Makes one 10-inch tart
1 package Grand Central U-Bake Puff Pastry
2 to 3 pounds (4 to 6) tart, firm apples
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter
1/2 cup (3-3/4 ounces) packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (3-1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heavy whipping cream or vanilla ice cream
Preheat the oven to 400°F
Melt butter in a 10-inch cast iron or enameled skillet. (I use a Le Creuset enameled brasier, also called a wide French oven.) Add brown and granulated sugars. When sugar begins to melt and bubble together, remove the pan from the heat and add cinnamon and vanilla. Don’t worry if caramel begins to separate; it will come back together in the oven.
Set one apple aside. Peel and halve remaining apples or, if they are unusually large, quarter them. Place apples in caramel, rounded side down, packing as tightly as possible and filling in any gaping holes with apple chunks. Peel and thinly slice reserved apple. Shingle slices to create a layer covering larger apple pieces underneath.
Unroll puff pastry and cut a circle from dough that measures 12 to 13-inches in diameter. Return unused dough to freezer for future use. Cover apples with pastry, tucking edges down inside the pan. If you don’t plan to bake it immediately, refrigerate the tart for up to 3 hours, or freeze it.
Bake tart at 400°F for 20 minutes, and then reduce heat to 350°F . Continue to bake 30 to 40 more minutes. The crust should be a deep, rich brown before removing from the oven. Let the tart sit for about 5 minutes.
Use a round platter somewhat larger than the pan. Place it on top of the pan and in one swift, deliberate movement, invert the tart so that the crust is sitting on the platter and the beautifully caramelized apples are on top. Be extremely careful as you attempt this maneuver; a sugar burn is the worst kind. Serve with vanilla ice cream or lightly sweetened whipped cream flavored with vanilla.