Tarte Tatin is one of the few desserts that the French serve warm. When I mean warm, I mean imagine a gooey combination of steaming, gooey, caramelized apples draping in a luscious mound atop a delectably thin, freshly-made, just-sweet-enough, buttery pastry crust. Yeah. That’s why they serve it warm.
I have never experienced a tarte tatin outside of France, and it is probably because (a) it takes a little more time than the average pie to prepare and (b) it really does have to be served right out of the oven. What’s more, imagine finding a GLUTEN-FREE tarte tatin. C’est impossible!!
This morning, I awoke to the craving to cook, a full bag of fresh apples that I had bought from the Union Square farmer’s market the night before, and a mood to get creative. I busted out my French cooking bible, Larousse’s Les Recettes de Famille, and knew it was time to dive in. Original recipe is in French, so for all of my anglophones out there, I not only converted the language, but the gluten-free factor. Morning ‘o experimentation!
Tarte Tatin is traditionally prepared with very simple ingredients: apples, flour, butter, eggs, and brown sugar. However, a good four out of those 5 ingredients are either mildly or terribly uncomfortable for Bubble Children to process. Whether it be due to the dairy, refined sugar, an egg allergy, or gluten in the flour. This is why I made the following Bubble Child revisions:
1. Wheat flour–> a combination of brown rice and GF oat flour
2. Butter–> for mild lactose sensitivities, use goat’s milk butter. For strong ones, use non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine sticks. (I prefer Earth Balance)
3. Refined sugar–> HONEY! (tastes better with apples, anyways, in my book)
4. Eggs–> while they add fat and flavor, the same binding properties in the crust can be achieved by Xantham Gum.
Now, onto the recipe!
For the pastry:
6 tbs. butter*
2 cups brown rice flour
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 tsp. xantham gum
1/2 tbs. cold water (if needed)
For the filling:
2 tbs. butter*
3 tsp. honey
1 tsp. pure vanilla**
4 apples, pealed, chopped
pinch of salt
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cook time: 45-50 minutes
Yields one 8” tarte tatin
1. Prepare the crust: in a large bowl, cut the butter into small morsels.
2. In a separate, small bowl, combine flours and xantham gum.
3. Slowly incorporate the flour into the large bowl with the butter using two knives. In a crossing cutting motion, combine the flour and butter until combined to look like little peas of butter coated in flour. Then knead with hands. If mixture is too dry to stick together, slowly add splashes of water until consistency is gooey enough to form a ball. Cover, and keep in fridge for 30 minutes.
4. Pre-heat oven to 400 degree Fahrenheit.
5. Prepare the filling: in a saucepan melt butter, honey, and vanilla over medium heat, stirring constantly, until you see small bubbles and it begins to caramelize, (about 3 minutes). Pour butter mixture over chopped apples, combine until coated.
6. Pour into a 8” glass or ceramic pie pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture to begins to caramelize.
7. Remove from oven, and remove the pastry from the fridge. Place in between two pieces of parchment paper and roll out using a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine in a pinch). :) Pastry should be no more than 1 cm thick.
8. Top baked apples with pastry, and cut to fit. Bake in oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 320 degrees, then cook for another 15 minutes.
9. Remove from heat and serve immediately. To serve: wiggle knife gently to loosen tarte from the pan’s edges,
and then top with a serving plate.
Flip over so it is now an “upside-down” cake, and voila!
*or non-dairy, non-hydrogenated margarine for Dairy Bubble Children
**make sure not to use imitation vanilla, as the flavor agents are derived from wheat
***make sure the ice cream does not have any artificial flavorings to avoid gluten. Non-dairy ice creams include rice, coconut, or soy varieties, for starters!