Tarte Tatin

     My fruit bowl is overladen with apples at the moment and although they aren’t Cox’s, my usual choice to make tarte Tatin, the famous upside down apple tart invented in France by the Tatin sisters in the 1880’s, they will have to do. It’s so revered, this tart, it has its own web site (tartetatin.org) exploring every aspect, from most suitable apples to best cooking pan. This is my simplified recipe, always cooked in a small, cast iron frying pan although I have a widely available special tarte Tatin tin with sloping sides when I make it for a party.

Serves 4

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 45 min

Serves 4

Prep: 20 min

Cook: 25 min

100g sugar

50g butter

8-10 even-sized eating apples

1 lemon

150g puff pastry

crème fraiche to serve

     Heat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6. Melt the sugar and butter together in a small ovenproof frying pan, stirring as it begins to colour, continuing until the syrup turns a deep golden colour like toffee. This may take up to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat. Working quickly, quarter, peel and core the apples. Carefully arrange the apples over the caramel, rounded-side down, radiating round, overlapping slightly, filling the gap in the centre too. On a floured surface, roll the pastry the thickness of a 50p piece and lay over the top, pressing with a wooden spoon to cut and trim. Tuck the pastry down inside the pan so it cooks into a bowl-shape. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. Now comes the tricky bit. If there seems to be a lot of juice, carefully drain most of it into a jug. Place a large plate over the top of the tart, quickly invert, watching out for remaining hot juices.  Serve with crème fraiche or vanilla ice cream.