The state cookie makes a mighty fine base for a generous layer of deeply caramelized apples. As you cut the apples, practice placing them in the skillet that you’ll use—that way you’ll cut just the right amount. (Since the apples will shrink a bit as they cook, it’s important to arrange them as tightly as possible.) Once baked, the tarte tatin keeps well for several hours.

For the Dough:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, lard, or shortening (or a combination)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons aniseed, lightly toasted
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour

For the Filling:

  • 8–10 Golden Delicious apples
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small piec

Serves 10–12

  1. To make the dough, combine the butter, sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl and cream together (with an electric mixer or a wooden spoon) until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, brandy, vanilla, and aniseed until well combined. Add the flour and mix until smooth.
  2. Gather the dough into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. To make the filling, peel, quarter, and core the apples. Place in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside.
  4. Place the sugar in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat. When the sugar begins to melt, stir with a wooden spoon until all the sugar is melted and begins to turn pale golden. (Don’t worry if there are a few lumps.)
  5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Arrange the apple pieces in the skillet, rounded side down, fitting them as close together as possible. Sprinkle the cinnamon and scatter the butter pieces over the apples.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375°.
  7. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook until the sugar turns a deep caramel color and the juices released from the apples have reduced a bit, 15–20 minutes. Remove from the heat.
  8. Lightly flour a work surface and a rolling pin. Roll the dough into a large round, about inch thick. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into a 13-inch circle. Carefully place the pastry over the apples in the skillet, tucking the dough in around the fruit. Bake until the crust is golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10–15 minutes.
  9. Run a small sharp knife around the edge of the skillet to loosen the tart. Place a large serving platter over the skillet. Using 2 kitchen towels or potholders, hold the platter and skillet together and invert the tart onto the platter. Don’t worry if any apples stick to the skillet; simply pop them back into place. Let the tart cool slightly before cutting into wedges. Serve with freshly whipped cream.

NOTE: Any leftover pastry can be baked into bizcochitos: Reroll the pastry scraps and, using a 2-inch cookie cutter, cut the pastry into rounds. Arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet, sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and bake at 375° until edges are golden brown, about 12 minutes.