One of the things I love about being a B&B host is that I get to learn a lot about the cultures of my guests (and by culture I primarily mean food).
A perfect example being the past 10 days. I’ve had 2 awesome women staying with me from France and we’ve become good friends They’ve been teaching me all kinds of phrases en Français that we don’t use here, and also made me some delicious tarte tatin!
I’ve never had it before (nor made it) so I took lots of photos
What is it?
Tarte tatin is basically a caramel-apple pie. Simple ingredients and totally delicious you can eat it plain, add spices or change the pastry to your liking.
First you cook equal parts butter and sugar (around 1/4 cup each) together to create the caramel. When it changes colour, remove it from the heat and start layering your apple slices like so:
For a skillet the size you see there, we used about 6 apples. They’ll cook down in the heat, so cram them in there!
Next, take some pre-made pastry and tuck it in around the apples. My friends didn’t know that phyllo was different from butter pastry and bought that by mistake. That’s why it looks a little weird.
Trim the dough if necessary. It’s actually going to be the bottom of the tarte so you don’t want too much hanging around.
Pop it in the oven (we did it at 350*F) for about 20 minutes or so. You know it’s done when the caramel starts bubbling up the sides and the pastry is nice and golden.
Take it out of the oven, then immediately flip the tarte out onto a plate that is larger than the pan you cooked it in. Be careful! Molten caramel may fly everywhere so be vigilant! I didn’t really have a suitable plate so we just used a cheap tray from the dollar store. You can see why you need something with an edge… the juice from the apples pours out everywhere.
And voila! You have just made traditional tarte tatin. Or in this case, my friend Sandrine made it for me
Some tips and tricks from Sandrine
- There are 2 “hard” parts: making sure the caramel doesn’t burn, and flipping the lava-hot tarte onto the plate
- If the caramel burns, you’re screwed. It gets bitter and nasty and you have to start over again. Unfortunately this happened to our tarte since neither of us had used my kitchen for baking before this and we didn’t know how the oven would perform!
- You can slice your apples into quarters, or thinner. The thinner they are, the more caramel they will absorb
- Use unsalted butter for a better taste
- Traditional tarte tatin doesn’t have cinnamon or other spices because they can overpower the caramel flavour. But you can spice it up if you like!
- Tarte tatin is best served warm. You can eat it with ice cream, sour cream or whipped cream
- If you use a cast iron skillet like we did, reduce your cooking time so the caramel doesn’t get rank and burned
- Have your apples pre-sliced and ready to go
- Use butter or regular pastry. The phyllo was ok but…different
Even though the tarte wasn’t so good this time around, I can tell that this dessert would be amazeballs when properly executed. Overall I don’t think it’s too difficult (very similar to making a Spanish tortilla!) so I’ll probably whip this out to impress guests in the future.
I just really love that Sandrine made it for me