Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. Apple pie. The staple desserts of the American holiday table are undoubtedly delicious. But if you’d like to try something a little more adventurous this year, look no further. Traditional French tarte Tatin turns the tables on apple pie by using a pastry crust instead of pie crust and baking the whole thing upside down before daringly turning things over again and serving. In this case, we’ve modernized the recipe by salting the caramel.
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Salted Caramel Upside-Down Apple Tart
- 9 Granny Smith or other firm-fleshed baking apples
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated or powdered nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan, at room temperature
- 3/4 teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 round prepared puff pastry dough, 9 to 10 inches diameter
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
Prepare a 9- to 10-inch glass or ceramic pie dish that is at least 2 to 3 inches deep by smearing the insides thickly with butter.
Peel, core and quarter the apples, then slice 1/8-inch thick. Put the apple slices in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1/3 cup of the sugar and the nutmeg, and toss. Set aside.
Heat the oven to 375 F and set a rack in the bottom third of the oven. Sprinkle 1/4 cup sugar over the butter, sprinkle the salt over this, then arrange a third of the apples over the bottom of the prepared dish. Pop the 6 tablespoons butter in the microwave to melt it, then drizzle 2 tablespoons melted butter over the apples. Arrange another third of the apples in the dish, drizzle over 2 more tablespoons butter, then repeat with a final layer of apples and butter. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the top.
Place the pastry dough round over the apples, gently tucking the edges into the dish. Pierce the dough with a paring knife to let steam escape. Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake in the lower third of the oven until the caramel bubbling up the edges of the tart is a rich brown color, 45–60 minutes. If the crust is in danger of browning, cover it with foil.
Remove the tart from the oven and immediately unmold onto a flameproof serving dish by inverting the serving dish over the pie dish, gripping both dishes with potholders, and flipping them both over together. Lift off the pie dish, freeing and replacing any apples that stick to the bottom. If the apples look too pale, slide the tart under the broiler for a few minutes to lightly caramelize the top.
Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.
Look for more delicious holiday pie recipes in the December 2017 issue of Live Happy magazine.
Sarah Putman Clegg is a veteran cookbook editor and writer who lives in Northern California.