas shopper infested suburb of Green Hills. F#*@!

First stop? Trader Joes. I waltzed in expecting to find some holiday version of an all butter puff pastry tucked away in the frozen foods section for a reasonable price. What I found... were pie crusts. I left and ventured into the strip-malled location of my local Whole Foods. Surely... whole foods would have an all butter puff pastry.

To my glee, there it was! Dufour's Puff Pastry. Tucked neatly on the bottom shelf. The only offering of puff pastry that Whole Foods had. I picked it up and then I saw the price.. $11.99. F#*@!

Initially, I just said... fine. It's Christmas. It's for Family Dinner. There's not a lot of other ingredients... it's worth it. I walked over to another part of the store to pick something else up and then I started thinking... It might be Christmas and it might be my family, but maybe that's all the more reason to buy Pepperidge Farm. I mean... it's Christmas, so there will be OTHER desserts. And it's my family and I can guarantee you that they wouldn't know the difference between Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry and Dufour's. So, in the end, I returned the Dufours back to the frozen foods section and drove directly to Harris Teeter to pick up the Pepperidge Farm. And I never regretted the decision.

My tarte tatin isn't shiny and golden (with all those apples in there, how in the world can you see if your sugar and butter are getting golden? I just guessed and as you can see, I guessed wrong), to doesn't look like something you'd get from a fancy dancy French Pastry chef, but hot damn if it isn't absolutely delicious! And I even liked it better the next day!

Butter, sugar, apples and puff pastry. Who knew that that's all it took for such a divine tasting dessert? Sweet, soft, slightly crispy, full of apple flavor. It might have looked like a drab plate of grey blobs, but it was so much more.

Tarte Tatin
recipe by Dorie Greenspan

So, I used a big iron skillet for this recipe and it was dark in the kitchen and I had so many apples in the skillet, I couldn't really tell when the sugar and butter got to the right consistently. Otherwise, this would have looked better. So, I definitely should have cooked all that longer.

Despite that, the apples were still entirely cooked all the way through and were nice and soft. I'd like to get some mini iron skillets and try individual sizes of these tarts. I think it would be way easier to make and manage this way.

Recipe here (and pictures of what it's supposed to look like!)

**Special thanks to all those who make Tuesdays with Dorie happen, particularly Laurie! And a huge thank you to Dorie Greenspan herself for inspiring so many of us bakers every week!