Is it plums, is it dates asked my dinner guests enchanted as I served this upside down dessert. Apples everywhere in the grocery store so couldn’t resist dusting off my recipe book to bring out this classic which I made frequently over 15 years ago.
Its not surprising that this French upside down apple pie is so popular. I found a recipe years ago that I modified. In Canada we are bilingual with a large French speaking population, so I hope you won’t mind me calling this pie by its real French name,–Tarte Tatin, doesn’t that have a nice ring to it. Tarte tatin is not your usual apple pie where apples are relegated to the bottom, instead here apples shine on the surface.
1 cup all purpose flour
¼ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter cubed
½ tsp ground cinnamon
8 apples (2 kg/4 lb)
2 tbsp lemon juice)
¼ cup unsalted butter
¾ cup granulated sugar
Pots n pans
SOS You can skip the crust steps 1-3 & the crust list entirely by using Pillsbury frozen pie crust– makes short work of your pie rolling.. I have to confess I liked the practicality of using store bought pie crust but I did enjoy making the dough from scratch as well, You pick whichever works for you, both methods work nicely.
I used a combination of Portland & macintosh apples since I had only those at home. But apparently this is also a good practice. Portlands keep their shape. Macintosh is a bit softer so I ended up with cooked & crisp apples.
- In large bowl, combine flour, sugar & salt. Using pastry blender(SOS I don’t have one, so I used 2 knives instead). Cut in butter till mixture resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.
- In measuring cup, stir vinegar with enough ice water to make ¼ cup. Drizzle over flour mixture, stirring with a fork until flour resembles coarse crumbs with a few larger pieces.
- Press into ball. Flattern into disc. Wrap in plastic wrap & refrigerate for at least 30 minutes of upto 3 days.
- Filling: Meanwhile peel, quarter & core apples, cut in half lengthwise.In bowl toss apples with lemon juice. SOS my apple peeler & corer does this work quickly or you could use a peeler.
- In 8” cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium high heat. Add sugar, stirring with wooden spoon for 3-5 minutes or until starting to bubble. Add cinnamon. SOS You’ll know when the caramel is ready.. This is the moment when…Sugar melts, caramel turns very glossy– try to get a deep mahogany colour for your caramel.. which will make your tart super delicious & rich tasting. If you find that the butter separates on the top, that’s ok.
- Remove from heat. Discarding juice, arrange layer of apples flat side down in concentric circles in syrup in pan Layer remaining apples over top to cover first layer evenly.
- Cook over medium high heat, basting with syrup that bubbles up, for about 15 minutes or until apples begin to soften & syrup starts to thicken. Cover & cook for 5 minutes or until apples in top layer are just tender. Remove from heat. Let cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile on lightly floured surface, roll out doughto 10” circle. Cut 4 small steam vents at center. Loosely roll pastry around rolling pin.Unroll over apples. Trim off pastry extending over rim of pan, press pastry edge down between aples and pan.
- Bake in 425 degree f(220° C) oven for about 25 minutes or till pastry is golden brown. Let stand for about 5 minutes. Invert heatproof serving plate over pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grasp plate & pan. Turn over to unmould tart onto plate. With tongs quickly arrange apples stuck in patn over top. Serve warm.
Cinnamon is the talk of town in this amazing pie. I never liked cinnamon as I found it to be a strong spice till a co-worker brought some in & persuaded me to try a chew. We experimented on what else it could do other than create sweet flavours. And we found it made a great spice tea and after we drank our tea, we could still chew on the slightly soft cinnamon stick for a continued sweet sensation.
Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. A study conducted in 2007 and published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggests that specific plant terpenoids contained within cinnamon have potent antiviral properties.
Tarte Tatin was first created by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, 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.
Tarte tatin is best served warm with a dollop of vanilla icecream. Heres’a pix of my home waiting for the guests to arrive. Don’t miss the skeleton drive sign, we’re ready for Halloween.