If you're looking for an easy and elegant dessert to utilize the latest and greatest from the fall market, consider the tarte tatin. This classic French pastry embodies the gorgeous colors and flavors of the season, all caramelized to perfection under the cover of a flaky puff pastry crust. With just a few simple ingredients (some butter, some sugar, and just a splash of cider) and a little time, tart apples and pears become tender, complex, and caramelized. They're infinitely delicious, and just too pretty to keep under cover.
Ambitious bakers may find satisfaction in making their own puff pastry for a tarte tatin, but for those who would rather not spend an afternoon turning and folding, there are other strong options available from your grocer's freezer (for the best taste, don't accept anything less than all-butter). When selecting apples and pears, stick with the varieties that hold their shape when baked. The Northern Spy, Pippin, Gala, Cortland, and Fuji varieties are my favorites for apples; and slightly unripe Seckel, Bartlett, Anjou, or Bosc pears will all hold up well when baked. This simple and delicious dessert will definitely have you welcoming sweater weather.