July / Aug 2015
From Jennifer Norfolk
You’ll need 1 cast-iron or other non-stick, oven-proof skillet, about 7”- 8” diameter across the bottom and 10”- 11” across the top.
puff pastry or a regular single-crust butter pie pastry
6 - 8 medium-sized Granny Smith or other crisp, tangy apple, peeled
8 T. unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
Cut the puff pastry into a circle with a diameter the size of your pan about halfway between the top and bottom. Set aside on waxed paper.
Position an oven rack in the upper third and preheat the oven to 375°F. Peel and core the apples, then quarter them lengthwise. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the bottom. Arrange a ring of apple quarters against the side of the pan, standing them on the thin edge of the cut side to fit in as many pieces as possile. Fill in the centre of the skillet with the remaining quarters – any leftovers can tide you over until the tarte comes out of the oven!
Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, pushing the apples around a bit so they maintain their positions in the low boil of the syrup, until the butter/sugar mixture turns from a butterscotchy colour to deep amber, about 15 minutes. The colour tells the tale.
Remove the pan from the heat and, using a fork, flip the apples onto their uncooked sides. Return the skillet to medium heat and boil the apples and syrup for about 5 minutes more. The syrup should have thickened a bit.
Remove the pan from the heat, let the syrup settle to barely bubbling, then slide on the prepared dough circle. Tuck the edges of the dough against the skillet and around the apples, but don’t burn your fingers! Cut a few slits in the top of the pastry and bake for 25-35 minutes, until golden brown.
Remove and let cool on a rack for about 20 minutes, then gently run a thin knife around the sides and invert the tarte onto a serving plate that can take the heat. Any apples that have stuck to the skillet or moved out of alignment can be returned to their proper place. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream, crème fraîche or whipped cream. Serves 6.