Have you ever had a “fortunate happenstance” in the kitchen? For me, accidents in the kitchen have always been disastrous. But thanks to Tatin sisters, I still live in the hope that one day I will make a startling discovery out of a debacle.
If I believe in the history of Tarte Tatin, which I do, it was born out of an act of serendipity. Stephanie Tatin, one of the owners of Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, accidentally baked a caramelized apple tart upside down. If this was true, she paved way to a flurry of upside down desserts, didn’t she?
When I decide to bake a French Classic, I always follow Raymond Blanc’s recipe – no surprises there. Make sure you pick a variety of apple that is firm and will hold its shape when cooked through, like Granny Smith.
The apples are peeled, cored and halved. They are then tightly stacked into a 20cm pie dish, that already contains the sweet, buttery caramel sauce. The apples are baked for about 30 minutes -there is something intoxicating about the smell of baked-caramelized apples. Once they are out, the apples are covered with a round disc of puff pastry and everything gets baked again.
- 12 apples, peeled, cored and halved
- 3 tbsp water
- 100 g caster sugar
- 60 g unsalted butter, cubed
- 30 g unsalted butter, melted
- 300 g puff pastry, rolled out 3mm thickness to fit the 20cm tart tin
- Preheat the oven to 180 C.
- In a sauce pan, allow water and sugar to simmer in gentle heat. Once the sugar turns auburn, add butter. Whish nicely and pour into the pie dish. Allow to cool.
- Once cool, stack the prepared apples tightly. Brush the apples with melted butter. Bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, roll out the puff pastry into a disc of 3mm thickness, slightly larger than the circumference of the pie dish. If the pastry begins to melt, throw it into the freezer for a bit.
- Once the apples are baked, cover the apples with the rolled out puff pastry and tuck the sides of the pastry inside. Make small slits into the pastry, on the surface using a sharp knife. Bake for 40 more minutes until the pastry is risen and is golden brown.
- Allow to cool and then tilt the pastry upside down on to a plate. Serve warm with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.