La Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin

Upside-Down Apple Tart

Although I have always had a joy in cooking and baking, nothing measures up to digging into a good cook book.  I can read an entire cook book or magazine front to back with as much excitement in the final recipe as I had reading the index.  Now, this eventually becomes a problem.  The number of recipes contained in our cook book shelf most definitely outnumbers the time I have to create each masterpiece.

After having a year of French class, my interest in French cooking and culture is even greater.  Julia Child has always been an idol of mine,  and I find her Mastering the Art of French Cooking to be more fascinating now than ever.  I love flipping open to a page and reading the recipe titles in French, while trying to decipher what it actually entails.  Every recipe I have made from Julia’s book has turned out extraordinary, yet I am still a novice.

I was feeling ambitious, so I decided to attempt a French dessert:  La Tarte des Demoiselles Tatin.  This apple tart has layers of buttery apples with sugar and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  It is topped with a piece of sweet pastry, baked, and flipped out for a caramelized and golden finish.  It is apple tart perfection.  The pastry turns golden and flaky, since it is baked on top.  The apples underneath slowly morph into a mass, rather than individual slices, held together by a thick syrup dotted with cinnamon.

First, we start out by making the pastry.

Normally, I would just scoop the flour into a measuring cup and pour it in.  But, Julia was very particular about her baking, so I measured the flour the right way.  First, by scooping it into the cup.

Then, using a knife to level off the top.

And finally, sifting the flour into white fluffiness.

Add in some granulated sugar and a pinch of salt.

Throw it in the food processor with the chilled butter.  Or as it says in the book, “5 1/2 tbsp fat.”

Pulse in the water until a thick dough forms around the blade.

Then wrap it up and chill the dough while you prepare the apples.

The recipe called for 4 pounds of golden delicious apples.  Well, I had 3 single apples.  Which of course, were green.  But, desperate times call for desperate measures.  And I really wanted some tart!

Peel, core, and slice the apples very thinly.  Toss with the cinnamon and sugar and begin to layer them in a baking dish.

Continue the apple-butter-sugar layers and top with the rolled-out pastry, cut into a circle that fits the top of your dish.

Then, just pop it in the preheated oven!  I have to say, the French did keep their tarts pretty simple.  After that, you can attack the pile of dishes that stacked up near your sink.  Yay!

Once it comes out of the oven, you have to immediately flip it over onto a serving dish.

I was worried that once flipped, the apples would fall out all over the place and make a complete disaster.  But, it was actually pretty easy.  The tart was thin enough that the apples stayed in place.

My tart was significantly smaller than what the recipe would usually make, since I had less apples.  So in the end, I only got about six slices, all of which were perfect little triangles.

Here is a link for the full recipe–where you can upload and print the full version, only slightly tweaked from Julia Child’s original recipe.  Enjoy, and bon appetit!

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