Thursday, October 08, 2009

Tarte Tatin

As you know, we have an abundance of apples and need to think up interesting ways of using them through the fall season. So far this year I've made a traditional apple tart and an apple cake (thanks Leesa!). I got the idea over the weekend that I should try a tarte tatin.

Apples from one of our five trees.

The tarte tatin is basically an apple upside-down pie. Large apple wedges are caramelized in butter and sugar then baked under a pie crust. The whole thing is turned upside-down when it's done, resulting in a pie with a crispy crust on the bottom and gooey caramelized apples on top.

Sautéeing the apples in butter and sugar.

It's an easy pie to make, especially when you have your pie crust made and ready to go. I always put left-over pie crust dough in the freezer. When I'm ready to make a pie, I can take some out, thaw it, and it works just like fresh dough.

An optional ingredient: apple brandy from Normandy.

There are two things that make tartes tatin different from one to the next. The first is the variety of apples that you use. Some apples hold their shape well when cooked while others tend to melt into mush. I used some apples that almost went to mush. I think the pie is better with firmer apples as that makes the caramelizing process work better.

The baked tarte before it's turned over.

Which brings us to the second variable: the degree of caramelizing that you get. Cooking the apple wedges slowly in butter and sugar should produce a nice dark caramel coating. If the apples cook down too fast, you get less of this effect. And the caramel coating is what makes a great tarte tatin.

Who's ready for a slice?

So, my first attempt was not bakery window worthy. Still, it was mighty tasty and I'm going to try it again soon with another variety of apples.


  1. That looks just perfect to me. Home-made should look home-made.
    Occasionally we have been served tart tatin in a restaurant where it was so well-done it tasted bitter. Yours looks sweet and just right.

  2. I can testify that it was delicious -- caramel, sweetness, and acidity from the apples. Very good, and it got better each day that we ate a slice.

  3. i've never tried to make one....i think it's the fear of flipping!

    looks delicious

  4. Merci Walt

    I am planning to make one for this upcoming Thanksgiving WE ( Canadian one) and this is an à propos tips for the recipe. I usually make a Gateau Basque but since I have to do another one in 2 weeks' time for hubby's birthday, I decided on the tarte Tatin :-)

  5. Maybe you could find a recipe for Apple Brandy. Or Apfelwein?

  6. You guys totally need to start your own cooking show. After a couple of vidcasts, you'd be an internet sensation!

  7. This looks so good,thanks for sharing....Barb

  8. jean, it was very sweet and good. I made another on Thursday and added 1 quince and 1 pear to the apples. I also added a touch of cinnamon.

    melinda, no tricks to the flipping. Just put a plate on top and turn the whole thing over.

    beaver, good luck!

    starman, I'd love to, but distilling spirits without a license is a big no-no in France. I've never had apfelwein, so I'll have to look that up!

    evol, too much work. ;)

    barb, thanks!

  9. Actually, evol has a great idea! It wouldn't be that difficult if you use something like LiveVideo or Ustream.

  10. Yes, please! Looks delicious Walt!

  11. Hey... It looks great to me...
    I prefer my desserts more on the simple side-- not surgary sweet like that American "apple pie filling" artificial stuff... I've really acquired the taste for the "nature" taste of apples...
    Can you toss the recipe my way for this via email, please? Thanks, Leese


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