Preheated the oven at 200° C. (400° F.)
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: About 45 minutes
There are many accounts of how the famous Tarte Tatin came to be. The story of the tart that was accidentally flipped over and then served to the parish priest, though the best-known, seems to be apocryphal! Another story has it that the two sisters obtained the recipe from their father, a baker at Romorantin, who had already been making an upside-down apple tart.
Another version, found in a recipe notebook belonging to a family from Lamotte-Beuvron claims that the two sisters got the recipe from the cook to the Comte de Châteauvillars….
Whatever its origin, the upside-down tart seems to be a culinary tradition of central France, particularly the Sologne and the Orleans region, where they make similar recipes with fresh peaches and pears.
The fame of this dessert is due - aside from its deliciousness - to the fact Louis Vaudable, during a stay in the Sologne, was so delighted by the famous tart that upon returning to Paris he put it on the menu of his famous restaurant in the rue Royale. The restaurant was called Maxim's…
Here is the recipe for Tarte Tatin as it is still prepared in restaurants in the Sologne, where the cooks remember the instructions of the Tatin sisters themselves, Fanny and Caroline.
Prepare the pastry
- Place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the centre.
- Rub in butter with your fingers; blend in the water, beaten egg and salt.
- Form into a ball and set aside to rest.
- In a heavy copper round sauté pan, cook the butter and sugar until caramelized and light brown.
- Arrange apple wedges in concentric circles in the pan. Choose yellow reinette (russet) apples veined with red, if available, or another variety with a softness and slight acidity that will hold up well in cooking.
- Roll out the pastry to a 3 mm (1/8") thickness and to a diameter slightly larger than the sauté pan. Cover the apples with the pastry.
- Bake for 25 minutes in a hot oven 200°C / 400°F.
- Gently lift the edge of the crust with the point of a knife to check the blond caramelized apples. When the tart is nicely browned, arrange a serving plate on top of the pan and carefully flip over. Your tart will now have a more usual appearance.
Serve this elegant Tarte Tatin warm - keep in mind that a spoonful of crème fraîche on top would have been a sacrilege to Fanny Tatin!
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