Friday, October 12, 2012

For an easy WOW dessert- try Tarte Tatin, with a Canadian Touch

I'm always on the lookout for great apple or pear desserts.  Years ago, in a professional baking class, we made apple tarte Tatin.  Looked great, tasted amazing and it was so easy to prepare- provided you used store bought puff pastry.  In class, we made our pastry from scratch, but that's another story.  This dessert "stuck" with me- who wouldn't like "tarte Tatin"? I confess that I also like the sound of the name!

I was invited to Suzanne's for Thanksgiving dinner.  A tarte Tatin was the perfect dessert to bring along.  Traditionally, it is made with apples but pears work equally well.  Both fruit are in season now and available at the local farmers' market.  The Canadian touch?  Maple syrup, of course.  Here's the recipe:

To serve 8-10.

1     14-ounce package all-butter puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator
All-purpose flour to coat the work surface and rolling pin
1/4  cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1" pieces
1/4  cup pure maple syrup
Poaching pears and toasting pecans
1/3  cup sugar
5-6 Gala or Honeycrisptype apples (about 2 1/2 pounds), peeled, cored, halved (you can also use the same number of pears, instead of the apples)
1     cup of pecans (optional)
Good quality vanilla ice cream

Unfold the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Using a lightly floured rolling pin, roll into a 12" square about 1/8" thick. Using a 12" plate as a guide, cut out a 12" round with a sharp paring knife. Transfer pastry round to a baking sheet; cover with plastic wrap and chill until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425°F. Swirl butter and maple syrup in a 12" heavy ovenproof skillet over medium heat until the butter melts. Sprinkle sugar over, evenly coating bottom of skillet. Add apples, cut side down; increase heat to medium-high and cook until the sugar melts, occasionally swirling the apples in the pan, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, continuing to swirl the apples in the pan, about 5 minutes longer. Flip the apples (rounded side down), and cook, swirling the apples occasionally, until the syrup is thick and golden brown, 5-10 minutes longer.

I made a small and a medium dessert
 instead of  one large dessert.
Ready to be covered with the puff pastry.

Cover the apples with the pastry round, tucking in the edges of the pastry. Bake until the pastry is light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F; bake until the pastry is puffed and deep golden, about 20 minutes longer.

Let the tarte Tatin cool for 15 minutes. Invert a serving plate over the skillet. Using oven mitts, firmly hold the plate and the skillet and invert the tarte onto the plate. Remove the skillet; rearrange the apples if needed and scrape any caramel in skillet over. Serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream.


Note:  I wanted the dessert "puffy" when served.  To do that, I followed the recipe until it was time to cover the apples with the puff pastry. At that point, they were refrigerated until ready to leave for dinner.  This is perfect because the oven can be pre-heated as soon as dinner is served and the oven is clear.  Warm the apples briefly on the stove top before covering with the puff pastry and continue following the recipe.  If you want to do it all before leaving for dinner, the "puff" will not be as high, but the taste will still be wonderful.

Wanna play?
Try using pears or combining apples and pears.  You could also add dried cranberries or cherries along with walnuts or pecans which you've lightly toasted before adding.  You could also add a little brandy.  Other suggestions?

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