A Moroccan Thanksgiving Part III: Tarte Tatin with Apples, Raisins, and Rose Water

Note: This is the third part in a series on my Moroccan-inspired Thanksgiving meal. Part I: Moroccan salads is here, and Part II: Tagine of Beef Short Ribs, Apples, and Prunes, is here. All recipes in this series is from The Food of Morocco by Paula Wolfert!

What a surprising take on the typical apple pie! Not only does this inverted tart with its glazed fruit look impressive, the addition of raisins and rose water is so interesting. I had never cooked with flower water before, and it adds such a great depth of flavor and aroma. I honestly avoid sweets if I can help it, but as I took photos of my first tarte tatin, I couldn’t help but sneak a bite. And that quickly turned into another…and another…and another, until the slice was gone. Fear not, there was an entire tarte for only 4 people, so I proceeded to have two more slices in succession. And I claim I don’t really get into sweets. Although a few of the apples got slightly burnt in the pan, it was minor and still incredible. I mean incredible. Props to Paula Wolfert for this recipe…

Tarte Tatin with Apples, Raisins, and Rose Water

Serves 6-8…unless you need seconds and thirds!

  • 1/2 cup dark raisins
  • 1/4 cup rose water or orange flower water (I used rose water)
  • 8 tbl (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup unrefined sugar
  • 10 Golden Delicious apples, or the best comparable that are available locally
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • One 8-ounce frozen puff pastry
  • Creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream

  • Soak the raisins in the rose water until ready to use.
  • Slowly melt the butter in a 12-inch shallow straight-sided ovenproof skillet or tarte Tatin pan, preferably flameware. (I used a 10 1/2 inch cast iron pan, which worked well, but only fit about 8 apples.) Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the melted butter and cook on low heat for 5 minutes, without letting the sugar darken. Remove from the heat and let the butter cool until solidified.
  • Meanwhile, peel, halve, and core the apples; use a soft pastry brush to paint lemon juice on each half to prevent browning. Trim the stem end of each half and carefully arrange 12 of the apple halves cut side up in a slightly overlapping circle around the edge on top of the solid butter-sugar base, all facing in the same direction. Place the remaining halves in the center to fill in the empty spaces.
  • Set the skillet over low heat, then slowly raise it to medium, and cook until the juices from the apples, along with the butter and sugar, being to bubble and turn a dark yellowish-brown, about 40 minutes. If the rings on your burner are small, move the skillet around every 10 minutes or so to ensure even cooking. When finished, remove the skillet from the heat and let stand until cool. The dish can be prepared early in the day up to this point. Cover gently and let stand in a cool place without disturbing the apples.

  • About 2 hours before serving, set the skillet over medium-low heat and continue cooking the apples until the juices are caramel-brown, about 45 minutes. (If you’re using organic, unrefined sugar, you’ll want to watch it carefully, as the sugar is already dark, and therefore it’s more difficult to tell if it’s approaching burning.) You do not need to baste the apples; they will cook in the steam. Once or twice during cooking, gently shake the skillet to check that the apples aren’t sticking. Remove the pan from the heat and use a flat spatula to gently press down on the apples, in one direction, so they fill in any empty spaces.
  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • Drain the raisins. Scatter them evenly over the apples.
  • Roll out the pastry to a 13- to 14-inch circle (or smaller if using a smaller skillet) and place on top of the apples. Carefully push the edges of the pastry down inside the skillet. Bake for 40 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  • Remove the tart from the oven and let it settle for a few minutes. Place a large round/rimmed platter over the tart, then quickly and carefully invert the tart onto the platter. Gently tap on the bottom of the pan to loosen any apples that may have stuck. If any apples still stick to the pan, loosen with a thin spatula and set them back onto the tart. Wait for 10 or 20 minutes, then serve warm with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

In case you missed the rest of the meal, the four Moroccan salads are here and the tagine of beef short ribs, apples, and prunes, is here. YUM YUM!

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