Tarte tatin

by Lauraine Jacobs | Cuisine issue #116
Serves: 6-8This glorious classic, invented by the Tatin sisters in their rustic restaurant in the Loire Valley, combines rich caramel with meltingly tender apples.

You will need a 22cm ovenproof frying pan with a heavy base, or a 22cm Le Creuset-style gratin dish as the tart is cooked on the stove top then finished in the oven. The tart can be served hot or cold but do not refrigerate as the caramel will harden.

300g puff pastry
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons water
6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and quartered
1 tablespoon flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
100g butter
    First roll out the pastry into a circle ever so slightly larger than the frying pan circumference then refrigerate until needed.

    Put half the sugar into the frying pan with the water and stir to dissolve. Over a gentle heat allow the sugar to cook steadily to a light golden caramel, shaking the pan occasionally and taking care not to burn the sugar at the edges. Remove the pan from the heat immediately, as the caramel will continue to darken.

    Add the apples, arranging them in a neat pattern around the pan and packing them in as closely as you can.Mix together the remaining sugar, flour and cinnamon and sprinkle it over the apples.

    Melt the butter and pour evenly over the apple mixture.

    Fit the circle of puff pastry over the apples then place the pan in a hot oven (200°C) and bake until the pastry is puffed and golden.

    Take from the oven and let stand for 4-5 minutes, then turn upside down on to a flat serving plate so the caramelised apples are uppermost. Cut into wedges and serve with crème fraîche.

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