Please Pass the Recipe

from one generation to the next

Apple Tarte Tatin

Autumn is apple season in New Zealand. M loves apple desserts so it was no surprise when he ordered Apple Tarte Tatin during our recent holiday. The first was very disappointing, so when it appeared on another menu he tried again, and then again. Not once but three times in three different locations he was served a tart with soggy pastry and blond apple. Frankly, I found them inedible.

I forgave the first misdemeanour but became enraged by the second. The third tart, served in a high profile Wellington establishment prompted me to write this post. It was as if the pastry cook had never seen or tasted this classic French dessert. What was presented could not even been classified as an interpretation, it was appalling!

Strong caramel flavour is the integral part of many desserts, Tarte Tatin is dependent on it. Pushing the caramelisation of sugar to a point beyond golden strikes fear into even the most experienced cook because if you stop too soon no flavour develops, go too far and the sugar will burn and become unpalatably bitter. Making a successful Tarte Tatin takes courage

Choose apples which hold their shape when cooked, such as Golden Delicious. As they cook on the stovetop in the sugar and butter the juices will flow. It’s essential that all the moisture has evaporated from the pan and the sugar is deeply caramelised before the pastry lid is added. You want the pastry to bake, not steam.

Make your own sour cream shortcrust or use good quality commercial butter puff pastry for the tart base. Both will work equally well.

The secret to this French classic is all in the cooking of the apple and the making of the caramel. Pay close attention, get these steps right and you will have a sublime dessert of dark caramelised apple on a crisp pastry base. Once you have mastered the technique, it will become a dessert you can pull together with minimum effort.

An ovenproof saute pan, preferably cast iron is all the equipment you need, the size dependant on the number of people you intend to serve. My 18cm Le Creuset pan made a tart to serve three. Allow a small apple per person then for every apple use 15g of butter, 30g of sugar and 1 teaspoon lemon juice. The size of the Apple Tarte Tatin you make is infinitely flexible.

Apple Tarte Tatin

3 golden delicious apples

45g unsalted butter

90g castor sugar

3 teaspoons (15mls) lemon juice.

1/2 batch sour cream shortcrust OR 1 sheet commercial butter puff pastry

method:

Preheat the oven to 220C.

Roll the pastry 3mm thick and cut to fit the top of your chosen pan. Chill until ready to use.

Peel, core and halve the apples.

Put the sugar, butter and lemon juice the shallow saute pan with an ovenproof handle.

Over a medium heat melt the butter sugar and lemon juice. Once it begins to foam arrange the apples, cut side down in the pan. They won’t easily fit initially, but as the apple cooks they will shrink.

Cover the pan and cook over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

Remove the lid, fill any gaps that appear with thick slices of apple so the base of the pan is well covered then continue cooking until all the moisture has evaporated and the sugar is well caramelised, a further 10-15 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and allow the bubbles to subside.

Lay the pastry over the apple and push down firmly.

Use a sharp knife to create a few steam holes in the pastry then place in the hot oven 220C for 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to 200C and bake for a further 5 minutes or until the pastry is golden and firm to tough in the centre.

Remove the tart from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before carefully inverting onto a plate. Replace any apples that become dislodged.

Delicious served with whipped cream.

Sour cream flaky shortcrust

This is the best pastry recipe I have ever used, bar none. Passed to me by Marieke, who taught me so much about food and cooking, it is a dream to handle. It bakes into a strong, yet short flaky pastry that melts in the mouth.

240g plain flour

200g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

125mls sour cream

Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

Add the sour cream and stir only until a ball forms.

Chill for at least 30 minutes before rolling.

About ladyredspecs

I live in sunny Brisbane, Australia. My love of good food drives me as a cook, a reader, a traveller, an artist and but mostly as an eater. I cooked professionally for many years but have no formal training. Simply guided by a love of eating good food, respect for ingredients and an abhorrence of artificial additives, I cook instinctively applying the technical know how acquired by experience. I hope you enjoy what I share Sandra AKA ladyredspecs

33 comments on “Apple Tarte Tatin

  1. tinywhitecottage
    April 22, 2015

    I just set a new goal while reading you post. I must master the art of making Apple Tarte Tatin. What a beautifully luscious looking dessert. You really gave a good explanation of the technique required to get the apples right before adding the pastry. Thank you for this post Sandra!

    Like

  2. Pingback: Apple Taste Testing: Part 1 | Please Pass the Recipe

  3. Aneela Mirchandani
    April 3, 2015

    Thank you thank you for the notes. I love this dessert but I am beginning to suspect from your story that I have never had a good one. I will have to resort to making one with your recipe. I love the line that ‘it takes courage’.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      April 3, 2015

      You need to push the caramel right to the edge Aneela, it’s a fine line indeed, but once you master tarte tatin it’s a simple dessert to make

      Like

  4. dishnthekitchen
    March 28, 2015

    Nice caramelization! I bet it was divine. Your recipe sure uses a lot less butter than mine does. I may have to try this one instead!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 28, 2015

      It was Bernice, thanks. I often feel that even the small amount of butter I use is too much, I think it depends on the apples and how much they absorb as to the quantity needed

      Liked by 1 person

  5. marymtf
    March 27, 2015

    Don’t think I will ever have a Tatin dish, but I do so admire your tart. It sounds delicious ( well done, of course).

