I had a couple of apples plus a lemon from the last Boston Organics delivery, so when I found a box of puff pastry in my freezer that I had forgotten about, I immediately thought of trying to make a tarte tatin. I never took French, so I have no idea how to pronounce that, but it sure sounded good: apples caramelized in butter and sugar, then topped with puff pastry and finished in the oven.
I remembered Molly (of Orangette fame) had included a recipe for tarte tatin in her book, A Homemade Life, so I pretty much followed that version. It wasn't until I went to copy and paste her version on-line that I realized the book version of the recipe didn't exactly mention that the puff pastry was supposed to be "1/2 inch wider all around than the skillet". And you can see why below; the pastry shrinks as it bakes. But I don't think it really matters all that much once you flip it over. I also changed it up a bit by cutting the apples into sixteenths instead of quarters since I only had 4 apples. And instead of placing them rounded side down, I made a spiral patter with the slices on their sides.
makes 8 servings
4 large apples, (I used Fuji)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
About 14 ounces puff pastry
Peel and core the apples and cut each into 16 slices. Toss the apple slices in a large bowl with the lemon juice and ½ cup of the sugar. Set aside for 30 minutes.
Cook the apples over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes, occasionally spooning the bubbling caramel liquid over them. Press them down gently with the back of a spoon — don’t worry if they shift a bit in the liquid; just move them back to where they were — and watch to make sure that no one area of the pan is bubbling more than another. Shift the pan as necessary so that the apples cook evenly. They are ready when the liquid in the pan has turned to a thick, amber ooze. The apples should still be slightly firm. Do not allow them to get entirely soft or the liquid to turn dark brown. Remove the pan from the heat.