This is the perfect tart for showcasing the colors and flavors of the fall season. The fruit caramelizes in a simple syrup of butter, sugar, and apple cider, making the apples and pears fork-tender over layers of flaky puff pastry.
Note: For the puff pastry, you may choose to make your own dough, or purchase it from your grocer's freezer. If using frozen dough, be sure to defrost it for three hours in the fridge before using.
- 14 ounces (about 1 package) puff pastry dough, cold (see note)
- Flour, for dusting
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (about 4 ounces) granulated sugar
- 30 ounces peeled and cored apples and or pears, cut in half down the axis (about 10 medium)
- 6 tablespoons apple cider
- 1 pinch of salt
On a bench dusted with flour, roll out the puff pastry until it is just shy of 1/4 inch thick and completely covers the circumference of the 12-inch skillet that you will use for baking the tart tatin, ensuring that there is at least 1 inch of overhang all around the edge of the pan. Place the sheet of puff pastry on a parchment lined sheet tray in the fridge to relax for 30 minutes or more.
Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the frying pan over medium heat. Melt the butter in the pan, tilting it to evenly coat the bottom. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter and tilt the pan to evenly disperse the sugar. When the sugar just begins to melt and brown slightly, place the fruit in the pan. Saute the fruit on each side for two minutes, taking care not to dent the fruit on the round side that will face up in the final tart. The fruit should only be slightly cooked. Add the cider to deglaze the pan and position the fruit around the pan, packed tightly together, with the cut side facing up. Remove the pan from heat. Cover the top of the apples with the chilled pastry and tuck all of the overhanging dough down along the inside of the pan, so it creates a crust around the apples. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes at 400°F, then reduce the temperature to 350°F and bake until the crust is a deep golden brown and very firm to the touch with the juices bubbling vigorously beneath the crust, about 20 minutes longer. Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to sit for one minute.
Using oven mitts or kitchen towels, place an inverted plate of greater size than the pan over the top of the tart. Grasp the plate and hold it firmly against the pan. Working swiftly, invert the pan so that the plate is on the bottom and the tart is flipped with the fruit on top. Remove the pan and take caution, the juices from the fruit will be very hot. Allow them to drip out of the pan and onto the tart. Allow the tart to cool for 10 minutes before serving warm, or place in the oven for 5 minutes before serving.
12 inch oven-safe skillet (cast iron is ideal)