A glorious sweet appley French treat! Everyone likes good old fashioned apple pie but an apple Tarte Tatin is the grown up version – good enough for any dinner party. It’s easy too and offers you the chance to show off a bit.
Legend has it that the Tarte Tatin was first created in the 1880s by accident at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, about 100 miles South of Paris. The hotel was run by two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. It is said that Stéphanie was overworked one day, when she started to make a traditional apple pie but left the apples cooking in butter and sugar for too long. On smelling the burning, she tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base over the apples and finishing the cooking by putting the whole pan in the oven. She turned out the upside down tart and was surprised to find how much the hotel guests appreciated the dessert. However, the concept of the ‘upside down tart’ was not a new one; patissier M.A. Carême mentions glazed gâteaux renversées adorned with apples from Rouen in his Patissier Royal Parisien (1841).
I prefer to use shortcrust pastry for a Tart Tatin but you can risk puff if you eat it quick, before the juices make it soggy! Choose eating apples rather than cookers as they will hold their shape. Russets are good!
The method is variable but here is what I tend to do…
Melt a large blob of margarine in a pan and add some soft brown sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved. Then add the peeled and halved apples, arranged round side down. Cook gently for 10 mins with a lid on then 5 mins or so on a higher heat uncovered. Cover with a medium/thick layer of pastry tucked down the sides then transfer to the oven. Cook on a low heat (around 150°) for 50 mins until the pastry is golden brown. Allow to cool for 5 mins, then place a plate over the pan and carefully, using oven gloves, invert and your tart should drop on to the plate. Best served warm with soya cream or ice cream.
Apple Tart Tatin made by Marc October 2012.