Sunday, February 7, 2010

Meal From Scratch Part 2!

Okay, onto the Tarte Tatin.  My favorite cookbooks are my French ones by Joanne Harris (who wrote Chocolat).  I love them so much that when I realized there was a second I bought them both in hardback (since my first was paperback).  I have the Brit version with weights, since that's how I like to cook (I find it more accurate, but more on that later), so I have tried to convert this to cups for you.  I've made this several times before, we both love it, and I'm using an old pic (same plate as always!) because last night I *might* have cooked the apples a bit too long so they didn't look as pretty.  Pretty or not it tasted amazing!  This is my altered version because I like a non-sweet crust, but if you want the original let me know!  Her recipe says to serve it warm but not too hot, and I cannot recommend this enough!  The flavors need time to develop (some flavors taste different hot, and especially with my altered version this is true).  However, we actually found this tasted best today when we woke up hungry and it was cold.  I prefer my apple desserts cold though, so take that into account.
Tarte Tatin (modified from a recipe from The French Kitchen by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde)

  • 1 Pie Crust (preferably buttery and not sweet)
  • 5-6 eating apples, peeled and cored
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1/2 c. sugar
Note:  Please remember this is Natural Week, so forgive me for harping.  If you want this to turn out well, DO NOT use Pillsbury pie crust.  It will not taste buttery like from a bakery or pastry store.  It will not be great, and you will be lucky if it turns out good.  I know people use these, and I have had people ask for recipes of mine involving a pie crust, I have given them this same advice, and they seem perplexed when it doesn't turn out well. is a great place to find a pie crust recipe, and armed with a pastry blender (or mad skills with kitchen knives, like ma maman) these are easy to make.  Also, margarine will not make this as scrumptious as butter, keep that in mind.  Splenda will probably work (and I will update once I have tested this out for my FIL).
Now, moving on!   Pre-heat your oven to 400F.  Make your pie crust and chill it in the refrigerator (or in the freezer if you are like me and rarely make it ahead of time to chill for hours in the refrigerator).  Once that's chilled a bit, peel and core your apples.  I was really lucky and picked up a vintage corer from my grandmama's over Christmas, and I highly recommend these!  They work quickly (I peeled and cored 6 apples in less than 5 minutes).  Put your apples, the butter and sugar on the stove in a oven safe skillet.  Turn the heat onto about med. low (I am guessing, since the cookbook actually doesn't give a temp.)  Cook for 15 minutes, but watch them, you want them still slightly firm, but the sugar and butter to have caramelized.  I added cinnamon, and because I had ground cardamom on hand, added a pinch of that as well and mixed it up.  This turned out to be the best flavor ever, so if you can, please try it!
Roll out your dough just slightly larger than your pan.  Remove the frying pan from heat and quickly lay the dough over the apples, tucking in the excess edges around the apples.  
Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.  Then turn down to 325F and cook for another 20 minutes until golden brown.  While this is cooking, make a pot of coffee or tea, it goes so well with the Tarte Tatin.  When it is done, please BE CAREFUL.  This is hot and I have burned myself badly before forgetting this just came from an oven.  Use hotpads, gloves, whatever you need, but this is the tricky part!  Use a knife to loosen the tart around the edges.  Take a heat safe plate and put it on top of the pan.  Flip over quickly onto the plate, and lift the pan off.  Place pan on stove and don't even think about touching it until it cools.  Let the tarte tatin cool for a bit.  You can eat with ice cream if that's the way you roll, but I really love it by itself.  I recommend using granny smith apples since they have a bite and tend to remain more firm than some others.
Enjoy!  And please let me know what you think if you try this!

Last bit of advice from yesterday:  Clean up your kitchen.  Use the cooling time as an opportunity to keep some sanity and clean up your mess.  You can also do this while it cooks, but that would be skipping the important make coffee or tea step.  


  1. Ooohh I can't wait to make this either! Jesse doesn't like sweets (I know, crazy, right?) so dessert lasts us forever because I'm the only one who eats much of it! Yay! More of this yummy goodness for me! I like it!

  2. This will be in our menu for Chinese new year. I know, I like to mix my sweets as I dislike the moon cakes and sugar coated coconut stripes. Also, I'm kinda intimidated about the pie crust. But will not no more!