Friday, October 24, 2008

Apple Pomegranite Tarte Tatin: An Attempt

Until about a year ago, I don't think I had ever heard of a Tarte Tatin. My family tends to cook simple, good food. Desserts are more in the pie, cake, cookie family occasionally straying to blintzes or sufgoniot. And then one lovely friend started talking about the one that she makes as well as the one at Petit Robert Bistro. (a restaurant that is heaven on earth, btw)

So when a recipe for an Apple and Pomegranite Tarte Tatin came in my Bon Apetit, I just had to give it a whirl. And whirl I did....

What you need:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1/4 cup crème fraîche or sour cream
  • 3 cups refrigerated pure pomegranate juice
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 7 medium Golden Delicious apples (about 3 1/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored (I used the apples from the excursion, so they were a combo of Macs and Courtlands. I also ended up using 9-10 apples, I believe)
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Large pinch of coarse kosher salt
  • Vanilla ice cream (you really don't want to leave this out)

The Making of the Crust
Blend first 3 ingredients. Add chilled butter and blend until coarse meal forms. Add crème fraîche/sour cream. Blend, until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap; chill 1 hour. Roll dough out on lightly floured surface to 11-inch-diameter round. Slide onto baking sheet, cover, and chill until ready to use. This part can be done up to a day in advance. Mine was done the previous evening, transported across the city and baked in Cambridge. And it survived just fine.

And Then the Filling...
Boil pomegranate juice in heavy large saucepan until reduced to scant 1 cup syrup, about 15 minutes. This too can be done ahead. Not to mention this syrup ends up being magic I plan on making regularly.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Spread room-temperature butter evenly over bottom and up sides of heavy medium ovenproof skillet (10 inches across top; 8 inches across bottom; 2 1/4 inches deep). Sprinkle sugar evenly over butter. Cook over medium heat without stirring until mixture bubbles all over, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stand apple quarters on 1 end around edge of skillet, leaning 1 cut edge against pan side and fitting snugly. Stand as many apples in center as will fit. Sprinkle apples with allspice and salt.

This picture is post pomegranate syrup, but I would like to point out how lovely and tightly packed my apples were. This lead to some boiling over onto the stove, as you can see.

Cook apples over medium-high heat without stirring until thick, deep-amber syrup bubbles up, adding any remaining apples as space permits (apples will shrink as they cook), about 20 minutes. This will not cause burning or sticking, as you may fear. Pour 1/4 cup pomegranate syrup over (mixture will bubble). Cook until juices thicken again, 4 to 5 minutes (syrup will be deep amber). Remove from heat.

Using spatula, press apples gently toward center, then down to compact. Slide crust over apples. Press crust down around apples at edge of skillet. Cut 4 slits in top for steam to escape.

Bake tart until crust is brown and juices at edge are thick and dark scarlet in color, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove skillet from oven; let stand 1 minute.

The bubbling over and spilling continued whilst my tarte tatin was in the oven. But the crust is a lovely golden brown.

I couldn't wait to see the lovely apple pattern when I finally flipped it. To do so, place a large plate over the skillet. Using oven mitts and holding plate and skillet firmly together, invert tart onto plate. Carefully lift off skillet. Return any apples to tart that may be stuck in skillet.

Apparently I fail. It looks like apple mush. At this point, I was hoping the lovely smells eminating from the kitchen were more indicative of how it would taste than the aesthetics. Let it cool at least 15 minutes. Serve Tarte Tatin warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream and drizzle of remaining pomegranate syrup.

Thankfully, it tasted wonderfully. Maybe the Goldens will/would hold up a little better. Maybe I over packed my tarte? Uncertain. What I do know is that vanilla ice cream drizzled in pomegranate syrup is now one of my most favorite desserts.

Btw, this is what it was supposed to look like:


vêtements déments said...

I'm attempting a mango caramel tarte at thanksgiving...the big flip has me nervous!! But I may just top it with loads of sour cream or ice cream to "adjust" the aesthetics :-p

tarah said...

Unfortunately, the flipping did little to hurt the aesthetics - though there was a moment when the plate slipped a bit and I was left calling for Matt's help to put it back in place.

Kiwi said...

Aww, thanks for mentioning me hehe! :)

Well, it looks tasty even if it doesn't look 'photo-pretty'. I definitely understand your worries on the crumbling - I had issues with that once too but I just used a thicker crust to help hold the apples in... and your apples were gorgeously cut and packed! The way I thought of it was, the bigger the apple chunks, the thicker the crust needed to hold it whereas if I cut smaller apples chunks then I could use a thinner crust. I actually usually ended up using less apples (or less big apple chunks) than usual recipes called for because I didn't want my crust to fall apart from the weight and it still was ok :) And the flipping... well it's definitely hard, but I just waited for it to cool a bit so the crust wasn't too soft and then did the 'pop plate over it then flip both together' thing to flip and hoped for the best hehe. :)

Man, I freaking love tarte tatin. With some creme fraiche it's so divine but I can never complain about the vanilla ice cream either :P hehe. Well if you ever wanna try my recipe it's somewhere on my blog in a post of its own, I think Deepa might have it somewhere. :)

The pomegranate one looks so good though! And with pomegranate syrup... mmmm....