If you’re feeling French, here’s a recipe for tarte Tatin.
If you’re feeling Minnesotan (or just not French) consider this apple upside-down pie.
If you’re feeling hungry, make it now.
Apple harvests inspire some of the best desserts, but this one is better than most, partly because the visual payoff is grand, and comes from a few simple techniques.
Lore says the invention was a mistake made in a French restaurant at the Hotel Tatin in the 1880s (run by the sisters Tatin). Maybe, maybe not.
What’s certain is that tart Tatin is a celebration of straightforward apple flavor. No cinnamon or nutmeg, no vanilla or walnuts.
OK, there is butter and sugar, which bubble together to become a caramel sauce in which apple halves are nestled.
And there’s a puff pastry that comes together in 10 minutes — although you can also just leapfrog the labor and buy your favorite pre-made pastry in the grocery store.
In so doing, you also can exert your personal preference. Turns out there are two camps regarding tarte Tatin pastry: Some call for a firm pastry crust as in an apple pie. Others prefer the more shattering crust of a puff pastry.
We split the difference, taking a favorite recipe for quick puff pastry, but cutting the butter in half. The result is a little firmer than classic puff pastry, but flakier than a classic pie crust.
Now, to be honest, there is one trick to this upside-down dessert, and that’s carefully flipping it from the saucepan in which it bakes onto a serving plate. A firm grip and smiling confidence will help accomplish this minor culinary feat.
The result is a harvest moon of pastry filled with glistening apple halves.
Whether you proclaim it tres bien or darned good is up to you.