I learned this from our dear friend Lisa Otis (a.k.a. “Lizzie”), the master of Tarte Tatin. The method is simple, and the tarte comes out golden-caramel and buttery-delicious—always a crowd-pleaser. Make sure to show your guests how gorgeous it looks before you slice it up!
If you’re pressed for time, you can use a store-bought frozen puff pastry as the crust. (Jamie Oliver says it’s okay.) The puff pastry texture’s a little different, but still terrific. Really, this homemade crust is worth it, though. It’s quick and almost foolproof, and with the succulent caramelized apples, it’s the ultimate made-from-scratch treat.
1 batch of homemade piecrust dough
6-8 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and sliced into eighths
A stick of butter, or a little less
A few spoons of sugar
1. Make the crust and refrigerate.
2. Slice the butter into several pieces. In a Tatin pan (copper, shallow, two tiny handles) or a ten-inch nonstick skillet, press the sliced butter to coat evenly, more or less. Sprinkle a couple spoons of sugar over the butter. Arrange the apple slices: the first layer on their backs, like little boats, in a circle around the edge, plus two or three in the middle; the next layer fitted into the spaces, upside down. (See photo.) Sprinkle a little more sugar over the apples.
3. Over medium-low heat, cook the apples until they caramelize—about half an hour. Rotate the pan a few times so it heats evenly. Press the top apples down from time to time. Check the apples by gently lifting them at the edges to see how brown they are. Don’t let them burn. When they’re nicely browned, turn off the heat and let the pan cool completely.
4. When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Roll out the crust and place it over the caramelized apples. Crimp the excess into a nice, plump edge. Bake until golden, about 30 minutes.
5. Let the tarte stand a few minutes. You can cool it longer to make the next part easier. Run a knife carefully around the edge of the tarte to make sure it’s not stuck. Place a plate over the pan, and flip the whole thing to get the tarte right-side-up on the plate. Remember the caramelized apples are VERY hot. Be extra-careful. If any apples stick to the pan, you can use tongs, gently, to place them back in their spots.