Sunday, December 30, 2007

Individual Tart Tatin

Some will argue, mostly the French, that the Apple Pie that we love so well was invented by them. They call theirs "Tart Tatin" and is quite tasty...sort of an apple upside down pie where the apples are bathed in rich caramel. Interesting, but I was looking for one I could do individually to break in the nifty mini souffle (like a tall ramekin) I had picked up at Surfas earlier in the month.

So after some googling around and figuring out what the basic's of a Tart Tatin were I came up with this recipe:

Individual Tart Tatin
  • pastry for a 9 inch pie
  • 8 medium Granny Smith Apples
  • 1/2 c water
  • 6 T butter
  • 3/4 c brown sugar
  • 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1/4 t fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat oven to 425F. Butter and put 6 (about 1 C capacity each) Ramekins and put aside.

Heat a large non-stick skillet, add butter, brown sugar and water. Heat over medium heat until butter melts and it begins to bubble and thicken into a light syrup. About 4-5 minutes.

Peel and core the apples, cutting into even wedges. (A handy-dandy apple corer with the cutting blades make fast work with this chore). Add to hot sugar syrup and cook 3 minutes, stirring often until all apple slices are coated and starting to soften. Sprinkle on spices, toss to mix and coat.

Roll out the dough, cut 6 circles the size of the ramekin. Poke holes in the dough to allow steam to escape.

Lay apples on their sides dividing between the ramekins. Divide syrup evenly over the apples. Place one dough round in each dish, lightly pressing the edges against the sides.

Place ramekin's on baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes until tops are golden brown and some caramel is bubbling up around edges.

Cool 5 minutes on wire rack. Run a knive around the inside of the crust to loosen. Place dessert plate over the ramekin and invert. Serve with ice cream.

Laying the apples isn't hard just a bit time consuming as the traditional Tart Tatin in France is them closely packed. Since I wanted to stay true to the concept I followed through that way.
I did simple little fork pricks for the steam vents. The traditional Tart Tatin is done in a 9 inch or so pie plate with the pastry tucked over and under the apples along the edges. I took the easy route and did it more like a pot-pie as my fat fingers just don't have the dexterity to tuck all those little edges under. Doesn't affect the flavor or appearance so it worked for me. Knock yourself out if you want to be traditional.
Here's one, probably not the best example as the syrup kind of ran up and over the dough. This one I didn't serve right away...a reserve for breakfast but you get the idea of what the baked variety looks like.

I opted for Granny Smith apples over some of the others as it keeps it shape well and has a natural tartness that would not become overly sweet when baked in a rich caramel. Sweet is great, but keeping some apple tartness is good too.

The big surprise of the night was that Paul brought along some ice cream not knowing what I had up my sleeve. He brought the Mashti Malone Ginger Rose Water ice cream. Hmmm...I knew apple and ginger would good food paring. What I didn't expect was that it would be the best freaking ice cream I have had in ages. How it pared with the tart tatin was unbelievable. Both standing on their own in each bite yet playing together really well on the way through. Much better than the Vanilla Bean ice cream was planning would have worked. Thanks Paul!

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