    Like

  6. Michelle
    March 27, 2015

    Probably my favorite dessert. And you’re so right: once you’ve got it down, it’s quite an easy one to make.

    Like

  7. Margot @ Gather and Graze
    March 27, 2015

    Oh dear, that’s a worry when one of Wellington’s top restaurants can’t even get it right… how disappointing! 😦 I’m totally inspired by your post though Sandra and will make this over the weekend one night. I visited one of our local apple orchards on Wednesday and was chatting with the owner about good varieties for making apple tarts etc. – she suggested their Braeburns were a good option (having a lovely balance of sweet and tart), so I’ll be giving them a try!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 27, 2015

      I hope you enjoy the apple tarte tatin as much as we do Margot. The sweet tart apples, the caramel and the crunch of the pastry makes it just a tad addictive, especially with a dollop of cream.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Sue
    March 27, 2015

    Mmmmm, I loved Tarte Tatin, frequently made it….but I’ve gone Glten free and cut down on sugar, so it’s a thing of my past….

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 27, 2015

      99.9% of the time I’m GF too Sue. The .01% are the tastes I have of desserts I make for M, quality control! Fortunately I prefer savoury food…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Sue
        March 27, 2015

        I used to love desserts, but realise they were LOADED with sugar!! I eat very little refined sugar now, like you I think savoury is my preference now. Other than fruit.

        Like

  9. MamaD1xx4xy
    March 26, 2015

    I just saw a tarte tatin done with pineapple that looked fabulous. Your recipe looks delicious, I love a good apple tarte tatin. How disappointing that you had to have three bad ones made made professionals.

    Like

  10. trixpin
    March 26, 2015

    How disappointing that the restaurant tarts were so awful. I think tarte tatins are tricky to get just right and so many recipes are so different, but you would have hoped that professionals would make sure they knew how to create one correctly or not serve it at all.
    Yours looks perfect and the next time I need a reliable recipe (I often struggle with tarte tatins) I’ll know where to come.

    Like

  11. mrscarmichael
    March 26, 2015

    No excuse for failing on a classic #cantcookitdontcookit you should name the restaurants.

    Like

  12. Selma's Table
    March 26, 2015

    Sorry to hear that you and M had 3 such disappointing tarts on your travels but thankful for the excellent head notes as a result! I have never made at tarte tatin mainly because I don’t have the right sort of pan but now that Debi has mentioned the Le Crueset one, I am off to search the internets so that I can give this a go. Beautiful photo, Sandra.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      I use Le Crueset saute pans for tarte tatin, they work perfectly. I have also successfully used a French cast iron crepe pan with a good result. Once you master the technique, it’s an easy dessert to make. Good luck with it Selma

      Liked by 1 person

  13. cheergerm
    March 26, 2015

    Nobody likes a soggy bottom. Try the South Island next time! Ha! Love apple Tarte Tatin, this recipe sounds the business Mrs R. It takes a bit of guts to get the sugar to the right point, goodness knows I have had times when I have stuffed it up. But when it’s right, it’s soooo good.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      Soggy bottoms are a definite no no!! We ate brilliant food all over

      Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      Oh sh.. Keep hitting the wrong spot. The half bottle of red vino has nothing to do with it of course! As I was about to say, the food was excellent even in the the most humble caff, but sadly tarte tatin was a challenge

      Liked by 1 person

      • cheergerm
        March 26, 2015

        I think to encounter a poor version x3 would be a tad annoying. But glad that the food was great in the main. I am sure the wine had nowt to do with! He he… 😚

        Like

  14. My Kitchen Witch
    March 26, 2015

    I really, really agree with you here! It is the brownish caramel that really makes this dessert. Braeburn apples here in the UK are a good choice for this tart. I also like it with pears, but have to be careful to use firm ones rather than the juicy, ready to eat sorts. It is a shame you couldn’t find a good tart tatin on your travels. Le Creuset does a special tart tatin pan which I find indispensable during Apple season.

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      Yes the caramel is what tarte tatin is all about, made with apples pear

      Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      Sorry, trigger finger, apples and pears are both good. I have Le Creuset pans of different sizes, they are excellent for tarte tatin, but then, I love them for everything! Going to try a savoury tomato tarte tatin with the last of the Roma tomatoes for lunch tomorrow

      Liked by 1 person

      • My Kitchen Witch
        March 26, 2015

        The Le Creuset pan I had in mind is specifically for tart tatin, pie depth with two handles for ease of flipping the finished tart. just to see what it looks like: http://www.lecreuset.com.au/Tatin-Dish.aspx
        It is great, but (of course) other pans are equally good. Your tomato tatin sounds wonderful – didn’t you post on it a while ago?

        Like

      • ladyredspecs
        March 27, 2015

        A case of mistaken identity I think….

        Like

  15. Francesca
    March 26, 2015

    A beautiful Autumn treat. I have never made one, as I always seem to lack the heavy based pan with oven proof handle but I now I have one. I hope it is sufficiently seasoned to prevent sticking. Shall follow your instructions to the letter.

    Shame that the New Zealanders didn’t master this dessert, given their bounty of fruit!

    Like

    • ladyredspecs
      March 26, 2015

      It is a shame, but it made my tart all the more delicious! Enjoy your Apple Tarte Tatin, and let me know if you find any issues with the recipe

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on March 26, 2015 by in Baking, Desserts, Food, Fruit Desserts, Soapbox, Warm Puddings and tagged , , , , , .
%d bloggers like this: