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Here is the topsy-turvy history of a legendary tart of caramelized apples that is cooked upside down but served with the right side up!
Tarte Tatin is named after the Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, who ran a hotel-restaurant at the end of the 19th century in Lamotte-Beuvron in Sologne. Conflicting versions state that this irresistible dessert was created by accident (they dropped the tart on the floor and baked it upside down), by a simple oversight (they left baked apples in the oven for too long) or was simply an old local speciality made famous by the sisters. Tarte Tatin was first served in Paris in 1926 at Maxim's restaurant and remains to this day a world-renowned, all-time French classic dessert.
Before starting this Tarte Tatin recipe, make sure you have organised all the necessary ingredients.
Peel the apples...
... cut them in half...
... and remove the seeds and core with a knife.
In a tarte tatin dish, melt the butter.
Add the castor sugar into a thin steam.
Combine gently with an Exoglass® spatula...
... until fully incorporated.
Make a brown caramel. Make sure not to let the caramel darken too much, as this would result in a bitter taste.
Heat the caramel until the desired colour is obtained. Remove from the heat.
Arrange the apple halves on the warm caramel. Hold them vertically for a while...
... making sure they are arranged in a tight pattern. Don't forget they will reduce in size while baking! If you have some apples left, cut them in smaller pieces and arrange them on top. Add cinnamon (optional).
Cook for 10 minutes on high heat. This method will allow the apples to absorb the caramel when it melts and to pre-cook the apples.
Flour your kitchen worktop. Roll out the shortcrust pastry...
... to a thickness of 3 or 4mm, and give it a round shape with a slightly larger diameter than the pan.
Here I am using a tart ring that is slightly bigger (2 or 3 cm on each side) than the tarte tatin dish.
Gently cover the apples with the pastry.
Fold the edges inside the pan.
Gently press on the pastry with your hands to make sure it sticks to the apples, without creating holes in it.
With the tip of a knife, make a small hole in the centre. This will allow the steam to come out.
Preheat the oven to 180-200°C (gas 4-6) and bake until the pastry is completely cooked. The pastry is ready when the caramel starts to leak on the sides. Remove from the oven.
Cover the pan with a large, deep plate to keep the juice.
Hold the pan and plate together with a hand towel...
... then flip with a quick, sharp movement.
Take extra precautions, as you might get burnt with splashes of boiling caramel!
Lift the hot tarte tatin dish...
... and enjoy! Serve the tart as is, without custard, crème fraîche or ice cream. Otherwise, it would no longer be called a Tarte Tatin.
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