½ recipe Art of Pie “Basic Pie Crust” or 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator.
5-6 firm apples, peeled, cored, and quartered-Granny Smith or Golden Delicious-if using pears, Bosc pears work very well
1 tsp. cinnamon
¾ -cup plus 1 Tbs sugar
4 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon of water
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Place a baking rack in the middle of the oven.
- Roll the pie dough into a 10-inch circle. Place it onto a plate, cover, and place into the refrigerator until ready to add to the tart. If using a sheet of puff pastry, unfold it and place into the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Toss the apples with the cinnamon and 1Tbs of sugar.
- In a 10-inch cast-iron pan or other oven proof skillet, heat the remaining ¾ cup sugar over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has turned a dark amber. (Check for color by drizzling some onto a white plate.)
- Add the butter to the pan and stir it into the caramel until melted and smooth; be careful, as the butter will make the caramel sputter.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Starting on the outside of the pan, carefully set the apple quarters in the caramel, arranging them in a circle so that they all face the same way. Set them very close to one another, trying to get as many as possible into the pan. Fill in the center of the pan with as many of the remaining apples as will fit.
- Put the pan back on the heat and allow the apples to cook on top of the stove for about 5 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Place the cold pastry dough over the apples, tucking the edges into the sides of the pan. Work carefully so as not to burn your fingers, but also quickly so as not to melt the dough.
- Brush the dough with the beaten egg and immediately put the pan in the oven.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375 degrees and bake until the crust is browned, and the caramel is bubbling around the edges of the pan, another 15-20 minutes.
- Carefully remove the tart from the oven and cool it on a rack for about 20 minutes. Invert the tart onto a serving platter. If any apples stick to the underside of the pan, simply return them to their rightful spot on the tart.
- Tarte Tatin is best served right away, but it can stand a room temperature and be reheated briefly in the oven, if that suits your schedule better.