This month's recipe contest was a celebration of the king of autumn fruits, the apple. California isn't as famous for its apples as our neighbors to the north are, but we do grow some gorgeous varieties here. And this time of year is the perfect season for finding these red, pink and green pommes at your local farmers' market.
Chef Ernest Miller of the Hollywood Farmer's Kitchen whipped up the finalists, and as usual we had two favorites. This fun take on a traditional French tarte tatin was our runner-up.
This version is free-form and, rather than made with a crust, it's topped with a crumble, making it a sort of French-American hybrid. It's very sweet, so we've been pairing it with plain yogurt for breakfast.
If you'd like to cut down the sweetness of the dish (the better to pair it with, say, vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce), instructions for reducing the sugar and water are included in bold in the recipe below.
Many thanks to Ben Mandelker of West Hollywood for submitting this recipe!
Apple Tarte Tatin Crumble
For the Apples:
1 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup water (or 2 tbsp)
1/2 lemon, juiced
dash of vanilla extract
1 stick butter, cut into pats
6 apples (tart green apples are highly preferable) peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
For the Crumble:
1.5 cups brown sugar (or 3/4 cups)
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Place sugar, water, lemon juice, and vanilla extract into a 12 inch oven-proof skillet and heat on high. Bring to a boil.
After about 5 minutes, the sugar will caramelize. Swirl the pan until the mixture becomes a dark amber. Remove from the heat and add the butter, a little at a time, until it's all combined.
Place apple wedges in caramel and cook for 20 minutes over medium heat.
Meanwhile, combine all the ingredients for the crumble in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles peas or dirt.
When the apples are done, pour the topping over the pan, using a spatula (because the caramel will be hot!). Place the pan into the oven and cook for 30-40 minutes until it looks dark and done.
Remove pan from oven. Let cool 10-15 minutes. Either spoon the crisp into a serving dish, or try your luck by inverting the pan on a flat surface and letting the crisp gently fall out.