Last week, in between bouts of bronchial nasty, I strove to finish my ode to B.T. McElrath and Black Dinah Chocolatiers. In fact, the last few paragraphs were typed as I lay sprawled across a small rug near a heating vent, nearly unable to lift my head to peruse the scenery out of doors. I was illin’, and I spent the next four days doing very little but chewing down Echinacea pills like they were going out of style, gulping orange juice as fast as I could pour it (which was slow), and reading three and a half books from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.
But there was a twinkle in my sickly eye. Remember those Black Dinah truffles with a smooth rose-cardamom caramel softly enveloping a whole pistachio? I most definitely remember them. And, although I was sick, I fiercely wanted to recreate those taste sensations in some kind of baked good.
This week, all semi-healed up and ready to bake, that twinkle begat a glimmer, which begat a candle, which begat a beacon, and that beacon hath emblazoned upon me the desire to make an Apple Tarte Tatin, with Cardamon and Pistachios thrown in for good measure.
It’s a simple concept. Sweet meets salty, with a nice helping of butter in between.
The cardamom goes mostly undetected, but adds depth to the apples. The salty pistachios take center stage underneath their so-sweet topping, and add extra oomph to a salty pie crust that I previously thought could not be made more delicious.
This is the perfect tarte to eat, perhaps with a cup of tea, as you let your thoughts drift to sowing vegetable seeds and planting perennials come spring, all the while staring out your window, musing at the foot – or more – of snow that fell over the weekend.
Apple Tarte Tatin with Cardamon and Pistachios
3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp ice-cold water
1 tbsp ground salted pistachios
3 apples (I used Braeburns)
6 tbsp salted butter
1/2 c + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom
Making the Crust
In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add small pieces of frozen unsalted butter and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Add in cold water slowly until mixture makes a ball or near-ball in the food processor. Add pistachios, and pulse until mixed. Note: I added my pistachios last so that they would remain in larger pieces. Add them with the flour if you wish them to be well-incorporated.
Roll out on a lightly-floured surface until disc of dough is the size necessary to fit into the pan you will cook your apples in. Chill in fridge on a sheet pan.
Making the Tarte
Heat oven to 375 F.
Get out your heaviest pan – for me, this is a cast-iron skillet. This recipe makes a small tarte tatin, so the smaller the pan the better. However, if the pan isn’t heavy enough, the caramel will burn quickly [this I learned the difficult way].
Peel and core the apples. Lovely rustic tartes often leave the apples in quarters, but I chose to cut mine up into smaller pieces. Do as you wish.
Melt the salted butter in the heavy pan your choosing, and then add sugar. Remove pan from heat and spread butter mixture evenly over the pan’s bottom surface. Arrange the apples in an artful manner, reserving a few (if desired) for later. Sprinkle half of the cardamom over the apples.
Return to heat, which should now be turned on high. Yes, high. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until a medium caramel color appears. Remove from heat, and flip apples. If there are gaps due to apple shrinkage, add additional slices where needed. Sprinkle remaining cardamom over apples. Return to heat and cook five minutes more.
Take crust from fridge and place over apples, tucking dough around the sides of the apples if possible. Place in preheated oven and cook for around 25 minutes until crust turns a light golden brown.
Remove pan from oven, quickly run a knife or spatula around the edge/bottom of the tarte, and flip onto a serving plate.
Serve warm, and enjoy.