caramelized upside-down apple tart is great to serve to guests, because they either
know it and adore it, or they've never heard of it before and they fall in love
with it right at your dinner table. It isn't hard to make, but it is a bit of a
project. A good time to make your pastry is while the apples are cooking.
Serves 8 to
5 to 6 lb. tart
apples (I like Braeburns, Jonathans, Honeycrisps, Jonagolds, or Fujis)
7 Tbs. unsalted
3/4 cup granulated
1/8 tsp. kosher
1 recipe Pâte Brisée, chilled
or vanilla ice cream for serving
and core the apples, being sure to get the stem and flower ends clean.
In a heavy ovenproof
10-inch skillet or a tarte tatin pan, melt the butter, add the sugar and salt, and
cook over medium heat until the sugar begins to melt around the edges.
with a wooden spoon to help the sugar melt completely and then let the mixture cook
over medium-low heat until it reaches a deep mahogany-colored caramel; if using
a dark pan, be sure to lift some caramel out with a spoon to check the color.
The butter will
pool on the top-that's fine.
As soon as the
caramel is the right color, take the pan off the heat.
Set aside four
of the apple halves and arrange the remaining ones in the pan in concentric circles,
standing them upright on their narrowest end and packing them in as tightly as possible
(they'll shrink as they cook).
Try to make
the rows look neat.
Return the pan
to medium heat, increasing to medium high as the apple juices begin to flow-the
liquid should bubble gently.
Rotate the pan
occasionally in case there are any hot spots.
Use your sense
of smell: If you start to smell burnt sugar, immediately turn down the heat.
When the bottom
halves of the apples are caramelized and slightly tender, flip each one over with
a fork and continue cooking.
About this time,
there should be a lot of juice in the pan and the apples will likely have shrunk
and be slumping a bit.
the pan from the heat and, holding the apples back with a spatula, pour off 1/2
to 1 cup of caramel and juice into a small saucepan
(pour off more
if necessary; you should have about an inch of liquid left in the skillet).
Return the skillet
to the heat and continue cooking.
Add the reserved
apples to the caramel in the smaller pan and cook over medium-high heat until they're
caramelized, about 10 minutes, turning them frequently as necessary.
With a rubber
spatula or a wooden spoon, push the apples in the skillet so they're tightly packed
and upright again; there will be gaps.
in position, transfer an apple half from the small pan and slide it, wider end down,
into a gap; repeat with as many apple halves as will fit nicely; reserve the juice
in the pan.
the apples in the skillet until they're tender and thoroughly caramelized, inserting
another apple half if necessary.
The total cooking
time could take 35 minutes or more.
Take the skillet
off the heat and let cool to room temperature.
If there's more
than about 1/2 inch of liquid remaining in the pan, carefully pour off the excess
into the small saucepan.
Heat the oven
Roll the chilled
pâte brisée dough into a round about 1 inch larger than the pan; the dough should
be about 1/8 inch thick.
Roll the round
of dough onto the rolling pin and transfer it to the skillet, gently draping the
dough over the apples.
Tuck and fold
the edge of the dough under to make a rim.
Put the skillet
in the middle of the oven.
(Put a baking
sheet on the rack below to catch any overflowing juices.)
Bake until the
crust is a rich brown and looks crisp, about 25 minutes.
Take the tarte
out of the oven and let it cool for about 15 minutes.
If more juice
accumulates, carefully pour off most of it into the saucepan and then invert a large
plate on top of the pan, flip the pan and plate over in one quick move, and lift
off the pan.
Simmer the reserved
caramel and juices until thick and syrupy and then spoon them over the finished
tarte or serve alongside.
Serve the tarte
warm or at room temperature with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
best eaten within a day or so; don't refrigerate.
(per serving): Size: based on ten servings without garnish, Calories (kcal): 400,
Fat (kcal): 15, Fat Calories (g): 140, Saturated Fat (g): 9, Protein (g): 3, Monounsaturated
Fat (g): 4, Carbohydrates (mg): 67, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 1, Sodium (g): 120,
Cholesterol (g): 60, Fiber (g): 5.