This wonderful Tarte Tatin was first made by accident in the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron in France in 1898! The hotel was run by two sisters, Stephanie and Caroline Tatin.
Stephanie was overworked one day and was making an apple pie when she left the apples cooking too long and they started to burn. In trying to save the pie, she just put the pastry on top of the pan of apples and put it in the oven to cook.
To everyones amazement her guests loved the new dessert and it became a classic.
What a wonderful story. And what a truly wonderful dish she has given us!
6 dessert apples such as Golden Delicious, or cooking apples
250 gm sugar
120 gm melted butter
½ tsp cinnamon (optional)
For the chilled sweet shortcrust pastry
7 oz plain white flour
4 tbsp castor sugar
3½ oz chilled butter
1 egg beaten with 1teaspoon water
½ tsp vanilla extract
A baking dish about 2”–2½” ins in depth
Roll the pastry to a 3mm-thick round on a lightly floured surface and cut a 24cm circle, using a plate as a guide. Lightly prick all over with a fork, wrap in cling film on a baking sheet and freeze while preparing the apples.
Heat oven to 180°C.
Peel, quarter and core the apples.
Put the sugar in a flameproof 20cm dish or a 20cm ovenproof heavy-based frying pan and place over a medium-high heat. Cook the sugar for 5-7 mins to a dark amber caramel syrup that’s starting to smoke, then turn off the heat and stir in the 60g diced chilled butter.
To assemble the Tarte Tatin, arrange the apple quarters very tightly in a circle around the edge of the dish first, rounded-side down, then fill in the middle in a similar fashion. Gently press with your hands to ensure there are no gaps. Brush the fruit with the melted butter.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, then remove and place the disc of frozen puff pastry on top – it will quickly defrost. Tuck the edges down the inside of the dish and, with a knife, prick a few holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Bake for a further 40-45 mins until the pastry is golden brown and crisp.
Allow to cool to room temperature for 1 hour before running a knife around the edge of the dish and inverting it onto a large serving plate that is deep enough to contain the juices.
Serve with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.