As you know, we have an abundance of apples and need to think up interesting ways of using them through the fall season. So far this year I've made a traditional apple tart and an apple cake (thanks Leesa!). I got the idea over the weekend that I should try a tarte tatin.
The tarte tatin is basically an apple upside-down pie. Large apple wedges are caramelized in butter and sugar then baked under a pie crust. The whole thing is turned upside-down when it's done, resulting in a pie with a crispy crust on the bottom and gooey caramelized apples on top.
It's an easy pie to make, especially when you have your pie crust made and ready to go. I always put left-over pie crust dough in the freezer. When I'm ready to make a pie, I can take some out, thaw it, and it works just like fresh dough.
There are two things that make tartes tatin different from one to the next. The first is the variety of apples that you use. Some apples hold their shape well when cooked while others tend to melt into mush. I used some apples that almost went to mush. I think the pie is better with firmer apples as that makes the caramelizing process work better.
Which brings us to the second variable: the degree of caramelizing that you get. Cooking the apple wedges slowly in butter and sugar should produce a nice dark caramel coating. If the apples cook down too fast, you get less of this effect. And the caramel coating is what makes a great tarte tatin.
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