Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin
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Hanin, Sophie
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Julia Child's Tarte Tatin



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Apple Variety Golden Delicious (Malus Domestica), Native to Asia Minor
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La Belle Cuisine


La Tarte Tatin,
a famous upside-down apple tart

The Way to Cook

by Julia Child, 1994, Alfred A. Knopf

“Tarte Tatin is the French name for this famous dessert invented years ago by
the Demoiselles Tatin, in their restaurant at Lamotte-Beuvron on the Loire River.
It is caramelized slices apples oven-baked in a skillet with the pastry on top; when done, it is turned upside-down so the crust is on the bottom and the apple slices – wonderfully brown, buttery, and glazed with caramel – remain in a design on top.
Historical Note. The following version is my fourth and, so far as I am concerned, definitive recipe for this wonderful tart. It can be tricky – the caramel juices can refuse to thicken, the apples can be either so loose the tart collapses when un- unmolded, or so stiff they stick to the pan, and so forth. But after numerous
trials with my colleagues Nancy Barr and Beth Gurney, I think we have
worked out the bugs.
As an example, Nancy and our television cooking team managed to present the making and serving of a tarte Tatin between 8:55 and 8:58:30 one day on “Good Morning America”. To show it all in our short amount of allotted time, we had prepared the tart in various stages – plenty of raw sliced apples at the ready, then caramel and butter cooking in one frying pan and apples going into it. Switch to ready-arranged apples in another frying pan, which had to be tipped to show the perfect thickness of the caramel syrup before the pastry went on top, and finally
the ready-baked tart to be unmolded successfully before the camera. In addition
and in case of disaster and retakes, there were three standbys – an apple-filled
frying pan and two ready-baked tarts – a real hassle to get all of that ready so
early in the morning. Whether many of our viewers were able to follow the final intricate proceedings, I don’t know – but we did it all in one take, in 3 1/2
minutes, and we felt triumphant."

La Tarte Tatin

For an 8-inch tart, serving 6

5 to 6 apples, Golden Delicious recommended –
the right apple is essential here…
The grated rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 ounces (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter,
cut into 1/2-inch pieces
8 ounces butter pastry dough
[about half of the recipe]
Optional accompaniment:
whipped cream, sour cream, or vanilla ice cream

Special Equipment Suggested: A heavy ovenproof frying pan,
such as cast-iron, 9 by 2 inches with fairly straight sides,
or heavy no-stick aluminum; a bulb baster, a cover for the pan;
a large enough flat-bottomed serving dish

Preparing the apples. Quarter, core, and peel the apples; cut the quarters
in half lengthwise. Toss in a bowl with the lemon and 1/2 cup of sugar,
and let steep 20 minutes so they will exude their juices. Drain them.
The caramel.
Set the frying pan over moderately high heat with the
butter, and when melted blend in the remaining [1 cup] sugar. Stir about
with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the syrup turns a bubbly
caramel brown – it will smooth out later, when the apples juices dissolve
the sugar.
Arranging the apples in the pan.
Remove from heat and arrange a layer
of apple slices nicely in the bottom of the pan to make an attractive design [illustration in cookbook, essentially circling the apples slices around the circumference of the pan and then filling in the middle]. Arrange the rest
of the apples on top,. close packed and only reasonably neat. Add enough
so that they heap up 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan – they sink
down as they cook.
Preliminary stove-top cooking – 20 to 25 minutes.
(Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for the next step, placing the rack in the lower middle level.) Set the pan again over moderately high heat, pressing the apples down as
they soften, and drawing the accumulated juices up over them with the bulb
baster – basting gives the whole apple mass a deliciously buttery caramel flavor. In several minutes, when the apples begin to soften, cover the pan
and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes, checking and basting frequently
until the juices are thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, and let cool
slightly while you roll out the dough.
The dough cover.
Roll the chilled dough into a circle 3/16 inch thick and
1 inch larger than the top of your pan. Cut 4 steam holes, 1/4-inch size,
1 1/2 inches from around the center of the dough. Working rapidly, fold
the dough in half, then in quarters; center the point over the apples.
Unfold the dough over the apples. Press the edges of the dough down between the apples and the inside of the pan [illustrated in cookbook].
Baking – about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F.
Bake until the pastry
has browned and crisped. Being careful of the red-hot pan handle,
remove from the oven.
Tilt the pan, and if the juices are runny rather than a thick syrup, boil down rapidly on top on the stove, but be sure not to evaporate them completely or the apples will stick to the pan.
Still remembering that the pan is red-hot, turn the serving dish
upside down over the apples and reverse the two to unmold the tart. If
not quite neat in design – which does happen – rearrange slices as
necessary. Serve hot, warm, or cold, with the optional cream or
ice cream.
Substitute firm ripe unblemished pears for the apples –
Bartletts, Comice, or Bosc.

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