The French really have the whole fine living thing figured out. Delicious fresh food. Fine wine. Stunning art and architecture. Ridiculously gorgeous haute couture. And they can even sometimes manage to stumble upon this stuff by accident. As the story goes, sisters Stephanie and Caroline Tatin invented the tarte tatin, an upside-down caramel apple tart, at their hotel while trying to make a regular old apple pie. After burning the filling by mistake, they served the caramelized apple dessert to guests anyway, and it was a big hit. The rest, as you say, is history.
I love making this dessert because not only is it seriously tasty, but it also has a visual wow factor with the apples prettily arranged around the top. The best part? It’s very fast to put together, requires little actual baking skill and is incredibly forgiving if you’re prone to making mistakes. You can smugly tell your guests you slaved for hours over this one while they “oooh” and “ahhh” over your efforts. I won’t tell, I promise.
You can use any type of firm apple, but I like to use granny smiths because the tartness gives a nice contrast to the sweet caramel. Golden delicious or gala apples work well too; you just need something that won’t dissolve into applesauce after cooking. You can use other fruits like pears, peaches or plums to change it up. Using salted butter or adding some sea salt to the mix is also a nice touch to make this a salted caramel treat.
I’ll admit it right now – I cheat shamelessly by using frozen filo pastry. You can substitute with your favourite tart crust recipe, but really, what’s better that crispy, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth filo pastry? And who’s got the time to make that stuff from scratch? But if you can make a great tart crust, go for it. And send me a slice.
Serves 8 (usually, or 4 very hungry people)Ingredients
Make ahead: you can make the whole thing earlier in the day if needed (I haven’t tried keeping it overnight so unsure of the results.) Just leave it uncovered in the pan until serving time. Heat it on the stovetop for a few minutes to melt the caramel before trying to invert it.
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