Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Tart Tatin

Yesterday I made a tart tatin using Anne Burrell's recipe. I think it was Emily who said that she is basically a female Guy Fieri, an observation that makes me not want to watch her show. But I was looking into tart tatin recipes, starting with Smitten Kitchen's, and then I looked it up on Food Network just to see what other people did. I landed on Burrell's video, and I think what won me over was the suggestion of adding lemon juice and apple cider to the caramel mixture. This seemed to be, indeed, a secret from a restaurant chef. I was also turned off by SK's endless tale of how she's failed at this supposedly simple tart so many times. I acquired some Golden Supreme apples at the Logan Square farmer's market, Pepperidge Farm's frozen puff pastry at Mariano's, and decided to make this on a slow, gray, Tuesday afternoon.

Everything was going smoothly, especially since I didn't have to make the puff pastry. Which is easy to make with a food processor, but I just didn't feel like it and if you aren't impressing anyone then frozen puff pastry is sufficient, even pretty good. (It seems to have a crispy yet chewy texture, maybe because of all the syrupy awesomeness, but I really like that effect.) I wasn't quite sure how the apples away from the bottom of the pan were going to get blessed by the delicious caramel sauce, but with some flipping and submerging in bubbling caramel using mismatched chopsticks, the apples started to brown.

When I flipped the tart over, to both my horror and delight, this is what emerged:
The apples shrunk in the oven! And they all shifted over to one side! I thought they were fine when I put the pastry over the pan. Even though there was this size problem, and generally, I think tart tatins are not the prettiest things you can bake, this looked alright. The apples themselves looked just as I expected--basically, like in Burrell's video--which is a pretty good feeling one gets in the kitchen, particularly when baking. I wouldn't mind just folding this mess in half to get a big tart tatin croisstant-like thing, but I've been consuming it in slices like a civilized person. There's really nothing to say about the way this thing tastes except, to put it succinctly, "this shit real good." You can never go wrong with recipe that involves a stick of butter and a cup of sugar simmering and baking over the course of an hour. That is just a fundamental principle of LIFE!