Growing up in France, Chef Payard never celebrated Thanksgiving, but they always made Tarte Tatin for family get togethers. This was his dad’s recipe and now in the states, he always makes it to bring to Thanksgiving dinners.
2?3 cup (134 grams) sugar
1 tablespoon (14 grams) unsalted butter
4 medium (680 grams) Granny Smith apples
1 sheet (1?2 of a 171?4-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange four 3 × 2-inch-high aluminum foil or metal molds on a baking sheet.
2. Combine the sugar with 3 tablespoons (44 grams) water in a
medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Wash down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Boil without stirring until the caramel reaches a golden amber color. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter (stand back as the caramel will bubble up and may splatter).
3. Divide the hot caramel among the molds (there should be about 1?4 inch of caramel on the bottom of each mold). Allow the caramel to cool to room temperature.
4. Peel and core the apples. Slice off the bottom of each apple so that it stands upright. Cut each apple into 10 wedges, keeping the apple slices together. “Reassemble” the slices of 1 apple in each mold, with the bottom of the apple against the caramel. Bake the apples for 55 minutes, or until they are soft but not mushy. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set the apples aside while you bake the pastry.
5. Increase the oven temperature to 400°F. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry sheet out to a 1?8-inch thickness. Using a biscuit cutter, cut out four 31?4-inch rounds from the puff pastry. Place the rounds on a parchment-lined baking sheet and prick them well with a fork. Bake the rounds for 12 to 15 minutes, until puffed and golden brown. Set aside in warm place. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
6. Push the apples down a bit in the molds. Reheat the apples for about 8 minutes, until the caramel is liquid and bubbling. Place a baked pastry round on top of each apple. To unmold the tarts, slip a potholder under one of the molds, place an inverted dessert plate over the pastry round, and immediately invert the tart onto the dessert plate, being careful to avoid getting the hot caramel on your hands. Repeat with the remaining tarts.
This is best served right out of the oven, hot on the outsideand the apples just warm on the inside. If you must make it the night before, the puff pastry will suffer. Rewarm it for six or seven minutes before serving, and some of its flakiness will be restored. Serve this with rum raisin or Vanilla Ice Cream.