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Tarte Tatin (upside down apple pie)


Mother-in-law Meta made this with me and I’ve made many times since. Prep takes about 30 mins, 1 hour or longer for dough to sit, cook time: about 30 min, cool down time 45 to 1 hr

Serves: 6-8 servings


  1. 1 stick unsalted butter – soften to room temperature

  2. 1 egg, lightly beaten

  3. 1 1/2 TBS cold water

  4. 1 tsp vanilla

  5. 1 pinch salt

  6. 1 2/3 cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted

  7. 2 TBS sugar

Caramel Apple Filling:

  1. 1/2 stick unsalted butter

  2. 3/4 cup sugar

  3. 6 – 8 hard apples or pears peeled, cut in 4 pieces,  remove core (recommended: hard Granny Smiths or Reine de reinette) and

  4. 1/2 cup dried  craisins, apricots or any small dried fruit

  5. 1 tablespoons sugar, for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Make the pastry: Either by hand or using a stand mixer with paddle attachment, put butter in bowl and turn on low speed for a few seconds. Add the egg followed by the water, & vanilla. Mix for a few seconds and then add the salt, sugar and the flour.  Work fast because the gluten in the flour makes the dough go elastic.

Stop the mixer once it gets clumpy, before the dough turns into a ball. Using your hands knead into a ball and flatten into a circle about 6 inches wide. Place plastic wrap over a plate, placing dough on top, then wrap and place in the refrigerator for 1 hour minimum to 24 hours. This lets the gluten relax and when you roll out the pastry it stays flat.

Caramel Apple Filling: Cut the butter into little bits and scatter on a 10-inch baking dish or oven proof pan (my 10″ cast iron pan worked great). Shake the sugar over it and add 2 tablespoons of water to keep it from crystallizing. Caramelize the sugar by placing the dish on a medium heat, for about 5 to 8 minutes. When you see it start to brown, using a spatula, stir around a bit to even the browning. Turn off the heat. Once the butter and sugar have caramelized take the pan off the heat. Place the pieces of apple vertically on top of the caramel in the baking tin, taking care to fill the gaps with more pieces so they stick together in a solid mass. Sprinkle in small dried fruit. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of sugar over the apples. Put the dish back on a heat at medium-low until the caramel starts bubbling up through the apples, for 8 to 10 minutes .

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Roll the pastry out to about 1/4 inch thick or a little less and place over the apples folding it in at the edges. Make 3 – 4 slits with a knife to let steam out when baking. Bake for 18 minutes and then let it rest for 45 mins to 1 hr to cool completely to room temp. It is important that you do this otherwise the apples will fall apart when you turn it over. Using a knife, loosen the crust from the side. Then take a dinner plate and put it over the baking pan. Turn it over.  Slowly remove the baking pan, the Tarte Tatin should release. Serve with vanilla ice cream, heavy cream or whipped cream.

My experience:

Fantastic Tarte Tatin recipe! I made it with Granny Smith apples. The crucial point about recipe is timing. It takes experience to decide the exact point when to stop cooking the sugar/butter and start adding the fruit. It also takes experience to decide the exact point to stop cooking the fruit layered in the sugar/butter before adding the crust. The outcome of the fruit and the dish as a whole will be determined based on that timing. Though it worked for me the first time.

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