la tarte des demoiselles tatin

from julia child

After I made a quiche crust too shallow, instead of throwing it out and making a better one (well, we did do the latter), Mom and I instead put it to good use in this modified apple tart. Below is the original recipe from Julia Child; we halved it and made it in a shallow quiche dish, with none of this upside-down business. Covered it with aluminum foil while it was baking, took it out 5 minutes from the end and poured on more sugar, and a liberal dash of brandy.

    4 lbs. crisp cooking or eating apples
    1/3 C granulated sugar
    1 t cinnamon
    2 T softened butter
    1/2 C granulated sugar
    6 T melted butter

Quarter, core, and peel the apples. Cut into lengthwise slices 1/8 inch thick. Toss in a bowl with the 1/3 C sugar and cinnamon. You should have about 10 C of apples.

Butter the baking dish heavily, especially on the bottom. [We just used a partially-baked quiche crust.] Sprinkle half the sugar in the bottom of the dish and arrange a third of the apples over it. Sprinkle with a third of the melted butter. Repeat with a layer of half the remaining apples and butter, and then a final layer of apples and butter. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the apples.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll out the pastry to a thickness of 1/8 inch. Cut it into a circle the size of the top of the baking dish. Place it over the apples, allowing its edges to fall against the inside edge of the dish. Cut 4 or 5 holes about 1/8 inch long in the top of the pastry to allow cooking steam to escape. [Ignore if you did it with the crust on the bottom -- or at least we did; if you don't ignore this, ignore our aluminum foil suggestion.]

Bake in lower third of preheated over for 45 to 60 minutes [about 30 minutes, if using our version with the already partially-baked crust -- if you do this, broil for the last 5 minutes or so]. If pastry begins to brown too much, cover lightly with aluminum foil. Tart is done when you tilt the dish and see that a thick brown syrup rather than a light liquid exudes from the apples between the crust and the edge of the dish [or when the apples are soft].

Immediately unmold the tart onto serving dish. If the apples are not a light caramel brown [ours weren't], which is often the case [good, we're not stupid, then], sprinkle rather heavily with powdered sugar and run under a moderately hot broiler for several minutes to caramelize the surface lightly [we ingored the powdered sugar, and poured brandy on with a heavy hand. Don't make it too liquid, but get it nice and alcoholic -- caramelize this, Julia!!]

Keep warm until serving time, and accompany with a bowl of cream. [My, aren't we decadent! --or just whipped cream, or plain.]

- Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Julia Child et al., Alfred A. Knopf, 1961