I've been trying to imagine how someone who has never heard the name "Tarte Tatin" would go about pronouncing it if he or she saw it written somewhere.
Let's say you're American. Would it be pronounced tar-tee tay-tin? I sometimes feel like going into a restaurant and ordering one with that pronunciation, just to watch the surrounding reactions. Acting funny (if the word stupid is coming to mind, trust me, you're on the wrong path here...maybe) in restaurants is a family thing, I guess. My dad and I have a long-standing tradition of getting a gyro on Saturdays for lunch, and they ask you for your name at the counter. Let's just say that my dad has been a great number of actors and politicians throughout the years for the gyros staff. Oh, and did I mention they call out your name so you can go pick up your order? I must be a weird kid, because I'm twenty three and it still makes me laugh.
If you're not the type to laugh at embarrassing situations in public, you've got two solutions regarding tarte tatin. Actually, three: the first would be never to have tarte tatin in your whole life (and you'd be missing out). The second would be to know that tarte tatin is pronounced "tart tah-tan", or pretty close to that. The third way to go would be to make your own, so you never have to say it out loud. And, you can eat as much as you want. As you can guess, I like the third option.
So what is tarte tatin, exactly? Apples are baked in a skillet with a lot of delicious salted butter caramel, covered with a thick sheet of puff pastry, and placed in the oven to become golden and delicious. That's pretty much all you need to know. And for those of you cringing at the thought of making your own puff pastry, store-bought is fine as long as it's thick enough (otherwise, use two sheets) and made with real butter. For those living in France, the best way to go if you're in a hurry is probably to convince your baker to sell you a block.
And for the record, hearing "apple pie" pronounced by a non-English speaker is pretty nice too. I've heard "a-pell pee"...something worth trying on my next trip to the US.
serves 6 to 8
10 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and halved
7 TB salted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c. + 2 TB sugar
1 thick sheet puff pastry (thawed if buying frozen)
Heat an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle sugar into skillet and let it melt until you have an amber-colored caramel, stirring as needed. Add butter and whisk well until melted and homogenous. Remove from heat.
Arrange apple halves in skillet so that they stack up against one another like falling dominos. Cook over medium-high heat until apples are soft, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Preheat oven to 350°F / 180°C. Cut a thick sheet of puff pastry (or stack two sheets if using a thin version) the size of the skillet. Cover apples and "tuck" the edges of the puff pastry in.
Bake 30 minutes or until puff pastry is nice and golden. Let cool in skillet before inverting onto a plate.
Can be served warm or cool, with cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.