Illustrations by Matthew Brennan, photo by CIA/Keith FerrisIn our ongoing video series Chef Lou Jones, from The Culinary Institute of America, demonstrates how to make classic tartes Tatin from the Loire Valley in France.
In these videos, The Culinary Institute of America's Associate Dean of Restaurant Education, Chef Lou Jones, shows us how to make individual tartes Tatin from the Loire Valley of France.
This upside-down apple pie (the pastry is on the top) is named for two sisters, the demoiselles Tatin, who ran a hotel in the Loire Valley from the 1850s until 1907. Legend has it that the younger sister, Caroline, was making an apple pie and forgot to put the pastry into the pan before the filling, so she put it on top. While the accuracy of that story is hardly certain (many say that French women had been making this sort of reverse tart for years), the sisters certainly made it famous. As Anne Willan explains in The Country Cooking of France, the demoiselles were left without any money when their father died. "Luckily they lived just opposite the new railroad station at Lamotte-Beuvron, a small town south of Orléans," writes Willan. "So they took in travelers and baked the crusty dark apple tart their father had loved so much. Fortune smiled, and the Hotel Tatin is there to this day, still serving a remarkable tart baked in a wood-fired oven and topped with chunks of lightly singed caramelized apple."
Whether you are making a traditional full-sized tart or individual tartes, the principles demonstrated in our video are the same. Foremost is choosing good apples -- we recommend something firm and flavorful, such as the heirloom Cox orange pippin that Chef Jones mentions (Visit www.orangepippin.com to learn more about these apples and where they can be found all over the world.) Other good choices are Stayman and Braeburn. A dollop of crème fraîche is the traditional accompaniment for tartes Tatin, but they are also delicious on their own or with whipped cream or ice cream.
See our apple visual guide
View a Loire Valley travel guide from our sister site Concierge.com
Megan O. Steintrager is a senior editor at Epicurious.com. She has worked as a writer and editor at Epicurious since the late '90s. Steintrager holds a master's in journalism from New York University with a concentration in Cultural Reporting and Criticism, and has taken numerous cooking classes at New York 's Institute for Culinary Education and the Natural Gourmet Institute for Food and Health. She has worked as a writer and editor for ConsumerReports.org, Restaurant Business magazine, and Spin.com, and has been published in Self, Brides, and Time Out New York, among other print and online publications.
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