Published January 1, 1996.
The trick to perfect caramelization is standing apple quarters on edge.
When this French dessert-- basically an apple tart in which the apples are caramelized and the tart is served upside-down--first came to this country, all sorts of different recipes for it appeared. Some were based on traditional French formulas, but others were highly Americanized. The latter, generally speaking, simply did not work.
A tart that taste like caramelized apples, not like apples coated with caramel or, worse, an unidentifiable caramel glop. And it should look great, too.
The first step in making of tarte Tatin takes place on the stove, not in the oven. Arrange apple quarters in concentric circles in the skillet on their cut side so you can fit more fruit, and flip the apples over as they caramelize. Prepare the caramel right in the skillet with the apples so the flavors meld and the apples are boiled in the buttery caramel sauce until they absorb the syrup and become virtually candied. Cover the syrup soaked apples with an egg pastry, using confectioners' sugar rather than granulated sugar, which can make the dough grainy. After baking, flip the tart over, revealing concentric circles of apples glazed with golden caramel.list of recipes