When I saw the photo of Jill Dupleix’s Tarte Tatin on the Good Food site I couldn’t resist. A good tarte brings back memories of visiting classic bistros in Paris. The method is not complicated if you buy the puff pastry — and you can get good quality stuff as Jill points out. But since I had the time I decided to make my own “rough puff”, which is a little work but quite fun!
As this was just for Jane and myself to enjoy, making the full recipe would have been serious overkill. So I scaled down from 8 to 3 apples, and used just over half of specified butter and sugar. The result is a cute little tarte suitable for four (but check the verdict!).
Challenges and Tips
I didn’t have a suitable frying pan for the size of tarte I was making but found the apples fit well in a 20cm saucepan. The only problem was how to get the tarte out in one piece when done, due to the pan depth. Luckily I have a 20cm round cake tin that fit snugly into the saucepan and made it really easy to invert without destroying the tarte (it came out sitting happily on the inverted cake tin).
You need to properly brown the caramel to get the full flavour, but of course it can burn so keep an eye on it. As you can see above mine was a little uneven — in fact the darker side was better despite a fraction of it burning. So do as Jill says and be brave!
The only other trick is packing the pastry over the apples. Because they have been cooking the pan is hot and will begin to melt the pastry as you tuck it around the edge. Next time I’ll leave the pan off the heat just for a couple of minutes so the metal cools before I pop in the pastry. The apples should retain their heat well enough to continue cooking when added to oven.
Wow. The combination of apple and caramel is divine simplicity, and light yet buttery pastry tops it off. I think Jill’s recipe really nails it by focusing on the development of the caramel. Even though I said this scaled-down tarte would serve four it could only serve two of me! (I mean it’s just not the same the next day, so why not go back for seconds?)