French inspired pastries, traditional fats and caramel. I’m on trend with this idea. The Culinary group at Campbell’s Soup says so. This group, according to Food Business News, puts out an annual report of culinary trends – The Culinary TrendScape. It’s where they get their inspiration for product development.
They categorize these findings in different stages of development; e.g., Stage One to Stage Five. For example, this year (2016), Stage one items are in the early discovery stage – that’s where French-inspired dishes and pastries fell. Stage three, where an idea might be adopted, is where traditional fats lie. Of course, they meant things like lard or tallow (beef or mutton fat), but I’m interpreting that as butter for my purposes. And, when an item gets to Stage 5, that means it’s main stream – everybody knows what it is and it’s time to launch that type of product. Stage 5 items this year include Asian noodle soups and creative uses for caramel.
I know. I know. You’re saying – Campbell’s is going to incorporate creative uses for caramel into their soups? Well – the answer is simple – they own Pepperidge Farms, Bolthouse and Plum Organic, as well. I’ll keep these ideas in my back pocket for another time.
Back to Tarte Tatin. This tart came about because of a mistake in the kitchen. There were 2 French Sisters – Carolina and Stephine Tatin – who ran a hotel in the Loire Valley, France in 1888 called l’Hotel Tatin. Stephine, who handled the kitchen, placed her famous Apple Tart in the oven upside down one day. When she realized her mistake, she chose to serve it anyway – warm right from the oven. There is a lot of conflicting information on how this tart became famous, however, it eventually ended up on Maxim’s, Paris’ menu where it became world renowned. In France, it’s referred to as Tarte de demoiselles Tatin – The Tart of 2 unmarried women named Tatin. Nice.
There are many recipes for Tarte Tatin where each author has put their own little spin on things. But, basically this is an upside-down apple tart with caramelized apples and pastry. Some people use an iron skillet – others, like this one – uses a pie pan. Some sprinkle sugar in the pan before adding the apples. Others create a caramel and then add the apples – like this one. I’ve seen people use Applejack or apple cider – vanilla bean, etc. The crust is another component that has been everything from pie crust (aka Pate Brisee) to Puff Pastry. Whichever way you go, this tart is delicious.
And, what a great opportunity to learn to make Gluten Free Puff Pastry. You’ll find the recipe here. It’s going to take you some time to make puff pastry. Don’t think you’re going to run in and make this in an hour and move onto the Tarte Tatin. Plan to do it the day before.
But, you will truly want to master the technique for this amazing pastry. It is the gateway to so…many pastries – croissants – plain or with chocolate batons – mille feuille (Napoleons), palmiers, vol au vents, Gateau St. Honore and on and on.
And, this is one of those gluten free items that I’ve yet to find in the marketplace. Probably just a matter of time, but for now, if you want it, and I know you do, this is the way to get it.
Good news though. When you make Puff Pastry, use what you need and freeze the rest in manageable 8 ounce pieces. Now that’s convenience that you create for yourself. So, go on and give that a try and this amazing Tarte Tatin recipe will be waiting for you. xoxo
Pictures of the Process
You absolutely want to have everything in its place before you start. We call that mise en place. So, you’ll need to have your apples prepped, your pan greased and on top of a parchment-lined sheet pan, your puff pastry rolled out to a circle and in the refrigerator, your butter diced. All that and NOW you can start your sugar. You won’t need a thermometer for this. You just want it to be a beautiful amber color like in the picture.
Pour it immediately into the prepared pie pan and dot with the diced butter. Be careful not to touch the caramel. It’s hot.
Now it’s time to layer the apples – rounded side down – around the pan. Keep in mind that the bottom will be the top of the tart, so be careful with the placement of the apples.
Preheat your oven and remove the rolled puff pastry from the refrigerator. Place on top of the apples and tuck the pastry under.
Bake at 425F for 25 to 30 minutes to a golden brown.
Place a serving platter on top of the tart and using oven mitts, flip the tart onto the platter. Remove the pan using tongs. Serve warm with Honey Vanilla Mascarpone Cream (recipe below) or Vanilla Ice Cream.
And as they say in France, Bon Appetit!