- 6 to 8 golden delicious apples, peeled, cored and halved
- 1 lemon juiced
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 8 ounces Homemade Puff Pastry, recipe follows, or 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
In a large bowl toss the apple halves with the lemon juice and set aside.
Melt the butter in a 9 or 10-inch skillet over high heat. Add the sugar and cook until the sugar melts and then caramelizes to an amber color, swirling the skillet if necessary for even browning. (Do not stir or sugar may crystallize.) Remove the skillet from the heat.
Arrange a tight layer of apples, rounded sides down, over the caramel. Cut the remaining apple halves in half so that you now have apple quarters. Arrange these over the apple halves, cut sides down, arranging apples neatly. Cover the skillet and return the skillet to the heat. Cook over medium-low heat until the apples are almost tender and have released their juices, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium and cook until the juices have reduced and are very thick and syrupy, about 15 minutes.
Transfer the dough to the counter top and allow to sit at room temperature until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to a 12-inch diameter round about 3/16-inch thick.
Place the dough atop the hot apples and tuck the edges into the skillet, carefully folding or pushing the overhang down tightly around the apples. Cut several slits in the dough to allow steam to escape while baking.
Bake until the tart crust is golden, about 20 minutes. Remove tart from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen tart, then place a large plate or platter over the skillet. Using oven mitts, CAREFULLY grasp platter and skillet and invert, letting tart settle onto the platter and giving skillet a quick tap if necessary. Carefully lift off the skillet and place any apples remaining in skillet on top of the tart. Cool slightly and serve warm, with whipped cream or ice cream, if desired.
Homemade Puff Pastry:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, about 12 ounces
2/3 cup cake flour, about 2 ounces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter (3 1/4 sticks)
1 cup ice water, plus more as needed
Sift together the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Dice 6 tablespoons of the chilled butter, returning the remaining butter to the refrigerator to keep cold. Place the diced butter into the mixing bowl and using your fingers or a pastry blender, blend until the mixture forms a coarse meal, similar to a piecrust. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the water. Use a rubber spatula to gradually blend the water with the flour mixture, mixing just until a rough, sticky dough is formed. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Place the remaining butter on a work surface, (a marble surface is ideal). Using a rolling pin or the heal of your hand, smash the butter into the surface until pliable, taking care not to over work the butter as it should stay chilled. Work butter into a 5-inch square.
Remove the rested dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll out dough into a 12-inch circle, being careful not to pull or tear the dough. (The dough mixture may still be very rough and tacky.) Place the butter square into the center of the circle and fold the edges of the dough over the butter, pressing to seal the edges. You should now have a square of butter wrapped in dough.
Using a rolling pin, roll the square into a 16-by-8-inch rectangle. (The dough may need to be pounded with the rolling pin several times to allow the butter to become more pliable.) Be careful not to tear the dough. Fold the rectangle 3 times as you would fold a business letter. Place the rectangle in front of you lengthwise and roll into another 16 by 8-inch rectangle. Fold again 3 times as you would a business letter and make 2 small indentations into the dough to remind yourself that it has been rolled twice. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour.
Return the rested dough to a lightly floured surface and repeat the process of rolling the dough into a rectangle, making 3 business-letter folds, 2 times. Make 4 small indentations into the dough to remind yourself that it has been rolled a total of 4 times. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. If desired, dough can rest refrigerated for up to 2 days at this point.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a lightly floured work surface. Roll into a 16 by 8-inch rectangle and fold 3 times, similar to a business letter. Repeat process and make 6 small indentations into the dough. Wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours. Now the pastry is ready to be rolled and used in the desired puff pastry recipe.
Yield: about 2 1/2 pounds