Picked these Empire apples myself in Hood River.
Second layer- just pile it on.
This is from the original French Tarte Tatin recipe, only with vegan butter. Don’t be daunted. This is just an apple pie without seasonings or a top crust, and the only scary part is flipping it over. But take my word for it, it is not that scary. You peel and cut some apples, melt the soy butter, dissolve the sugar, pack the apple slices in, add another layer of apples, then cover the skillet with your dough, bake it in the oven and flip. Easy. It’s so delicious and simple. You might think that just apples, butter and sugar would be bland, but its rich and delicious.
IMPORTANT: You need a small cast iron pan for this. It’s possible that another type of oven proof skillet would work, but I’ve never tried that myself.
Makes 6 servings
- 9 or 10 inch cast iron skillet or ovenproof pan
- baking sheet
- 1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry OR 2 rolled up pie crusts
- 8 Tbs earth balance
- 3/4 cup white sugar (brown sugar is fine to use if you don’t have white, or a combo of white and brown.)
- About 8 sweet firm apples peeled, cored and quartered
- If you like, you can add a few squeezes of lemon juice at the end before putting the dough on top.
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees – have your skillet and baking sheet ready
2. Thaw your dough, then roll it out and refrigerate it.
3. Put the skillet over medium heat and add the butter. When it melts, sprinkle the sugar over the butter until it dissolves. Remove from heat.
4. Fit a layer of apples into the skillet, putting the apples into the pan in tight circles. What’s important here is to pack in the apples — because they will shrink as they cook, you want to make sure they are snug in the pan.
5. When you’ve got a tight single layer, cut the remaining apple quarters in half and strew them over the first layer. This layer can be somewhat mounded, which will give the tart some height.
6. Put the pan over medium heat and cook — staying close by — until the sugar turns a deep caramel color. You’ll see it bubbling up the sides of the pan, but if you need a clearer view, you can gently push an apple aside. To get the color you want without burning the sugar, you may have to lower the heat after a while. Count on 15 minutes, more or less, to get the color. Transfer the skillet to the baking sheet.
7. Remove pie crusts or pastry from the fridge and place it over the top of the pan, covering the fruit, loosely tucking in any overhang.
If using two pie crusts, just put one on top of the other.
8. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the pastry is baked through and, if you used puff pastry, puffed.
9. Now it’s time to flip it over! Cover the skillet with the large, rimmed serving plate (or pie plate) and, acting quickly and confidently in one smooth flip motion, flip the tart out onto the platter and remove the pan. If any of the apples have stuck to the pan — it happens to the best of us — gently lift them off the pan with an icing spatula and press them gently back onto the tart.
10. Let cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.
The caramelized sugar is hot enough to be dangerous. Let the tart sit for at least 10 minutes before serving, preferably on a windowsill with a chilly breeze wafting in.