Tarte Tatin Recipe
Tarte Tatin is shrouded in the fug of near-legend. Here’s the official version (maybe)…
The story goes that one day in northern France, two sisters, Stéphanie and Carline Tatin, were preparing a large meal for a very important dignatory. The dessert they were making was Normandy Apple Tart, a local speciality, but in those days the tart was quite conventional; a pastry top covering a base of cooked apple.
The tension in the kitchen was unusually high that day and an accident was bound to happen, and so it did. Stéphanie, balancing the cooked tart in her nervous arms tripped, pitching the tart to the ground.
It flew into a thousand pieces, but, as there was no other dessert on offer the two sisters had to think quickly! They came up with the idea of using the re-heated apple filling to cover the shattered pastry, thus hiding the damage.
In its new guise the tart was served to the guests. Much to the sisters’ surprise it was an instant success and became known ever after as Tarte Tatin in their honour.
For the pastry:
100g plain flour
75g unsalted butter
pinch of salt
a little cold water
For the filling:
6 – 8 eating apples
75g unsalted butter
75g caster sugar
Pre-heat the oven to gas 200°C (400°F / Mk6)
Cut the butter into 1cm cubes and allow to come to room temperature. Sift the flour and salt into a roomy bowl and add the butter, rubbing it into the flour with the tips of your fingers until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add a little cold water and ‘cut’ it into the mixture with a round-bladed knife.
As soon as the mixture starts to come together go in with your hands and coax it into a ball. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge to rest for half an hour or so.
Peel, core and halve the apples.
Melt the butter in a large heavy-bottomed, oven-proof frying pan. Add the sugar, give it a stir, then put in the apples, arranging them so they fit neatly in the pan.
Cook over a medium heat until the apples begin to brown and become tender and the butter/sugar mixture caramelises.
Roll the pastry out to a round 1cm larger than the pan, and 5mm thick. Drape it over the apples, tucking the excess pastry down into the pan so the edges bathe in the caramelised juices.
Bake for about fifteen to twenty minutes until the top is golden brown.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. To serve, loosen the edges of the tart and place a large plate over the pan. Invert it, allowing the tart to fall out onto the plate.
Serve Tarte Tatin with Devonshire clotted cream.