Seriously? I only had to live
40 years (oops, let’s pretend you didn’t see that) to discover my most favorite dessert? Well done, girl, well done. I am in love, people. You could tell by the number of pictures I took of the single dish (and there are more yet here). Did I mention I am in love? No? I am in love!
The funniest thing — I used to make something very similar on various occasions, I almost made every component of this dessert separately, but it all finally came together in time and space when I discovered this post. The British Larder is one of those blogs that I like to follow just for pictures alone. They don’t flood you with posts, but when they do post anything, rest assured it’s going to look like a work of art. I tried a few of their recipes on occasion, and they have invariably delivered impeccable, well balanced flavor, almost unimaginable amounts of it, and stunning looks.
This recipe is no exception — it’s got the looks, and oh, my, it’s got the flavor. The deep rich apple jam fragrance with just a hint of caramelized lemon rind (which I added), just enough caramel to make it a dessert, but not too much to overpower the delicate slightly salty puff crust. Fantastic. What was a big surprise to me — how easy the whole thing was to make. Most of the “making” is waiting really — waiting for the syrup to be ready, waiting for the baking to be complete.
I have made very few adjustments to their original post, just to customize it to my liking, but have no fear whether you decide to follow the original or my version — you will have what we call in our family The Big Yum Experience. I am dead serious. As my kid says, seriously, for real!
I decided to skip the Velvety Creme Anglaise, simply because
a. it’s Wednesday for goodness sake, who has time for Creme Anglaise?
b. my waistline isn’t getting any smaller
We enjoyed the tarte by itself, no additions, toppings or sauces.
Classic Tarte Tatin, By Its Lonesome
Adapted from The British Larder
4-5 servings, if you have strong will power (and you’ll need a lot of it) and 2-3 if you are a mere mortal like me
- 6 small but very firm apples, peeled and cored. Granny Smiths will work, and so will Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, etc. Main condition is — they have to be firm
- 5 tbsp sugar
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- pinch of salt
- pinch of vanilla powder (optional)
- zest of 1 lemon
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 sheet of ready-made frozen puff pastry, defrosted according to instructions, or, if you choose to be fancy (I usually do, but today is Wednesday), make your own rough puff pastry, using this formula
- You will need a heavy oven-proof saucepan which will roughly fit your six apples in one layer without letting them scatter around. If only five apples fit, leaving a little window in the middle, that’s not a problem: as apples cook, they will shrink some, and you should be able to tuck the sixth apple right in between.
- Roll the puff pastry out to 1/4″ thickness and cut out a circle, which is about 1/2″ larger in diameter than the rim of the sauce pan. Refrigerate the dough until needed.
- Preheat the oven to 400F (200C)
- Spread sugar, butter, salt, zest and lemon juice (and vanilla if using) on the bottom of the aforementioned sauce pan.
- Arrange apples in one layer on top of the sugary mix, with their core openings pointing up
- Cook everything together slowly. Sugar mix will slowly turn into a syrup. Syrup will eventually reduce and turn its color to golden brown.
- You may want to turn the apples upside down 1 or 2 times very carefully, using two forks. I decided to do so just because I wanted to be sure that syrup coats the apples all over.
- The approximate time of the apple cooking for me was around 25-30 minutes, but you should let your eyes determine the final cooking time, rather than my approximation.
- When you think the syrup and apples are ready, very carefully, trying to avoid the nasty burns from the syrup, pop the puff dough circle on top of the apples. Using a wooden spoon gently tuck the dough around the apples, so that it hugs them just slightly. It’s best if the dough actually touches the walls of the pan.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 minutes, until dough is nicely browned
- Remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for about 5 minutes.
- Place a serving plate on top of the pan, bottom up, and holding the plate tightly pressed against the pan, carefully flip the contents onto the plate.
- Rearrange the apples gently if they shifted too much and let the syrup trickle down into the puff crust.
- Serve warm. The tarte was very good just by itself, but if you are up for it, I suggest whipped cream, creme fraiche, or plain vanilla ice cream.