If you're looking for a show-stopper dessert, a Tarte Tatin will impress just about everyone. Its cobblestone look and not-too-sweet caramel apples are the perfect end to a meal. I use my go-to pie dough recipe for the crust (pg. xx), but if you're in a rush, there is no shame in using puff pastry. Whisk homemade whipped cream with powdered sugar and a tablespoon of apple brandy to top it off.
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Peel each apple, remove cores and seeds and cut into 6 pieces. Squeeze juice from lemon over the apples and toss well.
2. In a large deep skillet, heat the sugar over medium-high heat, without stirring, until it begins to liquefy (about 4 minutes). Do not let it burn.
3. Whisk gently until the liquid caramel is golden amber. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Whisk until completely combined, moving it on and off the burner to keep the caramel in a liquid state.
4. Add the apples to mixture and turn gently to fully coat. Cook over medium heat for 8-10 minutes until apples are tender, but not mushy.
5. Using tongs, place the apples, one at a time, round side down, in a smaller, oven-safe skillet or pie plate. Beginning on the outside, arrange apples in concentric circles. For the inner circles, overlap the apples by a 1/2-inch or so.
6. The apples will shrink, so you want them to be tight and even a little bit overcrowded. Pour extra caramel in the first skillet over the apples. Let this cool for 5-10 minutes and use the time to roll out your crust.
7. Make sure your pastry is about an inch wider than your pan or pie plate, place over the apples, tucking in the sides. Cut a few slits into the pastry to allow steam to escape. Brush on egg wash if desired and sprinkle with sugar.
8. Bake for 25-30 minutes. You're looking for a golden-brown crust and apples bubbling around the edges. Cool on a wire rack for at least 45 minutes.
9. When ready, put serving platter over the skillet or pie pan and turn upside down. Be sure to hold the platter and skillet tightly together. If any apples remain in the skillet, just put them where they should be on the tart. Serve warm with whipped cream.
Need a good pie dough recipe? Check out Craig's Damn Good Pie Dough!
Questions? Text to Craig at 202-217-0996 or email Savor@metroweekly.com.
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