Tarte Tatin, 2009

Free recipe!

This tarte Tatin is nothing but butter, sugar, apples, and a lot of pectin. When cooked, these ingredients caramelize the apple throughout, giving it a lovely flavor. I was able to re-create it in the oven, without the high heat of the stove, by slicing the apples very finely and structuring the flavor of the butter and sugar as a sauce. I pour the sauce directly over the apples, and it penetrates the apples almost completely even before they are cooked.

Instructions

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Step 1: Caramel

The day before, make the caramel by cooking the sugar in the water. Pour immediately into a nonstick 7 x 4 inch (18 x 10-cm) rectangular cake pan with 2-inch-high (5 cm) sides, tilting slightly so that the caramel coats the bottom completely and evenly.

Step 2: Tatin Sauce

In a saucepan, heat the water, lemon juice, butter, sugar, vanilla bean seeds, and fleur de sel. Blend with an immersion blender.

Step 3: Tatin Apples

Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Peel, core, and finely slice the apples with a mandoline to obtain 1/16-inch (2 mm) thick slices. Fill the cake pan with 17 2/3 ounces of apple slices, overlapping in successive layers until you reach the top of the mold.

Pour the Tatin sauce over the slices, making sure it penetrates to coat all of the apple layers. Bake for 50 minutes.

Let cool slightly at room temperature. Press the apples with a small wooden board the size of the pan (the same way that foie gras is pressed after cooking).

Let cool completely, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate the pressed Tatin until the next day. Time is needed for the butter-sugar-pectin mixture to set and mature, and to form an even and aromatic glaze layer on top.

Step 4: Hazelnut and Fleur de Sel Streusel

Mix all the ingredients in a stand mixer until you get a crumbly texture.

Roll out the inverted puff pastry to a thickness of 1/5 inch (5 mm) and cut out a 10 x 14-inch (25 x 35-cm) rectangle.

Lay the rectangle on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 340°F (170°C). Cover the pastry with parchment paper and a rack. Bake for 17 to 18 minutes.

Let cool at room temperature, then dust with confectioners’ sugar. Increase the oven temperature to 460°C (240°C) for 1 to 2 minutes to caramelize the sugar. Freeze the remaining puff pastry for another use.

Ideally, the puff pastry should have a thickness of 1/2 inch (12 mm) after baking. It is very important to caramelize the pastry, because, in addition to the sweetness it adds to the dessert, the fine layer of melted sugar will protect the pastry from absorbing the moisture from the apples, keeping it crispy longer.

Step 5: Finishing

While the pastry is still warm, cut into two 5 x 8-inch (12 x 20-cm) rectangles with a serrated knife. Place the pan with the Tatin filling in the freezer for 40 minutes to set well.

Lightly heat the pan in the oven at 300°F (150°C) for 5 to 6 minutes, then unmold by placing a tray over the mold and turning it over.

Use a long frosting spatula to position or slide the apples onto a caramelized pastry rectangle with sides slightly wider than the filling. Sprinkle hazelnut streusel over two sides of the apples.

Serve warm or cold, but not hot. This will cause all the subtle flavor of this tarte Tatin to be lost. The many different apple layers create a wonderful gradient of color, ranging from light to amber brown, and the thinness of the slices make them incomparably tender.

This recipe was originally published in "My Best Conticini" (Éditions Alain Ducasse). See all credits

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