So I recently made one with what I thought was the official recipe, sanctioned by the Confrérie des Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin, a French society that is devoted to this delicacy (only in France: consider the AAAAA - Association Amicale des Amateurs d'Andouillette Authentique).
Here's the result, which was very lovely but a little watery: slightly under-caramelized.
I posted this on Facebook and had a surprising number of comments and questions. One asked for the recipe so I embarked on a search to make sure what I had used was in fact "official." It turned out that it was not, but rather a (very significantly simplified) adaptation published in the New York Times. That led me on a hunt for the real original, which in turn took me to French web sites. The Confrérie's web site does not have the official version, but I found a site that gives a recipe that purports to be the vraie chose. Adventurous French-speakers can find this at Sabine . . . En Quête de Cuisine.
My quest was not over, however, as Sabine's recipe was in French and had a couple of steps too many. So I hunted until I found a reliable version from Dorie Greenspan that was published in Fine Cooking in 2010. Dorie's recipe is very similar, though in more detail, to the one I used, which is set forth below.
"OFFICIAL" TARTE TATIN
(Adapted from the Confrerie des Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin, via New York Times)
· 8 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
· 1 cup sugar
· 6 medium Gala or Golden Delicious apples, peeled, cored and cut into quarters
· 1 thin ( 1/8-inch) sheet puff pastry, cut into a circle 12 inches in diameter (I use regular pâte brisée).
1. Spread butter evenly in a 10-inch tarte Tatin mold or heavy 10-inch nonstick ovenproof skillet. Spread sugar as evenly as possible on sides and bottom of pan. Beginning at edge of pan, arrange apples peeled side down in concentric circles, fitting apples closely together.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place pan over high heat, and cook without stirring until sugar caramelizes and turns dark golden brown, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, and press gently on the apples with a wooden spoon to help fill any spaces between them. Cover the apples with puff pastry, overlapping the rim of the pan. Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 30 minutes.
3. Remove tart from oven, and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Cover pan with a large plate, and quickly invert tart; remove pan. Serve hot or warm
Try one or more recipes for this classic, or send me your own!