The Ultimate Tarte Tatin
Royal Gala apples are sold in some supermarkets. I prefer the Ontario-grown variety. Try Barraca das Frutas, 186 Augusta Ave., and some other grocery stores in Kensington Market; also the St. Lawrence Market. Northern Spy and Mutsu apples also work well. Serve tart soon after baking, preferably still warm, with crème fraiche, vanilla ice cream or sweetened plain yogurt. If making pastry by hand, use a wire pastry blender to cut butter into flour in bowl.
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 tsp granulated sugar
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut in pieces
¼ cup ice-cold water
About 7 medium (3 lb/1.5 kg) tart, firm apples, peeled, cored, quartered
Juice of half a lemon
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
For pastry, add flour, salt, sugar and butter to food processor. Process, pulsing about 6 times, until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Transfer to bowl; add water and stir with fork until combined. Shape dough into ball with hands. Cover in plastic wrap; chill 1 hour or until needed.
About 1 hour before baking, roll dough into circle about 11 inches in diameter; transfer to round baking pan or flat metal disc (the bottom of a quiche pan works well), crimp edges and pierce all over with fork. Chill.
Meanwhile, for Apple Layer, in large bowl, toss apples with lemon juice. Preheat oven to 400F.
Smear butter evenly in heavy-bottomed, 10-inch/25 cm non-stick skillet that’s at least 2 inches deep. Sprinkle evenly with sugar. Arrange apple quarters on their sides on sugar in concentric circles, wedging together tightly. You will have a few quarters left; place on top of first layer. Cook, uncovered, over medium-low heat about 45 minutes or until syrup thickens and turns a rich, toffee brown. (Mixture should bubble steadily but not vigorously during caramelization. If syrup threatens to bubble over, remove some with bulb turkey baster. Be careful not to burn caramel by cooking too long or over too high a heat.) Remove skillet from heat; let stand about 10 min.
Carefully slide chilled dough on top of apples in skillet. Place skillet on cookie sheet to catch drips. Bake in oven about 30 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven; let stand 10 min. Place large plate (preferably with lip around edge) over skillet; invert.
Makes 8 to 10 servings.