I decided to make this dessert for two main reasons: I wanted to try out my homemade puff pastry that had been chilling in the fridge for a couple of days, and I also have been dreaming about making tarte tatin ever since I read Molly Wizenberg's A Homemade Life around Christmastime last year, and started having a real interest in France and French cooking.
Obviously it worked or I wouldn't be writing this post right now, and you wouldn't be reading it. It puffed a nice amount, although the layers were a little uneven (not in how much they puffed; in their expansion), it wasn't perfect but then again, my mom says, if you want something perfect-looking you can always buy it at the store. It's more special to do it at home. The taste was a thousand times better than store-bought. I would love to say I'm never going to purchase puff pastry again, but the truth is, it was a little more laborious (and sticky! I hate sticky dough) than I wish it was, even in my simple-as-simple-gets version.
Oh, and P.S.- this is now my favorite dessert. Or at least it's up there on the top 5 or 10. It's like a slice of heaven with caramelized apples that are so sweet and juicy on a just-right flaky crust. The apples make their own caramel-apple jam in the pan that is so delicious.
Classic apple Tarte Tatin with homemade puff pastry
Adapted from Gourmet
Thawed puff pastry (1 sheet from 17 ¼ oz package or rolled out and calculated from homemade puff pastry recipe)
½ stick unsalted butter, softened
½ cup sugar
7 apples (A mixture is nice- I used Gala, Granny Smith, and Golden Delicious), peeled, cored, and quartered lengthwise
You will also need a 10-inch or 12-inch cast-iron skillet
Preheat your oven to 425F with the rack in the middle.
Roll and cut the puff pastry into a circle that is the diameter of the pan on a floured work surface with a floured rolling pin. Brush off excess flour. Transfer the puff pastry to a baking sheet and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Spread the softened butter on the bottom and sides of skillet. Pour sugar evenly over the bottom. Arrange the apples, the outside of the apples facing up, in tightly concentric circles. Cook the apples over moderately high heat, undisturbed, until the juices are deep golden and bubbling. The original recipe indicates 18-25 minutes; mine were ready in 12 (and smelling like the caramel wanted to burn- oh no!)
Place the skillet with apples over a piece of foil in the preheated oven (to catch drips) and bake for 20 minutes. This is so that the apples settle. Remove from oven and lay the puff pastry round on top of apples.
Bake tarte until the puff pastry is a rich golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 minutes and maximum 30 minutes.
Just before serving, invert a platter (preferably with a lip) over skillet. Use potholders to hold the skillet and plate tightly together. Invert tart onto platter. Replace apples that might stick to the skillet. Brush any excess caramel from the skillet over the apples and serve immediately.