We had some small tarte tatins for New Year’s Eve dessert and I took the opportunity to experiment with two kinds of apples available locally.
First, make some caramel sugar in the mini cast iron pans. Just put half a cup of sugar, a bit of water and place this over medium heat until it turns a nice light brown color. That’s what I did, but found I couldn’t tell just how far the sugar had burned, so you might want to do that in a lighter colored pan and transfer the sugar to the cast iron pans. I ended up with a very dark batch and a lighter batch.
Peel and half the apples, and take out the core. Toss peeled apples in sugar and some lemon juice. Arrange “tightly” on the pan with curved side of apples facing down. The apples will shrink so you need to fill in the gaps as well. On the leftmost pan are some fuji apples, the middle pan has granny smith apples and the pan on the right has a mixture of the two kinds of apples (read, using up leftover bits and bobs).
Meanwhile, take some store-bough puff pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw a bit. Use a pan to cut-out pastry that will fit nicely on top of the apples. Place over the apples in the pans and brush with egg wash if desired.
Put into a hot oven and bake until the puff pastry turns a light golden brown, roughly 35-40 minutes.
Make sure your cast iron pans are put on another baking sheet lined with foil, as the apples/caramel might bubble over and it’s a pain to clean up.
Turn the pans over carefully and pray all the apples come out nicely. If not, don’t fret, just pull them out carefully and re-assemble the tart. They look a bit drab at this point, so you can either take any remaining juice from the pans and brush them onto the apples or do as I did, melt down some apricot jam from the Sister stash and brush that on for a nice glaze.
It’s probably taboo to put chopped nuts on top of a tarte tatin, but I did it anyway. Some chopped macadamias gave it a bit of texture. But frankly, it wasn’t needed at all. These are the fuji apples with light caramel. It was superb.
These are the granny smiths with a dark caramel. The apples got too mushy and I wouldn’t use them again. But the dark caramel had more depth of flavor and was a little less sweet tasting. Both versions were served with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream for a nice finish to a New Year’s Eve meal.
Forget the version with two kinds of apples. Not a good idea and I didn’t even bother to take a photo.