Tarte Tatin:

Tarte Tatin:

Prep:           20 mins.

Cooking:      probably about 40 mins.

Course:        Dessert

Serves:         6-8

Rating:         4:  Tricky (but worth it)

Tarte Tatin is an upside-down French apple tart, attributed to a couple of daft old sisters in rural France who we’re told got it wrong.  Whether that’s true or not who cares, it tastes great.


  • 8 eating apples (not cooking apples)
  • 220g caster sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter
  • 1 pack of puff pastry (around 300grams or more – you can freeze what’s left over for next time.) Ready rolled is most convenient.
  • A vanilla pod or Ground Cinnamon – not both. You can have it flavoured with one or the other.
  • A large round, deep-sided tart tin (borrow one from that lively little miss you’ve spotted around the corner…)
  • A metal oven (baking) tray
  • Crème Fraiche to serve with it.


  • You’ll need super-clean mitts fer this – wash ‘em again now.
  • The butter should be a room temperature; leave it out to soften.
  • Peel and core the apples: Peel the skin away, cut into 4 vertically, then each one again.  Only remove the pippy area, not much more at all.  Cut each one again (I know that they are getting thin – we need them thin.) to give 16 slices per apple.  We need about 100 slices for this.

Waddaya mean you’ve changed your mind?  It’s too late to back out now; just do it and stop moaning. 

I know you’d rather be down the pub, but you said you’d do it and do it you will…… nag, nag, nag…..

  • Ok, now for the messy bit. Slice the butter into thin slices and spread them around the tin, all over the base and up the sides.  Use your fingers and just mould them into place.  Don’t lick your fingers.  Wipe them with kitchen roll.
  • If you are using the vanilla pod: Take the vanilla pod, slit it down the centre with the tip of a sharp knife and, turning the knife sideways on to the pod, scrape all of the seeds out in one motion.  Spread these seeds all over the butter, evenly.  Don’t throw the pod away – see Tricks’n’Tips….
  • If you are using cinnamon: Sprinkle ground cinnamon over the butter layer. You won’t know how much, and I can’t really tell you – it is experience that will let you know.  You are just about to gain experience.
  • Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the butter and vanilla seeds/ground cinnamon. Now lay the apple slices, one overlapping the other in the form of a circular wedge, all the way around the edge, then the middle, then all over to make it level.  You’ll need to pack ’em in tightly.
  • Put the tart tin on the baking tray and put into a pre-heated oven, gas mk 3, for 20 minutes. This will start to cook the apples.
  • Meanwhile, roll the pastry out to the size of the tart tin (you will, of course, know the size already…..) – see Tricks’n’Tips for rolling out pastry.
  • Take out the tart tin and lay the pastry on top, trimming the edge with a knife. Press the pastry onto the apples.  Brush (or spread with a clean finger) milk onto the surface of the pastry.  When it comes out, that will be the bottom so it doesn’t need anything fancy.
  • Put the tin and baking tray back in, turn up to gas mk 6/200C and go have a beer for 15 minutes.
  • Take the tart tin out, press the pastry down with the fingers so that the pastry gets as saturated as possible with the free liquid and then leave to rest for 20-30 minutes before turning it out onto a plate.
  • Cut to portions and serve with Crème Fraiche.

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