Whether savory or sweet, the apple is an all-purpose workhorse. Muffins to pies, chutneys to candy, soups to nuts so they say, the apple can do it all. And, with so many new or revived varieties out there, there is certainly one for every palette. We still have our eye out for those gorgeous Instagram-able pink pearl apples, and are eating our fill of Honeycrisps! This recipe is a riff on mom's favorite dessert, and one of the first things we learned how to make in cooking school: the classic Tarte Tatin. Butter, sugar, and apples combine to create magic unlike any other. We put a little spin on it by adding in chai spices, as the warming notes of cardamon, ginger, cloves, cinnamon and black pepper marry with all that caramel goodness. Most everything happens in one pan, so don't let the caramel scare you off. It's well worth it! —Rebecca and Ruth
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour
- Makes 1 10-inch tart
- The Apples
butter, room temperature
ground ginger powder
freshly cracked black pepper
apples, peeled, cored and quartered
- Sweet Short Pastry
1 1/2 cups
cold butter, cubed
- In a 10-inch oven-safe sauté pan, press your room temperature butter into an even layer that covers the entire bottom of the pan. It should be about 1/8- to 1/4-inch thick and you should not see any of the bottom of the pan.
- Sprinkle your sugar all over the butter in an even layer, then do the same with all of your spices.
- Split the vanilla bean, and scrape all seeds onto the sugar. Also, place the whole bean in.
- To arrange the apples, start on the outside of the ring and with the curved side of the apple facing out, place apples slightly overlapping in rings working your way until you get to the center. You can push them gently into the butter to help then stay.
- Over medium heat, cook the apples and sugar. This will take about 30 minutes. Keep rotating the pan and gently pressing the apples down as they cook. You want the apples to soften and the sugar to turn a brown caramel. Adjust your heat if the caramel is cooking too quickly. You will know you are done when the apples are soft and caramel is less liquid and stickier.
- Remove from heat and let cool. (You can stop here and this, once cool, can be kept in fridge for up to 2 days.)
- For Short Pastry: Add the flour, sugar, and salt to the food processor. Pulse a few times to mix.
- Add the cubed butter and pulse until the dough is pea-sized.
- Add the egg and vanilla and pulse until dough comes together in a ball.
- Remove and shape into disc. Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator until ready to use, or for about 15 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Roll out your dough on a floured surface to about 1/4-inch thick, and then lay over the apples.
- Fold over edges so they sit within the pan. If you are doing this right after you cook the apples, be careful!
- Bake for about 30 minutes until dough is brown.
- Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Here, be very careful, as you need to invert the tart before it cools or the apples will stick to the pan. With a large, platter with a small lip, invert tart and rearrange any apples that have stuck to pan or dislodged.
- Remove the vanilla bean and serve with a big dollop of crème fraiche or whipped cream.