I mentioned last week that I had made an apple tart tatin that was, shall we say, less than perfect. The ice cream I served it with, however, was to die for.
I had never made an apple tart tatin before – usually I opt for a rustic apple tart when I have to use up a bunch of apples. A tart tatin is an upside-down tart – apples and sugar are placed in a baking dish, covered with a pastry crust, and baked. The sugar forms a lovely caramel that bakes around the apples, making for a spectacular presentation when the tart is turned out.
Sounds lovely, right? But I wanted something just a little more challenging than a simple baked dessert. So I found this recipe for apple tart on Smitten Kitchen that required more than mere baking – it has you boil the apples in caramel for a good 20 minutes before placing in an oven with a pastry crust to bake. It sounded dangerous, daring, challenging – what could tempt fate more than cooking apples in boiling caramel?
But the execution was, shall we say, a tad challenging. The recipe suggests to cook this in a cast iron pan, which I don’t own, opting instead for a sturdy Calphalon model that my mother gave me when I was in college. Perhaps it wasn’t thick enough, perhaps I cooked this on too high of heat, but the caramel burnt both times that I attempted this recipe. It all looked so promising – the caramel looked thick and golden, the apples softened and smelled delicious . . . until it became really, really brown and the smoke alarm went off.
The first time I made this, everything got burnt – the caramel became a little too brown, the apples turned black on the bottom – it was a lost cause. The second time I made this, the caramel turned just a little too brown, and only a few of the apples were burnt – a definite improvement. I served it at my dinner party for the Tuna Noodle Casserole, and my friends were . . . well, some of them ate it. Some of them thought it was too burnt for consumption, including me.
Still, I would definitely try this recipe again. After all, I still have a good 10 pounds of apples to dispose of – so what’s another pound or two? And I got so close the last time, I could almost imagine what the tart tatin would be like were it perfectly executed.
Speaking of which, would anyone like to come over for dinner soon? There’s no way I can eat an entire apple tart tatin by myself.
Get the recipe over at Smitten Kitchen.