Posted on Friday, 30th November 2012 by Grace Massa Langlois
Crazy, busy week, I felt like I barely had enough time to breathe! But, I didn’t want to let a week go by without posting, especially since we’re heading into the holiday season. Everyone is so busy at this time of the year so I thought it best to share a quick and easy dessert that delivers on flavour and texture in a big way, Apple Tarte Tatin.
I serve these upside-down caramelized apple tarts warm usually with sweetened cream or ice cream. Since the holiday season is almost here I thought I would serve them with an extra luscious topping, Calvados Cream. Calvados and apples is a match made in heaven. The soft peaks barely hold their texture when they meet the piping hot, buttery caramel; it’s indulgence at its best.
The tart Granny Smiths were the perfect contrast to the sweeter caramel. Usually I prepare caramel with white sugar but I wanted a slightly sweeter, darker and richer looking caramel so I prepared it with mostly brown sugar. And let me tell you this, if the trickles of dark elixir dripping off the apples isn’t enough to tempt your guests, one taste will have them begging for more, unbelievably good especially with the hint of cinnamon and vanilla!
Initially I was only planning on preparing four tarte tatins, one for each of us and an extra one for good measure. Luckily I thought better of it because by noon they were all gone.
Normally tarte tatin isn’t the type of dessert I would serve at a cocktail party but after making the smaller ones for the first time today I’m thinking, I should’ve been. They can be prepared ahead of time like many appetizers and popped in the oven just before serving. And if you couldn’t spare the oven for the 35 minutes baking time you could bake ahead and merely rewarm.
One thing is for certain, the aroma of baked apples, cinnamon and caramel escaping from the oven would be quite the tease and I’d be very surprised if any of your guests could resist the temptation of a tray filled with warm, two bite, sticky caramel and apple on a bed of flaky pastry desserts.
The mere thought of them makes my mouth water; I wish I’d made more.
Mini Apple Tarte Tatin with Brown Sugar Caramel and Calvados Cream
Makes 4 10 cm (4-inch) and 9 mini (standard muffin cup) tarte tatins
- Calvados Cream
- Mini Apple Tarte Tatin with Brown Sugar Caramel
I like to prepare the Calvados Cream prior to preparing the tarte tatin because it allows time for the flavours to come together. If you prefer not to use liqueur merely flavour cream with lemon zest for a fresh note.
- 226 g (1 cup) crème fraîche
- 16 g (2 tablespoons) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Calvados or apple brandy
- In small bowl, whisk together crème fraîche, sugar and Calvados. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
Mini Apple Tarte Tatin with Brown Sugar Caramel
- 380 g (just a tad over 13 ounces) puff pastry (store-bought or homemade)
- 4 Granny Smith apples
- Juice from 1 lemon
- 70 g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into one-tablespoon-size (5 equal) pieces, room temperature, extra for greasing dishes
- 200 g (1 cup) golden yellow sugar (light brown sugar)
- 113 g (½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) water
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Calvados, optional
- 1 vanilla bean, split and seeded
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Cinnamon sugar
- On lightly floured work surface with a rolling pin lightly dusted with flour, roll out pastry to 6 mm (¼-inch) thickness. Cut out four pastry rounds slightly larger than the ramekins you are using. Dust off any excess flour with pastry brush. Place rounds on rimmed baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper. Cut out nine pastry rounds slightly larger than the muffin cups (again, dust off any excess flour with pastry brush) and transfer to lined baking sheet. Using the tip of a sharp paring knife, cut two small slits in the centre of each pastry round (to allow steam to escape when baking). Transfer baking sheet to refrigerator allowing pastry rounds to chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 190° C (375° F). Peel, core and cut two apples into 3 mm (1/8-inch) slices. Peel and core remaining two apples and cut into 6 mm (¼-inch) rounds. (You may have to use round cookie cutter to trim the apple rounds to fit the muffin cups – apple rounds must not be tight to edges otherwise you will not be able to tuck the pastry in). Place apples in a small bowl and toss in lemon juice (to prevent browning). Using pastry brush, lightly grease four 10 cm (4-inch) ramekins and nine standard muffin cups with softened butter. Place ramekins on rimmed baking sheet lined with non-stick baking paper.
- Combine, golden sugar, caster sugar, water, liqueur, vanilla pod and seeds, and cinnamon in small saucepan. Bring to the boil over high heat, stirring constantly, until sugar is dissolved (syrup will bubble up). Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook (don’t be concerned if syrup bubbles up it will subside as it caramelizes), without stirring, occasionally swirling pan over burner and frequently washing down the sides of the pan with pastry brush dipped in water (to eliminate any sugar crystals that may form on sides of pan), until syrup reaches dark amber colour, about 10 minutes. (It’s harder to determine by colour when brown sugar caramel is ready, at about the eight-minute mark drizzle a few drops of sugar syrup into a small amount of ice-cold water, if you can create a ball with your fingertips, the caramel is ready (tasting the ball of syrup is also a good way to determine if you’ve taken the caramel far enough). Repeat ever 30 seconds until syrup is proper consistency.)
- Reserve 2 tablespoons butter (2 pieces). Remove saucepan from heat, add remaining butter (3 tablespoons or 3 pieces) and swirl the saucepan until butter is dissolved (I prefer to swirl rather than stir) and combined well. Remove vanilla pod (with tongs – do not touch caramel – very hot!) and immediately divide liquid caramel equally between ramekins and muffin cups.
- Working with one ramekin at-a-time, carefully arrange apple slices (caramel is extremely hot) in a tight spiral on top of the caramel making sure to overlap slices (and also make sure that apples are not touching edges of ramekin otherwise you will not be able to tuck the pastry in). Place one apple round into each muffin cup. Sprinkle cinnamon sugar on the surface of the apples.
- Melt reserved butter (2 tablespoons or 2 pieces) in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat. Remove pastry rounds from refrigerator. Again, working with one ramekin (or muffin cup) at-a-time and working quickly (it’s important that pastry remains cold), drape pastry round over apples tucking pastry in on the sides. Brush melted butter on the surface of the pastry making sure to refrain from buttering the edges. Refrigerate muffin tin (it’s best to bake the larger tatins separately from the smaller tatins).
- Lightly mist the surface of the pastry with water and immediately bake larger tatins (on baking sheet) until pastry is golden and puffed, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat. Run a thin knife around the edges of the ramekin. Let stand (on surface of stove) 1 to 2 minutes and immediately turn out each tarte tatin onto dessert dish. (If not serving immediately leave in ramekins (or muffin cups) and reheat in warm oven just before serving.)
- Remove muffin tin from refrigerator. Repeat step 7.
- Serve tarte tatins warm topped with Calvados Cream (sweetened whipped cream or ice cream).
- Buon Appetito!
Tags: after school treat, afternoon tea, caramel, caramel sauce, dessert, desserts, desserts for entertaining, entertaining, food, food photography, food photos, French desserts, fruit, individual dessert, individual desserts, mini tarts, puff pastry, puff pastry recipes, tarts, upside down desserts
Posted in Baking & Pastry, Baking Mise en Place, Basics, Crostate, Custards, Creams & Mousses, Dolci al Cucchiaio, Dolci alla Frutta, Fruit Desserts, Pastry Doughs & Batter, Pies & Tarts, Recipes, Ricette di Base, Spoon Desserts