Monday, November 24, 2008

Tarte Tatin

This week's theme apparently is caramel. We had some apples, we had some pie crust, we had a favorite book: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World. But we also had an appetite for something new. I flipped through the cookbook and came to Tarte Tatin. It is a caramel apple tart made upside down in a cast iron skillet. We had such fun with caramel making the pinot noir syrup the other day. And I am deeply in love with my cast iron skillet.

The peeler-corer-slicer is a beloved gadget in our household, but the slices it makes are too thin for the tarte tatin. I used some pliers and turned it into simple peeler.

Clem, Greta and friend, Sasha, peeled 4 apples.

I cored and sliced them into 8ths.

Next we melted 2 Tablespoons butter, added 6 Tbs sugar. Unlike the pure melted sugar which was clear, the butter caramel was opaque, just the color of a caramel apple. When it had lightly browned we took it off the heat, and Clem and I began putting in the apples right on top of the caramel in the pan. They sizzled and began to cook right away.

Then we pressed a Trader Joe's pie crust over it, tucking the edges down and around the apples.

Into the 400 degree oven.

Twenty minutes later I took it out and flipped it over with help from Sasha's mom. I had a bit of trepidation that the caramel would drip out and burn us.
It came out incredibly beautiful and delicious. Hard to believe it was so simple. We made another one the next day. Here is the one from the next day. We ate the first one so fast I didn't have time to take photos.

I asked the kids to describe it using all 5 senses. This is a favorite writing assignment. Once, on vacation, we kept 5 senses journals and everyone wrote a description of the day that included all 5 senses.

Evelyn wrote this on one vacation a few years ago.
I felt the sand between my toes on the beach. I saw a turtle swimming below me. I can't smell anything because my nose is stuffed up, but I wish I could smell the pastries from the french bakery. I heard Greta throwing up in the car. I tasted my cinnamon gelato.

So I asked Evelyn to quickly write a 5 senses response to the tarte tatin and email it to me. She was put out because she is working furiously on her Nanowrimo novel. This is what I got (she laughingly told me that she had used a lot of similes):

It tastes like apple pie, it smells like apple pie, it feels like apple pie, its steaming sounds like steaming apple pie, it looks like apple pie, and it is as hot as apple pie straight out of the oven. O.K.? Evelyn Who Should Be Writing Her Story.

Ok. I guess she has outgrown my writing assignments.

Here is some of what Clem had to say.

It was sour and sweet and crispy and beautiful with a pattern like a star with apples and caramel to make a smell which was like a caramel apple. It crunched when I bit down on the crust. As it sat in the pan it looked like a nebula because it whirled from the bubbling below.


Barbara said...

I love that five senses idea. I'm always looking for ideas to encourage Maggie to write, and this seems like something she would like.

Stefaneener said...

Ev cracks me up.

It looks yummy and delicious. We'll have to try it - what recipe did you use?

Stefaneener said...

Never mind. I'm an idiot. Off to the kitchen I go to recreate yours -- I may make my own crust, though. Could I use frozen puff pastry, you think?

patricia said...

Ha! Evelyn's response is great. Reminds me of Homeschooling Rule #1, which I so often forget: never assign a project to your kids when they are learning the same thing fabulously on their own.

That tarte looks delectable. I think I'm finally getting hungry again, after Thanksgiving.

AM said...

With-draw-al ...