The most difficult thing about making a tarte Tatin – an apple tart cooked with the pastry on top, which is then reversed when cooked – is believing that it will turn out when you up-end your pan. When you have gained confidence you can cook it in an ordinary saucepan, but until then an ovenproof non-stick
The French would use Le Golden Delicious, but you will sensibly use a crisp, sharp-tasting English eating apple instead. Use bought frozen puff pastry for the base. It will be soaked with sugary juices, so there is nothing to be gained from making your own.
Defrost the pastry and roll it out to a thickness of about
Preheat oven to 220°C/425°F/ gas 7. Cut the butter into thin slices and cover the base of the pan with these. Scatter over the sugar. Peel, halve and core the apples and pack them tightly into the pan, cut side upwards. Wedge quarters of apple between them to fill any gaps.
Put the pan over a low heat and cook for 15 minutes, turning the heat up to medium for another 5 minutes to produce a dark caramel.
Take off the heat and lay the pastry on top, tucking it in round the top, then bake for 15 minutes. Lower the oven setting to 180°C/350°F/gas 4 and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, place a board or dish slightly larger than the pan upside down on top of it then, holding it tight to the pan, turn it upside down. Slide the board on to the table and lift the pan away. If any bits have stayed glued, spoon them off and squidge them back where they have pulled away. Serve warm, with a dollop of crème fraîche.
© 1998 Alastair Little and Richard Whittington estate. All rights reserved.