- 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon Maldon sea salt
- 8 tablespoons cold sweet butter, cut into small pieces
- 6 tablespoons cold Crisco
Whiz together flour and salt in the work bowl of a food processor. Add butter and Crisco and pulse until the mixture resembles a coarse oatmeal. Transfer to a mixing bowl and add enough ice water that when dough is gently worked with hands it just comes together. Divide dough in half and shape into two discs. Wrap both in waxed paper. Refrigerate one for two hours and freeze second for later use. When ready to use, let dough warm up slightly - rolling dough straight from fridge leads to cracking and irritable dough syndrome.
For the apples
- 4 tablespoons sweet butter, room temperature
- 2/3 cups sugar
- 7 large Gala apples
Heat oven to 425. Mush softened butter around on the bottom and sides of a 9 inch Tarte Tatin pan or cast iron skillet. Add sugar and swirl around to coat. Quarter, core and peel apples and arrange in rondel like configuration. Start from the outside and overlap apples, working your way inward. Set pan over high heat and cook, adeptly rotating pan to assure even heat, until sugar, butter and apple juices have melted together and made a brown caramel. It should smell divine. Remove from heat.
Roll out pastry between sheets of waxed paper, lightly floured, to a circle approximately 12 inches in diameter. While still connected to one waxed paper sheet, center pastry over apples and peel away paper and then tuck in excess pastry to neatly swaddle fruit. Place Tarte Tatin in oven, set a baking sheet, lined with foil, on lowest rack to catch inevitable sugary drips, and bake about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and bake until juices are bubbling up and apples have softened, about another 25 minutes. The pastry should be golden brown. Remove from oven and let stand about 30 minutes before praying in French and inverting Tarte Tatin onto serving platter. Be careful - caramel is hot. Stand over kitchen sink to catch drips.