Apple Tarte Tatin

This recipe comes from Fine Cooking Magazine; while there is a good chance for grievous bodily harm inflicted by this tart during the inverting portion of this recipe, it is worth the risk. Have the burn cream on stand-by….
A word about the apples: the recipe called for Granny Smith but I find them to be soulless and chalky. I prefer to get honeycrisp or other fresh Michigan apples for any apple dessert.

For the pastry:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 t sugar
1/4 t salt
8 T unsalted, cold butter cut into cubes
1 large egg beaten with 1T water plus an additional 1-2 T if needed

Pulse all the ingredients except the egg mixture in a food processor until coarse and crumbly; at this point, I prefer to take it out of the food processor and put it into a regular bowl. Using a fork, add the egg mixture in 3 additions, tossing with the fork until dough holds together when pinched– don’t overwork it. Gather it into a disc and refrigerate for 1 hour.

For the Tart:
5-7 firm Honeycrisp apples (or other good fresh apples), peeled, cored and cut into quarters
4 oz. unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar (recipe calls for 3/4 but I thought that was too much)

Preheat oven to 375ยบ

Melt the butter in a 10″ heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat and using a pastry brush, brush the sides of the pan with butter. Add the sugar and cook only until the sugar is evenly moistened.

Lay the apple wedges, rounded sides down, snugly in concentric circles. Cut pieces to fill in gaps if necessary– apples will shrink as they are cooking so don’t worry if they are bulky looking.

Cook over medium to medium-high heat until juices are mostly boiled away and the caramel is a deep golden color, around 15-20 minutes. Adjust heat and reposition pan as necessary to cook evenly; watch the caramel carefully– if the heat is too high, you will burn the caramel; too low and the apples will get mushy. So do it just right…

Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and put the pan on top of it to cool for a few minutes before continuing. Meanwhile roll out the dough to an 11″ width and lay over the fruit, tucking in the overhang. Don’t dilly-dally with this part– you don’t want your dough to melt. Bake for 25-30 minutes until pastry is beautiful and golden. Let rest for 5 minutes and then gently run a knife around the edges.

Here comes the terrifying part: cover the skillet with a large serving platter and arm yourself with the best oven mitts money can buy. Invert the tart onto the platter and remove the skillet adjusting any apples as necessary. Let the tart cool for 15 minutes and serve with whipped heavy cream. YUM YUM!

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