If you like apple pie, you’ll love tarte tatin, an upside-down caramel apple tart.
Gosh. It’s been weeks and weeks since I’ve last posted, it’s embarrassing. I’ve started university, which, unfortunately, has consumed the entirety of the time I have available.
I have mixed feelings towards college. One hand, I like being in an academic setting, discovering the fields of study that interest me. On the other, I miss home.
I took a semester off between finishing school and beginning college, during which I was able to pursue all of non-academic my passions and hobbies – like cooking. Whereas at home I used to cook multiple times a week, at college, I find it too much of an effort- and it isn’t quite as relaxing as it was back home. I know I’ll get used to it, it just takes some time. For now, I’m counting the days till I can go back.
During my semester off, I did quite a bit of baking and fell in love with tarte tatin: Its simplicity, its elegance, its sticky, sweet base and its soft, caramel coated apple layer.
The tarte tatin base reminds me somewhat of a baklava- the base has the same texture: flaky layers of puff pastry bathed in sweet syrup. The base holds the apples in place as you invert the tart. You can also use the pie crust recipe from my pumpkin pie if you can’t get any puff pastry.
This dessert takes apple pie to another level, giving a complex flavour despite its simplicity in ingredients. A touch of cinnamon complements the caramel flavour well, but it isn’t a traditional addition and can be left out.
I shamelessly consumed half of the tart after taking it out of the oven. That should speak for itself.
Apple Tarte Tatin
- 500 g apples (a sweet, crisp kind is best)
- 1 tbsp lemon juice (juice from about 1/2 lemon)
- 1/4-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 tbsp (50 g) butter (salted is fine, just omit the extra salt)
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 6 tbsp (75 g) sugar
- 150 g puff pastry (at least 9 inches length-wise and width wise)
- Vanilla ice cream or unsweetened whipped cream to serve + cinnamon for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 200 C or 375 F and line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- Peel, quarter and core the apples, then place the quarters into a large bowl and toss them with the lemon juice and cinnamon until all the apples are coated. Set aside.
- In a small, oven safe saucepan or skillet (8 inches in diameter) over medium heat, melt the butter. Then add the sugar, vanilla, salt and let the mixture boil.
- Tightly arrange the apples core side up (rounded side down). It may seem like a lot of apples but they will shrink as they cook. Although you shouldn’t stir the apples, you can prod them gently to settle. You can turn the heat down to medium-low at this stage.
- Once the sugar/butter mixture begins to caramelise (turns a light amber colour, about 10 min) and the apples are soft, turn off the heat and let the mixture sit for 10 more min.
- In the meantime, prepare the puff pastry by dusting a surface with flour and gently rolling out the dough.
- Cut the puff pastry into a large circle shape using a knife. It doesn't need to be perfect, a circular shape just makes it easier to settle atop the apples.
- Place the circle of puff pastry atop the pan with the apples, tucking the excess inwards towards the apples rather than outwards.
- Place the saucepan or skillet onto the lined baking tray and bake for 25-30 minutes or until the puff pastry turns a golden brown colour. The tray will collect any liquid that might spill over.
- Shortly after removing the pan from the oven, place a large plate on top and using oven mitts, flip the tarte tatin over, using one quick movement. Some liquid might ooze out- that's fine! And if small pieces of apple stick to the pan, no worries, gently remove them from the pan using a spoon and place them back into the tart.
- Serve the pastry immediately, plain or with some ice cream and a dusting of cinnamon. This recipe serves 4-6.
- If you don't have a skillet or oven-proof saucepan, you can transfer the apples to an 8 inch cake pan and place the puff atop. It will be a little messier in appearance but still delicious!
- The dessert lasts several days in the refrigerator and tastes delicious cold, but should generally be served immediately when the puff pastry is still crisp. You can also prepare the apples beforehand and bake before serving.
- You can also use other fruits such as bananas or pears instead of apples.