Thursday, April 12, 2012

Apple Tarte Tatin

    A while ago I was watching The Chew  and I saw two of the hosts make: Carla and Clinton's Apple Tarte Tatin. It looked super easy, and I thought "I could do that." But, I don't really care for baked apple desserts (with the exception of my Grandma's Apple Pudding Cake and her Apple Rolls - that could be a breakfast or dessert). So, I let the inspiration leave me and I went on to make something else that day.
   Well, I have apples in my fridge that for some odd reason are just staying in my fridge. Usually the kids are all over them, and I can't keep them in the house! I had a pie crust in the fridge and these apples, so I finally gave in and made an Apple Tarte Tatin today.
   I looked online and found a recipe by the Cake Duchess, and it looked just as easy as the one I saw on TV. The basics are: make a caramel, put apples on top, pie crust on top of that and bake it. Nothing to it. You know me, I always have to do my own thing.
So, this is what I came up with.

I used 6 apples. (Any kind would work. I had Fuji and Braeburn.) I peeled them, and quartered them . . .

 and took the seeds out. (I do this by cutting the quartered apple on a diagonal. I learned this from Rachael Ray years ago.)
Then I put the apple quarters into a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice.
 Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in an oven safe pan.
When the butter is melted, add 1 cup of sugar.
 When the sugar has the slightest bit of color, turn off the heat. (It still looks like a mess of greasy wet sand, but it will work itself out after you add the apples.)
 VERY CAREFULLY I put the apple quarters on top of the sugar and butter, making sure to put the rounded side down - this will eventually be the top, so you want it to be pretty.

Is it just me, or does my hand look like some strange bird trying to eat the apples?
  Add about half of the lemon/sugar mixture over top the apples, and turn the heat on to medium high.
 The caramel will start to boil. Cook for 15 minutes.
When the 15 minutes is up, turn off the heat! Sprinkle on 1/2 to 1 tsp of cinnamon and some freshly grated nutmeg on top of the apples. - It's really tasty without them, but I think it would be better with.

Put the pie crust on top. (I had a 9-inch pie crust so I needed to roll it out a little first to cover the pan.) Then I tucked the edges of the pie crust under the edges of the apple - use a knife or a spoon - anything really but your fingers. They don't call boiling sugar culinary "napalm" for nothing. It's HOT!!!
Then cut a couple slits in the top to let out steam.
Bake @ 425 for 20 minutes, until the caramel is dark and the pie crust is brown.
This is right ot of the oven - can you see the steam? Remember to use hot pads to grab the handle!
Let it sit in the pan for a good 10-15 minutes (until you can touch the pan without burning yourself, but it's still warm). Then put a platter on top and invert the tarte onto the platter. - If your apples slide around you can fix them, :) Let it cool to room temperature before serving.
Here's the recipe:

6 medium apples, peeled, quartered and seeded.
1 1/4 cups sugar divided
1/4 cup lemon juice
6 Tbsp butter
1/2 to 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1/8 tsp freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 9-inch prepared pie crust - rolled out to cover pan

Preheat oven to 425F. After the apples have been prepared, put them into a bowl with 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice. Melt the butter in a large oven safe skillet and then add 1 cup sugar. When the sugar barely starts to get any color, turn off the heat and add the apples one at a time - rounded side down. Pour 1/2 of the lemon juice mixture over the top of the arranged apples and turn the heat on medium high. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and nutmeg and then place the pie crust on top. Tuck the edges of the pie crust around the apples, using a spoon or other utensil. Cut a couple vent holes in the top of the pie crust and put the whole pan into the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the caramel is dark and the pie crust is golden brown. Let it cool on the counter for 10-15 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter. Cool completely and serve.

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