Apple tarte tatin
Tarte tatin is a real French classic and great cold-weather fare. It's really not hard to get a good result and it always looks impressive. I love the effect of leaving the apple tops with the stalks still attached and the peel on, it gives the tart a lovely natural feel. You could, of course, just core and peel all the apples and it will taste just as good.
Have your say
ROUGH PUFF PASTRY
500g plain unbleached flour
1 tsp salt
400g unsalted cold butter, cut into 2cm cubes
1/2 tbsp lemon juice
18 granny smith or golden delicious apples (or a mix)
200g castor sugar
120g unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, sliced on an angle
1. For the rough puff, sift the flour and salt onto a clean bench.
2. Tip the cold butter cubes onto the flour and chop through with a spatula until roughly incorporated.
3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the lemon juice and water and quickly combine until a dough forms.
4. Shape the dough into a rectangle and roll flat, and then fold in three, like you would a letter. Turn the dough so the open end faces you and then roll out again, and then repeat this process. Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
5. Remove the pastry from the fridge and repeat the same rolling and folding process and rest for a further 30 minutes before using. Once rested, use or store in the fridge for a day or two or cut the pastry into handy-sized pieces and freeze until you need them.
6. Preheat your oven to 180C fan-forced or 200C conventional.
7. For the tarte tatin, cut 12 of the apples in half crossways and peel and core the bottom halves, leave the apple tops, stalks and all, intact. Peel and core the remaining apples. Slice all the peeled apple into two-centimetre rings.
8. In an ovenproof pan (about 30 centimetres across and five to six centimetres deep), add 150 grams of the sugar and a splash of water and cook over a medium-high heat until you have a medium-coloured caramel. Take off the heat, add the butter and swirl to dissolve then add the apple tops, stalk down, to form a tight ring - the underside will be the top of your tart so think about placement. Stack on the rest of the apple rings, sprinkle over the remaining sugar and poke the pieces of splintered vanilla bean among the apples. Bake for 30 minutes.
9. Roll your pastry out to no more than half a centimetre thick. Rest in the fridge while the apples cook and then cut a circle out about three centimetres wider (all around) than the interior size of the dish.
10. Remove the tart from the oven and set aside for five minutes. Drape the pastry over the apples, tucking the edges down the inside of the pan. Return to the oven and cook for a further 25 to 30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden and the caramel is bubbling slightly at the edges. Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes. Lay a plate over the tart, carefully invert and remove the pan. Serve with pouring cream or ice-cream.
1. When you put all of the apples in the dish they will be stacked quite high but don't worry, they will cook right down to fit the dish.
2. You can use pears instead of apples or even use a mix of both.
3. Always rest your pastry after rolling and keep the pastry chilled, otherwise it will shrink.