This is surely one of my winters favourite. The dish gets its name from the sisters Tatin (les soeurs Tatin) who were the first to make it. The story goes that on a very busy day in their restaurant, they had in mind to make an apple pie, but things went a bit wrong and they forgot the pastry, so they just decided to add it anyway and place it on the top of the apples, their customers just loved it and this is apparently how this famous Tarte was born. I love it, but I’m naughty because I use puff pastry instead of short crust pastry and a slight bit of cinnamon towards the end of the cooking.
One block of puff pastry or short crust pastry
6 to 8 golden delicious (depending on how big they are)
150g unsalted butter
300g golden caster sugar
A vanilla pod or vanilla paste
The juice of half a lemon
A touch of cinnamon (only if you like it, I love it)
For this recipe, you will need a 10″ dish that can go onto the hob.
Melt the butter in a pan on a very low heat and then add the sugar and place the apples on the top, add the lemon juice and the vanilla, live this to cook for at least 20 to 25 mns on a low heat, as you don’t want your sugar to burn or cristalise, this is an important process, if you get this right, your tatin will get nicely caramelised and not burnt, from time to time you can shake your pan so the apples don’t stick.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 220°C. After 25 minutes the sugar should reach a rich amber colour and, by that time, the apples should be soft but still retain their shape. When that has happened, remove the pan from the heat, sprinckle your apples with cinnamon at this point. Then, remove the pastry from the fridge, transfer it to a flat, lightly floured surface and roll it out to a circle slightly larger than your pan. Fit it over the top of the pan, allowing some to tuck down at the edge, it doesn’t have to be neat. Prick the pastry base all over with a fork so the steam is released when it’s cooking and the pastry doesn’t go soggy. Because I use puff pastry, I don’t bother with pricking, as the pie will be turned up side down once cooked.
Next, place the pan on the centre shelf of the oven and bake the tart for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is crisp and golden brown. Remove it from the oven and allow it to cool for about 5 minutes. This is the technical bit!!! Take a plate larger than the pan and place it over the top. Then, using an oven glove, invert the pan on to the plate, giving it a little shake before you do. Serve the tart warm, with double cream or a lovely vanilla ice cream.
Enjoy with a glass of crisp cider or a mulled wine at this time of year!!!