Parisian love affair
Falling for tarte tatin
An apple tarte tatin wedge can be served with a dollop of thick ivory creme fraiche. (Kirk McKoy/Los Angeles Times)
3 tablespoons ice water, more if needed
6 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup sugar
8 to 10 Golden Delicious or similar apples (5 pounds), peeled, cored, halved
1. For the pate brisee, combine the flour and salt in a bowl; cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender until the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle over the ice water, a tablespoon at a time, fluffing with a fork, until the dough sticks together when you try to form a ball. Form into a flat disk; cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate, 30 minutes.
2. For the tarte tatin, mix the butter into the sugar in a copper tarte tatin pan or cast-iron skillet with your fingers. Spread it out in an even layer. Starting at the outside, place the apple halves standing up in the butter-sugar mixture, each fitting into the next as if they were spooning. Fit as many halves as you can into the center. Don't worry that the apples are taller than the pan; they'll shrink down as they cook.
3. Place the pan or skillet over high heat; cook until the butter-sugar mixture bubbles up between the apples and turns a medium amber, 15-25 minutes. As the bottom of the apples soften, press down with a wooden spoon or spatula.
4. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Remove pan from the heat; set aside to cool slightly.
5. Roll out the pastry on a floured surface to about 12 inches in diameter. Carefully place on top of the apples, trimming so there is a 1-inch border. Tuck the border in around the apples.
6. Bake on the middle rack until the pastry is set and browned, 35-40 minutes. Cool in the pan. Just before serving, warm the tart on the stove top. Place a serving plate on top; invert the tart onto the plate. Serve in wedges with a creme fraiche.
Per serving: 374 calories, 18 g fat, 11 g saturated fat, 46 mg cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 2 g protein, 20 mg sodium, 4 g fiber.