Authentic Tarte Tatin is one of the many delicious French 'accidents' that has gone on to become a classic favorite. Our thanks go out to the sweetly scatterbrained Stephanie Tatin who, in 1898, botched a recipe for a proper apple tart and served the result to her guests at Hotel Tatin in Beuvron.
Start by making the pastry crust and, need I say it, use all organic, locally produced ingredients. Mix 1 cup wheat flour and 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar in mixer or food processor and add 6 tablespoons of real butter (lightly salted kind), one at a time, mixing well after each. Add 2 1/2 tablespoons of water. Make the dough come together in a soft ball and wrap and chill while you prep the apples and caramel sauce - about 20 minutes.
Now combine 1/2 cup sugar with 2 tablespoons butter in a skillet/pan (no plastic handles allowed - this is going into the oven soon) and cook while stirring over medium heat for about 10 minutes until almost chestnut colored and nicely smooth and caramelized but not burned. Remove from heat but keep stirring for a few more minutes until the pan begins to cool. Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F) and let the caramel mixture cool in the pan while you peel, core and slice your apples (4-8 depending on size) into wedges.
Finally, arrange apple wedges in any pattern that pleases you on top of the caramel sauce in the pan, roll out the pastry and drape it over the apples, tucking in the edges, and bake for about 45 minutes in the oven. The crust should be golden brown and the juices should be bubbling at the edges. Let it stand for 5 minutes or so before inverting it onto a pretty platter and then serve warm with soft-whipped cream that you've spiked with a dash of vanilla, sugar and maybe even a squirt of good single malt...bon appétit!