Traditional tarte tatin is always apple, and always has a puff pastry top (or bottom). However I find it much easier and cheaper to make a sour cream shortcrust pastry. It sounds very odd, but I assure you that the taste of this works very well with the tart, and some whipped Chantilly cream.
Tarte tatin is usually made in a pan, so that you can make the caramel in the pan – a sort of one pot dish. If you have an ovenproof pan, make the caramel in that, but I find it easier to use a 8 inch / 20cm sandwich tin – in my opinion, it is a lot easier to flip out, because it has a rim and is not awkwardly shaped. A springform could be used as well – the pastry can be tucked around the edge and it will be easier when it comes to flipping out.
The caramel is the trickiest stage. It depends on how far you wish to take the caramel. My family do not like dark caramel that is on the bitter side so I prefer lighter caramel (a lightly tinged yellow caramel) and it complements the colour of the apples.
Sour Cream Shortcrust Pastry
200g plain flour
100g cold butter
2 tbsp crème fraîche or sour cream
- In a food processor, blitz together the flour and butter until it looks like breadcrumbs. Add 1 tbsp of the sour cream or crème fraîche and continue to process. Add enough of the sour cream or crème fraîche to make the pastry come together.
- If you make pastry by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Using your hands, add enough sour cream or crème fraîche to bring it together.
- With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is 2cm thick. Wrap in cling film (or place in a plastic sandwich bag – a much easier option) and put into the fridge for 30 minutes, or freeze for 15 minutes.
4 eating apples – my favourite variety is Granny Smith
125g granulated sugar
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Peel the apples and then cut into quarters. Remove the core and then place into a bowl. There is no need to squeeze over any lemon juice to prevent browning and do not cover in water otherwise they will be too wet.
- If you don’t have a ovenproof pan, get a cake tin ready. Do not grease the tin. In the pan, mix the sugar and water together under a medium-high heat. Once the sugar has dissolved, boil the syrup until it starts to caramelise around the edges – this takes about 5 minutes. Do not stir. Give the pan an occasional swirl.
- The caramel will turn golden when done. Do not take to a full brown – it needs an additional cooking. Add the butter and swirl to melt the butter. Place the apple in an attractive pattern – a concentric circle, a fan shape or have the apple quarters facing up. If using a cake tin, pour in the caramel. Then place the apples in an attractive pattern. You have to completely cover the base of the tin – you may need additional apples.
- Put the pan or cake tin over the heat and cook for 10 minutes. This caramelises the apples. They should be relatively soft by the time you’ve rolled the pastry.
- Meanwhile roll out the chilled pastry. On a floured surface, roll the pastry out to a circle that is 2cm larger than the pan/tin – the overlapping pastry will be tucked into the sides. Roll the pastry around the rolling pin.
- Take the pan/tin off the heat. Unroll the pastry over the apples. Using your hands or a spoon, tuck the pastry around the apples. You can see I’ve got a rim that is around the tart – that comes from the tucking of the pastry around the apples. When flipped, it gives a ‘trapped’ look to the apples.
- Mix the egg with some water or milk and brush over the pastry. Pierce holes into the pastry using a fork. Bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is golden and the apples are very soft (check by inserting a skewer)
- Do not leave for too long to stand in the pan. Run a knife around the side of the pan or tin. Place your serving plate over the cake tin/pan – use a pan that is lipped to hold the great apple juices. Carefully but quickly (use a tea towel to hold the pan/tin) flip over the tin. Slice and serve with whipped cream or ice cream.