Chef Gordon Hamersley of Hamersley’s Bistro
– Boston, MA
Adapted by StarChefs.com
Cooking at Home
by Gordon Hamersley (Broadway Books)
When I make this classic, upside down French
tart, I want to be sure that it's rich with deep brown caramel.
That's why I brown the sugar first, before the apples even get
into the pan. I also don't turn the apples as you often see directed
for this recipe. I generally use a cast-iron pan to make this
dish, but you can find specialized tarte Tatin pans. Serve with
whipped cream, sweetened crème fraîche, or vanilla ice cream.
Hamersley's Bistro Tart Dough:
- 1½ cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
- 4 to 5 Tablespoons ice water
- 5 to 6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg, beaten
For Hamersley’s Bistro Tart Dough:
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour and the salt. Quickly cut
the butter into the flour, using a pastry blender or your fingers,
until the butter pieces are the size of large peas. (Alternatively,
cut the butter into the flour by pulsing it 8 to 10 times in a
food processor, being careful not to overheat or to overmix the
Dump the mixture out onto a clean surface and make a well in
the center of the flour. Pour the ice water into the well. Using
just your fingertips and working quickly, combine the flour mixture
and the water. Work just until the water is absorbed. The dough
will be ragged but should hold together when you squeeze it. If
it seems dry, sprinkle in a few more drops of water.
Form the dough into a log shape about 8 inches long, parallel
to the edge of your work surface. With the heel of your hand,
push down and away from you all along the line of dough. With
a pastry scraper, gather up the dough, shape it back into a log,
and repeat the smearing action. This technique, known as fraisage,
will form sheets of butter in the dough, creating a light crust
almost like puff pastry.
With the pastry scraper, gather the dough up into a ball; it
is fine if the dough does not come together completely at this
time. Wrap the dough well in plastic wrap, flatten it a bit, and
let it rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before
rolling. The dough will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
You can also freeze the dough, well wrapped; allow it to defrost
for 1 day in the refrigerator before using it.
For Apple Tarte Tatin:
On a lightly floured surface, roll the rested dough into a 12-
to 13-inch circle. Trim rough edges, if necessary, to maintain
a round shape. Transfer the dough to a sheet pan, cover with plastic
wrap, and refrigerate.
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Toss the apples with the cinnamon and ¼ cup of the sugar.
In a 10-inch cast-iron pan or other heavy-based, ovenproof skillet,
heat the remaining ¾ cup sugar over medium-high heat, stirring
to remove lumps, until the sugar has turned a dark amber. (Check
for color by drizzling some onto a white plate.) Add the butter
and stir it into the caramel until melted and homogenous; be careful
as the butter will make the caramel sputter.
Remove the pan from the heat. Beginning on the outside of the
pan, carefully set the apple quarters in the caramel, arranging
them in a circle so that they all face the same way. Set them
very close to one another, trying to get as many as possible into
the pan. Fill in the center of the pan with as many remaining
apples as will fit. Put the pan back on the heat and allow the
apples to cook on top of the stove for about 5 minutes. Remove
the pan from the heat. Place the cold pie dough over the apples,
tucking the edges into the sides of the pan. Work carefully so
as not to burn your fingers but also quickly so as not to melt
the dough. Brush the dough with the beaten egg and immediately
put the pan in the oven.
Bake for 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 375°F and bake
until the crust is nicely browned and the caramel is bubbling
around the edges of the pan, another 15 minutes. Carefully remove
the tart from the oven and cool it on a rack for about 20 minutes.
Invert the tart onto a serving platter. If any apples stick to
the underside of the pan, simply return them to their rightful
spot on the tart.
Apple Tarte Tatin is best served right away, but it can stand
at room temperature and be reheated briefly in the oven. Serve
with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.