17 Sep Tarte Tatin


Tarte Tatin

17 September 2020

PREP. TIME: 15 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 60 MIN   -   SERVES: 4

Tarte Tatin was created by accident.   Centuries ago, in a small restaurant, somewhere in France, one of the Tatin sisters dropped an apple tart on the floor.  With no time to make another, the pastry was collected and placed on the bottom of a serving dish and the caramelised apples were piled on top. It was a huge success and known thereafter as Tarte Tatin.

Recipe Template

Tarte Tatin is loved for the glorious smell of apples, caramel and pastry.  It is not a complex dish - the apples are simply sat in a pan of sugar and butter over moderate to high heat.  As this mixture caramelises the apples become more and more tender.  A layer of pastry is placed over the apples and the dish is then baked in the oven for about 20 minutes.  Once the pastry is cooked - while it is still hot, the dish is inverted onto a serving plate - the pastry is on the bottom and covered with the round mounds of caramelised apples.

This is absolutely 101 level in apple tart making.

It is important that the apples you use retain their shape while cooking.  Royal Gala, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith are all recommended.  Last seasons apples are best because they are not as juicy.

Here is a link to my simple short crust pastry recipe.  If you are buying pastry I recommend the Careme brand of short crust pastry made with sour cream or their puff pastry.  Available from most IGAs and good delis.

The dish can be made in any quantity - just allow 1 - 2 apples per person.

Serve with Cinnamon ice cream or fresh cream

TIP: In case you are delayed in turning the tart out onto the serving plate, the apples may not release easily from the pan as once the pan cools the caramel will become firmer. To rectify this - simply place the pan over gentle heat to liquify the sauce and release it from the base of the pan.

ingredients for 4 generous serves

6 - 8 apples


4 - 5 slices Butter

Short Crust or Puff Pastry.


Chopping board and paring knife

Vegetable Peeler

Small melon corer if you have one.

20cm Oven Proof Fry pan or baking dish 

Serving Plate


Step 1 - Prepare the apples

Peel each apple.

Cut apples in half lengthways - through the stem.

Use a small melon baller or paring knife to cut out the core from the middle of each half.

Trim each end with a knife.

Cut each half in half again.

Step 2 - Cook the apples

Place the pan over moderate heat.

Pour the sugar into the pan to about .5 - 1cm deep

Cut butter into about 4 or 5 x .5cm thick slices - arrange these on top of the sugar around the edges of the pan.

Arrange the apples in a circular pattern over the sugar and butter - packing the apples tightly and then piling some extra ones on top in a dome.  (The apples shrink during cooking and will collapse into one layer).

Cook over moderate to high heat for the caramel to develop as the sugar liquefies and colours.  This may take up to 40 minutes.  There is no need to turn the apples or stir them.

Once the caramel sauce is a rich golden - brown colour and the apples are tender - remove the pan from the heat.

(TIP: Watch that the sauce does not colour too quickly and it is dark before the apples are cooked through. Keep an eye on the pan  and reduce the heat if the sugar is colouring too quickly)

The apples will be a light golden colour - they do not need to look too beautiful right now - but they should be tender.

Step 3 - Preheat the oven to 190C

Step 4 - Prepare the pastry

Cut a circle of pastry to fit on the top of the pan.  The pastry can be about .5cm thick.

Lay it over the apples gently.  Do not press the pastry down - just let it settle over the domes of the apples.

If you have extra pastry, just roll it into the edges of the pan creating a rim.

Step 5 - Bake for 20 minutes

Remove from the oven when the pastry is golden.

Allow to rest for a few minutes.

Step 6 - To Serve

While the dish is still hot, place a serving plate or shallow dish that is wider than the pan - (approximately 30cm in this case), over the pastry.

Hold the bottom of the plate with one hand and with the other, turn the pan over so that the tart sits on the plate.

The pastry will be on the bottom and the caramelised apples will be on the top.

Serve warm or at room temperature with Cinnamon Ice Cream or Fresh Cream.


Recipe adapted by Elizabeth Peddey.

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