The Tatin sisters had a restaurant in the French village of Lamotte-Beuvron at the turn of the 20th century. The story goes that they made an error while baking a traditional apple tart, when the pastry was omitted from the bottom of the tart pan. Not to be deterred, the sisters added the pastry as an afterthought on top of the fruit and, voila, tarte Tatin.
Makes 8 servings
Sour Cream Pastry
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chilled unsalted butter, cut in pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup unsalted butter, divided into 4 pieces, room temperature
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
5 to 6 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, quartered top to bottom
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
Combine flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl of a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Mix well. Add butter and mix at medium-low speed until butter is size of peas, 2 to 3 minutes. Add sour cream and mix until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball, flatten and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours. (Can be made one day ahead. Refrigerate until use.) Let soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Arrange butter over bottom of large oven-proof skillet (preferably cast iron). Sprinkle 1 cup sugar over butter. Place skillet over medium-low heat and cook until butter melts, sugar begins to dissolve and mixture starts to bubble, about 3 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Arrange apples, core side up, around edge of skillet, placing tightly together. Place remaining apples in a circle in center of skillet. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
Set skillet over medium-high heat. Boil until a thick amber-colored syrup forms, occasionally turning skillet to ensure even cooking, about 30 minutes. While apples cook, fill in gaps with additional apple quarters. Remove skillet from heat.
While apples are cooking on stove, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Roll out pastry on floured surface or parchment paper to a round shape to fit size of skillet.
Place dough over apple mixture once removed from stove, pressing dough down around the apples at edge of skillet. Cut 4 slits in top of pastry. Brush pastry with some of the egg glaze.
Bake tart until pastry is golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and cool 1 minute.
Cut around edge of skillet to loosen pastry. Place large platter over skillet. Using oven mitts, hold skillet and platter together tightly and invert tart onto platter. Cool at least 30 minutes.
Cut in wedges and serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.