Yummy Tarte Tatin

Nature is quite amazing! You could have thought that Nature had turned on a switch to lower the temperature as it was cool and breezy on Sunday. Hanging out or even working outside was very pleasant. I really enjoyed my Sunday. I worked in my yard, cleaned up my flower bed and did a nice long jogging. With this fall temperature and the change of colors around, it made me feel like eating something with apple or pumpkin. I had lots of apples as well a puff pastry dough left-over from a cooking class so I decided to make a tarte tatin.

I had never made a tarte tatin before as my favorite cakes are made of chocolate, and my family is not fond of fruit desserts, but some days you have specific cravings, and Sunday was a Tarte Tatin.

Did you know that “the Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles (160 km) South of Paris, in the 1880s . The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin . There are conflicting stories concerning the tart’s origin, but the most common is that Stéphanie Tatin, who did most of the cooking, was overworked one day. She started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. Smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples, quickly finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. After turning out the upside down tart, she was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. In an alternative version of the tart’s origin, Stéphanie baked a caramelized apple tart upside-down by mistake. Regardless she served her guests the unusual dish hot from the oven and a classic was born. However, regardless of the veracity of this story, the concept of the “upside down tarts” was not a new one.” Wikipedia

The Tarte became a signature dish of the Hotel Tatin. Historians and gourmets have argued whether it is a genuine creation of the Demoiselles (sisters) Tatin, or the branding of an improved version of the “tarte solognotte”, a traditional dish named after the Sologne region which surrounds Lamotte-Beuvron. Research suggests that, while the tarte became a specialty of the Hotel Tatin, the sisters did not set out to create a “signature dish”. They never wrote a cookbook or published their recipe. They never even called it Tarte Tatin. That recognition was bestowed upon them by Curnonsky, the famous French author and epicure, as well as the Parisian restaurant Maxim’s after the sisters’ deaths. One of the legends has it that Louis Vaudable, the owner of Maxim’s, once tasted it and was smitten. As he described it: “I used to hunt around Lamotte-Beuvron in my youth, and had discovered in a very small hotel run by elderly ladies a marvelous dessert listed on the menu under tarte solognote. I questioned the kitchen staff about its recipe, but was sternly rebuffed. Undaunted, I got myself hired as a gardener. Three days later, I was fired when it became clear that I could hardly plant a cabbage. But this was long enough to pierce the secrets of the kitchen. I brought the recipe back, and put it on my own menu under “Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin”. Unfortunately, Mr. Vaudable was born in 1902, and the sisters retired in 1906. They died in 1911 and 1917, while Maxim’s was purchased by the Vaudable family in 1932. Wikepedia

Originally, the Tarte Tatin was made with two regional apple varieties: Reine des Reinettes (King of the Pippins), and Calville. Over the years, other varieties have tended to displace them, including Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, and Gala. When choosing apples for a Tarte Tatin, it is important to pick some that will hold their shape while cooking, and not melt into apple sauce. In North America, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, or Jonathan are excellent choices.” Wikipedia.

Tarte Tatin can also be made with pears, peaches, pineapple, tomatoes, other fruit, or vegetables, such as onion.

Ingredients for one 9-10 inch pie:

  • 4-6 apples, peeled, cored and cut in quarters
  • 3/4 cup of sugar
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1 Phylo pastry dough ( 1 out of a pack)
  • vanilla or caramel ice-cream (optional)

In a Deutsch oven, melt the butter and the sugar until both make a light golden caramel.

Place the apples in the pan, face down starting from the outside of the pan, making your way around and into the circle. See below.

Cook the apples for 15-20 minutes at low-medium temperature or until the apples are becoming soft, and the caramel is bubbling through the apples. Turn the oven to 400. And prepare the phyllo dough. PLace the dough on the roulpat, and with a plastic knife cut a circle that will fit perfectly the top of pan.

Place the pan into the stove and cook for 20 minutes.

Let the tart cool off a bit. Then place a nice plate above the pan, and with kitchen mittens ( while careful not to burn yourself), flip the pan upside down so that the tart will fall perfectly onto the plate. Et voila!

The Tarte Tatin is best eaten warm, so let it cool off a bit before eating it but still eat it warm. I love it with caramel or vanilla ice cream. So yummy!!! It is really so easy to make. You need to try!

Bon Appetit and Happy Cooking!!!