Maple Tarte Tatin
A fine recipe with a twist
Near the end of the 19th century, as the story goes, two sisters ran a restaurant in Sologne, France. It was a bustling and popular place, located near the train station. On a very busy day, the sister carrying a dessert trtripped and the tarte flipped over. It was served anyway and became a house specialty. It could have all been a confabulatory tale, reported on a food review to get this dessert on the menu of fame. In any event, it became very popular, even if there were similar kinds of desserts in the archives of cookbooks from the area.
The recipe I have devised below, is the standard Tarte Tatin, but with a twist: maple syrup. It adds a depth of flavor to the apples.
You will need
2 1/2 cups & 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter (right from the fridge, i.e. cold)
2 tablespoons butter (to add just before baking)
1/4 to 1/2 cups ice water
Add the 2 cups flour and salt to the food processor. Pulse for a few seconds just to mix up salt throughout.
Then add the 2 sticks butter, cut in very small pieces. Pulse till mixed in (about 10-15 seconds)
With the machine running, add the water until it holds together in a ball. Stop as soon as this happens. On a cutting board sprikle some of the 2 tablesponns flour, divide the dough in 2 pieces and shape into flat discs. Put in the refrigerator to rest 1.5 to 2 hours.
For the caramelized base
3/4 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces)
4 tablespoons of good, pure maple syrup
Use Cortland or other good baking apples. Peel them, slice them and set aside.
In a 8 or 9 inch cast iron skillet , melt the butter. Combine sugar. Bring mixture to a boil, lower the flame and cook over medium/low heat until mixture has thickened and taken on an amber color. Arrange apple slices neatly on the first layer of the caramelized mixture. Remember: this is going to be flipped, so it will become the top of the tarte. Kepp adding apple slices until level with the top of the pan. Add the maple syrup spreading all over the apples. Let the mixture cook about 20 minutes or until the mixture has reduced by half. Let it cool down.
Preheat oven to 375ºF.
Roll out the pâte brisée and place on top of the apples. Place in the oven for about 20-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown. Using a sharp knife, go around the edges to loosen the pastry from the pan. Wait till it cools a bit to place a large serving dish on top and quickly invert.