There are many excellent recipes for this classic French dessert. Here we offer our two favourites, the first using shortcrust pastry and the second, puff pastry.
Linda Collister’s TARTE TATIN from ‘The Baking Book’ Serves 8-10
11in Tarte Tatin Pan (22313)
PASTRY: 7oz plain flour; 1oz caster sugar; 3½oz unsalted butter, chilled and diced; 1egg yolk; 2 tablespoons icy water; a pinch of salt.
FILLING: 4oz unsalted butter; 7oz caster sugar; 4½lb (about 12) dessert apples, such as Cox's Orange Pippin, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Egremont Russet.
It is best to use tart eating apples for the filling - cooking apples release too much liquid - and to pack them together tightly. Don’t put the pastry onto the apples until they are sitting in a good brown caramel or the tart will be soggy and insipid-tasting.
Make the pastry dough by hand or in a food processor: Put the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of the processor and process until mixed. Add the diced butter and process until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. With the machine running, add the egg yolk and icy water through the feed tube, and process until the mixture binds together to form a firm but not dry dough. If there are dry crumbs, gradually add a little more water. Wrap and chill while preparing the apples.
Cut the butter into thin slices and arrange to cover the base of the pan completely. Sprinkle over the sugar to make an even layer.
Peel, halve and core the apples. Arrange in the pan, on top of the butter and sugar, so the apple halves stand up vertically. Pack the apples tightly together so the tart will not collapse in the oven. Put the pan over a moderate heat on top of the stove and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the butter and sugar have formed a richly coloured caramel, and all the moisture from the apples has evaporated. Remove from the heat. While the apples are cooking, preheat the oven to 220C (425F, Gas 7).
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to a round to fit the top of the pan. Roll up the dough around the rolling pin and lift over the pan. Gently unroll the dough so it covers the apples completely. Quickly tuck the edges of the dough down inside the pan, then prick the pastry lid all over with a fork. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool slightly, then loosen the pastry edges and turn out the tart upside down so the pastry is under the caramelised apples. Eat warm or at room temperature, with ice-cream, crème fraîche or fromage frais.
Patricia Candy’s (The Kitchen Shop Dartmouth) PUFF PASTRY TARTE TATIN. Serves 8-10
8 Coxes Orange Pippins; Juice of 1 Lemon; 5oz Butter, thinly sliced; 8½oz Sugar; 11oz Puff Pastry
Peel, quarter and core apples - brush with lemon juice and put in the fridge. Cover the base of the dish with butter then sprinkle on the sugar. Arrange apples neatly on top of the sugar. Roll out pastry and lay over dish, leaving small overlap. Trim back to outer edge of lip and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Pre-heat oven to gas mark 7 / 425°F / 220°C. Place the dish on medium-hot hob for 12-15 minutes to caramelise the sugar and butter to a light amber colour. (Lift the edge of the pastry with a knife to check colour). Place in the oven and cook for 15 minutes until the pastry has risen and cooked to a golden colour. Remove from the oven, allow to cool slightly, then cover with a plate. Taking great care, briskly turn the whole thing over - the pastry now forms the base of the tart with the caramelised apples on top.