Grimes Golden is an excellent all-around apple that is delicious fresh or cooked. It ripens mid to late season with a rich golden-green color, a faint blush, and a citrusy, clean fragrance. The cream colored flesh is fruity and mildly spicy. When baked, Grimes Golden perfectly holds its shape with the flesh becoming tender, caramelized and almost translucent. Traditionally, tarte Tartin was made with Calville Blanc d’Hiver Reine des Reinnettes apples. Other varieties that hold their shape when cooked, such as Golden Delicious, also work well.
Make the pastry dough (see pastry dough recipe) and chill until firm, about 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a tarte Tartin mold or a 10-inch enamel coated cast iron skillet with 2-inch sides, melt:
½ cup unsalted butter
When the butter is melted, sprinkle over:
1½ cups sugar
Cook until the sugar starts to turn golden, about 3–4 minutes. Stir gently and continue to cook until the sugar is caramel brown, about 8 minutes.
To prepare the apples, have ready:
10–12 Grimes Golden apples (Golden Delicious or Cox’s Orange Pippin)
Peel and halve the apples. Remove the stems and core with a paring knife. Nestle the apple halves upright in the caramelized sugar, packing them together as tightly as possible. Bake until the bottoms of the apples are soft and brown, about 15–20 minutes. Carefully turn the apples over and bake until most of the juice from the apples has evaporated, about 20 minutes. Cool to room temperature.
Roll out the pastry dough to be slightly larger than the pan containing the apples. Place the dough over the apples, tucking in the excess dough around the edges. Make several small holes in the dough to allowed steam to escape. Bake until the crust is nicely golden brown, about 15–20 minutes. Allow the tart to cool for 5 minutes.
Place a serving plate over the skillet and invert the tart onto the plate. Serve with ice cream or crème fraiche.
Makes two 9-inch pastry shells
In the bowl of a food processor, place:
1½ cups flour
½ cup pastry flour
½ teaspoon salt
Pulse to blend. Add:
¾ cup unsalted butter, chilled, diced
Pulse briefly, 3–4 times.
¼ cup vegetable shortening, chilled, diced
Then, with the machine running, add:
½ cup ice water
Stop the machine. Pulse briefly 2–3 more times. When pressed, the dough should barely hold together, with pea-sized lumps of butter visible. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured board. Press into a messy lump. Knead briefly, folding the dough back on itself. Divide the dough into two lumps. Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 2 hours before using.