This is my “diet” version of the classic tarte Tatin, an open-faced tart of caramelized apples on a very thin sheet of flaky pastry.
¾ cup (110 g) flour
¼ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp sugar
2 tbsp (30 g) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch (2-cm) cubes and chilled
3 tbsp (45 ml) ice-cold water
8 firm, tart baking apples
Juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp (15 g) butter
½ cup (120 g) packed dark brown sugar
Combine flour, salt and sugar in food processor or standing mixer. Add butter and mix until butter is in pea-sized chunks. Stir in water and mix just until dough holds together. Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. (Dough can be made up to 3 days before using.)
Quarter, peel and core apples. Toss in bowl with lemon juice and set aside. Melt butter in 10-inch (25-cm) cast-iron skillet. Stir in brown sugar and remove from heat. Arrange apple quarters in pan rounded side down, tightly packing them in overlapping concentric circles. (Really cram them in. They’ll cook down, so don’t worry.) Cook over medium heat 20-25 min. Do not move or stir apples while cooking, but gently press them down with a spatula as they soften.
While apples are cooking, preheat oven to 400°F (200°C). Roll dough on lightly floured surface into a 12-inch (30-cm) circle. Drape dough over apples, tucking in the edges, and bake tart on upper rack of oven until golden brown, 35-40 min.
Remove from oven and invert a baking sheet over tart. Carefully flip both skillet and baking sheet simultaneously. Lift off skillet, loosen any apples that may have stuck, and reunite them with the tart.
Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.
From the book The Sweet Life in Paris by David Lebovitz, published by Broadway Books, a division of Random House, Inc. Reprinted with permission.
Originally published in the September 2009 issue of France Today