Apple Tarte Tatin

1 sheet all-butter puff pastry, thawed but still cold

7 apples (I used Granny Smith and Fuji)

1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter

1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 374 degrees F.  Place a cookie sheet in the oven too.

Peel, core and quarter the apples.  You might be tempted to cut the apple pieces smaller that quarters.  Don't.  The apples will cook down considerable when cooked so you'll want to keep the pieces nice and big. Set aside.  If the apples brown just a bit while they're waiting to be baked... that's totally fine.

Melt butter in a 10-inch, heavy bottom... heavy all over... cast iron skillet.  Remove butter from the heat and whisk in the sugar.  The mixture will be thick.  Just spread it evenly over the bottom of the cast iron.

Arrange the apple quarters in the pan by stacking the pieces in a circle along the outside of the pan and working you way in.  Pack the apples in tight as they will cook down when they're cooked on the stovetop.  Save any extra apple quarters to add to the tart as it cooks on the stove and more room frees up.

Return the pan to the stovetop and cook over medium high heat for 10 minutes.  Be sure to keep the flame at medium high, letting the sugar boil and caramelize.  The high heat will help the sugar caramelize and the apples cook at the correct rate.  A lower heat will break down the apples before caramelizing the sugar.  I know it's scary... but medium high is the way to go.

While apples are cooking, remove and unfold puff pastry.  On a lightly floured surface, gently roll out puff pastry, extending it about 1/2 to 1-inch on all sides.  This won't require a lot of rolling at all.  Find a dinner plate about the size of the 10-inch cast iron skillet.  Place the dinner plate on top of the puff pastry to use as a measuring guide to cut out a circle.  Cut the pastry about 1/2-inch bigger than the plate.  The extra dough you'll just tuck into the cast iron.  Place the puff pastry in the fridge until the apples are done cooking.

Check apples after 10 minutes.  The caramel should be close.  Add any extra apple quarters if you find you have room. Let apples and caramel cook for another 5 minutes.  Keeping an eye on the caramel color.  There is no need to stir or otherwise disturb the caramel or apples... just watch.

After 15-18 minutes on the stovetop, remove the pan from heat.  Careful... this will be hot and heavy.

Carefully place the puff pastry over the hot apples, tucking into the edges of the puff pastry.  Don't worry if it's not smooth and perfect... it'll bake up just fine.  Place the cast iron on top of the hot cookie sheet in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes, until the pastry is puffed and golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes.

Run a knife along the edges of the cast iron to make sure that none of the puff pastry edges are sticking to the pan.  Place a large plate on top of the cast iron and, using two giant pot holders, invert the plate and pan.  You should hear or feel a little drop as the tart falls onto the place.  Life the cast iron and you should have a gorgeous tarte tatin.

If any apple slices stuck to the cast iron, just remove them with a fork and place them right back in the tart.

Perfect!  This tart is best served warm but keeps for a day at room temperature.