Making a pie upside down by placing the apples and caramel in the mould under sweet shortcrust pastry before turning it out all golden – it’s a funny process, and typically French. Tarte Tatin was born in the 19th century in the Loire Valley thanks to the clumsiness of two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, who have since more than made up for their mistake! We love Linda’s recipe (and photos) that makes a failsafe crowd-pleaser, just like her waffles, madeleines and frangipane galette.
Recipe: Tarte Tatin
Ingredients for the shortcrust pastry
- 180g (6.5oz) wheat flour
- 70g (2.5oz) unsalted butter
- 20g (¾ oz) cane sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 1 egg
Ingredients for the apple topping
- 1.6kg (3.5lb) firm, tender-fleshed apples (neither floury nor crunchy, something in between)
- 80g (2.75oz) unsalted butter
- 120g (4.25oz) cane sugar
Making the pastry
Combine the butter with the flour, sugar and salt by rubbing the mixture between your hands to obtain a fine powder, like a crumble.
Add the egg, kneading for as little time as possible. Add a touch of water if necessary, knead, form a ball and let it rest in the fridge while preparing the apples.
Making the caramel
In a 24cm diameter and 5cm deep Pyrex cooking dish (to follow the cooking process of the caramel and apples), scatter the diced butter and sugar. Place the dish on the heat (with a heat diffuser if possible) and allow the butter and sugar to melt and simmer until a nicely golden caramel is obtained (allow about 20 minutes over moderate heat). Take off the heat.
Making the apple topping
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Cut the apples into quarters, remove the cores and pips (which you can use to make an apple jelly, for example). Place a first layer of apples (curved side down) into the dish, packing in tightly. Add a second layer of apples on top (curved side up). Fill in the gaps with the remaining apples, even if it means cutting the quarters in half.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes. By this point, the apples will be cooked and starting to be tinged with caramel.
The final pastry stage
Remove the pastry dough from the fridge and roll it on a floured work surface to around 26cm in diameter. Place it over the apples. Slide a spatula along the edge of the dish to ensure the pastry touches the caramel. Prick the pie on both sides with a fork and bake for 25 minutes.
The caramel reduction
The tart can be served like this, but the caramel is still too runny. To thicken it, put the dish back on the heat and cook over a low heat for 20 minutes, watching carefully.
Let it cool thoroughly. To serve, if the tart has been refrigerated, put it back on the heat for five minutes to allow you to turn it out. Otherwise, turn it out when it is lukewarm. And enjoy!