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Food historians have been arguing about the origin of tarte Tatins almost since its origination. To The Yankee Chef, it is quite clear. At the Hotel Tatin in France, two sisters by the names of Stephanie and Caroline Tatin were both cooks and were in charge of the desserts on a daily basis. One day Stephanie was making an apple dessert and had forgotten about the apples she had been cooking in butter on the stovetop. Thinking she shouldn't waste them, she quickly added a rolled-out pastry dough on top of the apples and stuck the skillet in the oven, hoping to be able to at least create a caramelized apple pastry. When she removed the skillet from the oven and turned it out onto a plate, she was surprised that it wasn't burnt at all and that everything came out perfectly. Ever since that day, this upside-down tarte has been a best seller at the hotel, and with global appeal.

Because of their popularity, many chefs and historians have argued that these upside-down treats were made many years beforehand, with M.A. Careme even giving a version of this recipe in his 'Patissier Royal Parisien,' 1841. Regardless, Careme's recipe is far different and more complex, therefore let's let the little guy (or gal) win one, shall we?

Individual peach tarte Tatins 

The best way to invert these individual desserts is by holding a serving plate tightly on top and flipping both the plate and the ramekin together, ever so carefully. Serves four.

  • 1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 1 frozen sheet butter puff pastry, thawed
  • 2 small very firm peaches, pitted, peeled and halved
  • 1 teaspoon minced peach peel (for color)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves, optional

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Brush the inside of 4 ramekins with melted butter liberally. Using the bottom of a ramekin, cut out 4 circular shapes from the pastry, set on a plate, cover and refrigerate until needed. Transfer each cut half of the peach and place into each ramekin, cut side up. In a small bowl, mix together the sugars, peach peel and ground cloves and evenly distribute it among the 4 peaches. Sprinkle each with equal an amount of melted butter on each along with vanilla and lemon juice. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until caramel starts to darken. 

Remove from oven, reduce heat to 350 degrees F and top each with a pastry round. Return to oven and bake 5-6 minutes or until pastry is light brown and crisp. 

Remove from oven, let cool 2 minutes and invert them onto serving plates carefully. Serve with whipped topping.

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