Fig Tarte Tatin
Servings: 8 servings
All-purpose flour, as needed
14 ounces (397g) frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons (43g) unsalted butter
½ vanilla bean, seeds scraped (optional)
½ cup (99g) light brown sugar
Pinch of ground cinnamon (optional)
½ teaspoon (2g) fine sea salt
About 15 medium (about 567g) figs, halved
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 400°F. Have ready a 12-inch oven-safe skillet, preferably cast iron. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry until it’s about 1½ inches wider than the skillet. Dock the dough all over with a fork. Using the rolling pin, gently transfer the dough by wrapping it around the pin and unfurling it onto the prepared baking sheet. Chill the dough while you work on the figs.
3. Melt the butter in the skillet over medium heat. If using the vanilla bean, rub the seeds into the sugar with your fingertips. Stir in the cinnamon, if using, and the salt. Sprinkle the sugar mixture evenly into the pan and let it melt for 15 to 30 seconds. Stir to help dissolve the sugar, then continue to cook without stirring until the mixture begins to caramelize, about 5 minutes. You can swirl the pan occasionally to keep the heat distributed and the mixture browning evenly, but avoid stirring it.
4. When the mixture has caramelized, swirl to evenly coat the whole base of the pan. Turn off the heat and carefully arrange the figs in an even layer. Be sure to pack them in as tightly as possible—they will shrink as they cook and you don’t want too many gaps between the fruit after baking.
5. Gently drape the pastry over the fruit, folding in a little around the edge to encase the figs. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the pastry is very golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes.
6. Invert the skillet onto a serving platter or cutting board to unmold the tarte tatin. Cool for 5 minutes more before serving.