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French Apple Brandy Tarte Tatin

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The Tarte Tatin has a storied history, and is one of the most iconic French desserts. The Sisters Tatin ran their own bouchon (a casual restaurant that serves specialties of the area) in Lamotte-Beuvron. The story is that one of the sisters burnt a pan of apples and sugar, and quickly covered it with pastry then baked it to save the fruit. The dessert was an immediate hit, but we’ve done one better and added Apple Brandy aka Calvados to the mix. This is an easy, impressive dinner party desert that will elicit ooohs and ahhs of surprise from your guests.

Ingredients (Serves 6)

  • 6 Pink Lady or Granny Smith Apples
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 50ml Calvados (French Apple Brandy)
  • 50g Unsalted Butter
  • Flaky Sea Salt
  • 1 Roll Careme All Butter Puff Pastry
  • Vanilla Ice Cream, or Creme Fraiche to serve

For the Pastry

Defrost your Careme All Butter Puff Pastry overnight in the fridge for best results.

Once defrosted, unroll your puff and cut a circle 1.5cm bigger than your oven-proof, non-stick pan. Set this pastry cap aside in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes (it may shrink a little after being cut).

For the Apples and Caramel

Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core your apples. If you can, practice arranging them in your chosen pan so you have an idea of how they need to sit in the caramel once made. Don’t worry about the apples browning – they’ll be taking on a deep amber hue once baked.

In your chosen pan, add your sugar and Calvados to a cold pan. Turn the pan on to medium heat to begin melting the sugar. You may mix the sugar at this point, but once it has become fully wet you should refrain from doing any further mixing.

As your sugar boils, you’ll detect the wafting aroma of the Calvados. This means the liquid is evaporating, leaving only the flavour of the apple brandy behind. Eventually your caramel will begin to colour.

If your caramel colours unevenly in the pan, you can gently swirl the pan to even out the colour, being careful to not splash the caramel.

Once it reaches an true amber, remove the caramel from the heat, add your butter in and carefully whisk until blended, being aware of sputtering and hot steam.

Let the caramel cool for 5 minutes. You can put a good pinch of flaky salt in, and then whisk it through as well.

For the Final Tarte

Carefully arrange your apples in the pan, then place it back on the hob and cook for another 5 minutes until the caramel bubbles up around the apples. Set aside in the ovenproof pan and let cool fully.

Preheat your oven to 200C, fan-forced. Take your cool pan full of apple and caramel and top it with the pastry cap, gently tucking in the sides.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until well puffed and golden brown on the bottom.

Carefully remove the very hot pan from the oven with oven gloves or a thick towel and let stand for 10 minutes.

Put a plate with a larger diameter than your pan (3-4cm at least) then with an oven glove on the hand holding the plate (to avoid any spilling caramel), swiftly invert the Tarte Tatin. If you need to, arrange the apples with a spoon, then bring to the table and serve with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.

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