The basic ingredients in this recipe blend together to produce a dessert which is luxuriously rustic. Somehow, this tarte helps us to bring closure to summer and move into the allure of autumn.
It’s something about the apples. After hanging on the tree all summer, basking in the sunshine and growing in size, flavor and sweetness, they are placed in a bath of caramel and baked down to the consistency of pudding. A lid of pastry holds in all of the flavor and juices. It’s the essence of summer, served up in a pan!
The results from the oven are most gratifying and nearly guaranteed, in our many years of baking this autumn favorite, we have never been disappointed. We like to keep it simple by using a store bought puff pastry dough. A dollop of thick, tart creme fraiche is a perfect contrast to the richness of the baked apples.
We first tried this less-sweet tart in the charming port town of Honfleur on the coast of Normandy, France. One taste of the tender, mahogany colored apples, tart cream, and toothsome crust, and we knew we needed to make this an annual habit.
The Norman region of France is home to apples (and therefore Calavados), rich cream, flavorful cheeses, caramels, salty air and splendid seafood. For a nice view of Honfleur in the blog French Essence click here.
The tarte is named for a pair of sisters who began making it for visitors and boarders to support themselves when their father passed. They lived in Lamotte-Beuvron, a small town in Normandy. Fortunately, visitors happily offered up a few francs to taste this delight over the years.
The Hotel Tatin still stands, just across from the train station, and people still come to enjoy this tarte, baked in a wood-fired oven.
Remove the caramel from the heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
Cut a small circle out of the center of the dough (about the size of a dime) and rest it on top of the apples. Any excess dough can be tucked in between the apples and the side of the pan.