In this recipe excerpted from Apples of Uncommon Character, 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little Known Wonders (Bloomsbury, September 2014), Rowan Jacobsen writes that Calville Blanc apples raison d'etre is 'Tarte Tatin'.
This is my kind of apple pie: no rolling, no fussing, no pastry making, and shockingly few dishes to clean up afterward. I always find the bottom crust on apple pie disappointingly mushy anyway, so eliminating it seems like an inspired solution. The trade-off is that when you serve it, it doesn’t hold together so well, but who cares; it isn’t going to last that long anyway. Essentially, this is a tarte Tatin that you don’t flip (so you don’t have to be too worried about what your apple slices look like underneath)—although you can flip it if you want. A lot of tarte Tatin recipes call for puff pastry, but I find that the pastry gets too soggy and condensed once flipped; with this one, the pastry stays high and puffy and crisp and crackly. Named in honor of the Belgian boy reporter who
was forever getting flipped when he didn’t want to be.
Makes 8 servings
With so few ingredients, the apples really need to carry this.
Tarte Tatin is Calville Blanc’s whole raison d’être, but any firm, tart apple will do, and a mix is even better.
GoldRush is fantastic, as are Esopus Spitzenberg, Rhode Island Greening, Roxbury Russet,
Newtown Pippin, Winesap, Mutsu, and Granny Smith.
8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
1 cup sugar
6–8 large apples, cored, halved, and sliced
1 14-ounce package puff pastry
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Melt the butter in a 9- or 10-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. Add the sugar and cook, stirring regularly, until the caramel turns golden, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the apples and cook, stirring frequently, until they have absorbed the caramel and everything has turned dark amber, 8 to 10 minutes. Turn off the heat.
4. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry and nestle it over the apples in the cast-iron skillet, tucking it down around the sides if possible.
5. Bake about 25 minutes, until the top has turned brown and puffy. Let cool completely, so the insides can gel, before serving.
(* Recipe excerpted from Apples of Uncommon Character, 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics, and Little Known Wonders - Bloomsbury, September 2014- by Rowan Jacobsen with photographs by Clare Barboza)