A Sweet for Your Sweet
If you’re planning on cooking up a Valentine’s Day feast for someone special tonight but haven’t yet found that perfect dessert, rest assured: you’ve found it.
This incredibly easy apple tarte tatin can be made in just one pan in surprisingly little time, with just a few ingredients. I first made it around Thanksgiving and now I make it regularly whenever I get my hands on some fresh apples. (The greenmarket still has excellent stores of winter apples, by the way.)
For those who haven’t made tarte tatin before, this recipe is an incredibly streamlined version. Some versions of this classical dessert call for making your own pastry dough or slaving away over hot caramel. This recipe requires neither of those things, which I like.
Make it right before you start your dinner and then it will be cooled and ready just as you finish savoring your last glass of wine.
Adapted from Home Cooking with Jean-Georges: My Favorite Simple Recipes
1 (9-oz.) sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
7 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c. sugar
8 to 10 Granny Smith apple, peeled, halved and cored
Crème fraîche, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Using a lightly floured rolling pin (or wine bottle), roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface into a 10-in. round. Transfer to cookie sheet and freeze until firm.
2. Mash together the butter and the sugar in an ovenproof nonstick 10-in. skillet with your fingers. Pat into an even layer covering the bottom of the pan. Arrange the apples in concentric circles around the pan so that they fit very snugly.
3. Set the pan over high heat and cook, turning the pan occasionally, until the caramel bubbles and becomes medium dark-amber around the edges and on the bottom. Carefully transfer to the oven and bake for about 20 minutes, until the apples become very soft.
4. Top with the pastry and bake until puffed and brown, about 15 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 20 minutes.
5. When ready to serve, center a serving plate over the pan and carefully invert the plate and skillet. Remove the skillet, cut the tarte into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.
Jean-Georges writes that this tarte tatin is a departure from the “painfully involved and difficult” tarte tatin he made as an apprentice chef. Now he says, he prefers this much more rustic take that’s equally delicious. We do too.
P.S. Mascarpone also makes a delicious topping.