We all crave for tarts once in a while. Like brownies, tarts have an irreplaceable spot in the world of pastries and desserts. Who wouldn’t give in to this wonderful homemade caramel and walnut tart from Dello Mano? The base is not your typical pastry crust. It’s our luxury brownie base with a punch of espresso! Delicious.
Tart is a very popular baked dish consisting of a pastry base and a filling on top. It’s basically a pie without the pastry cover. The crust is usually shortcrust pastry and the filling can be sweet or savoury. Speaking of fillings, there are endless of choices, from custard to jams and the most common – caramelised or fresh fruits.
If you love tarts, for sure you also love tarte tatin – another magnificent creation in the world of baking! Tarte tatin is an upside-down pastry in which the fruit filling is caramelised in sugar and butter, producing a very aromatic and distinctly sweet flavour that matches perfectly with the pastry.
Like brownies, this wonderful pastry dish has a very interesting history. Research shows that it is a product of yet another kitchen mishap which happened somewhere in the 1880s, at Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. The hotel was run by sisters Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin. The story goes that one day, Stephanie was feeling overworked and she forgot about the apples being cooked in sugar and butter that were supposed to be used as filling for her pie. She tried to rescue the dish by putting the pastry base on top of the pan of apples which have started to caramelise, and then put the whole pan in the oven. As a result, she created an upside down pie, which she never knew would eventually become a world-famous pastry dish.
Historians and gourmets, however, argue whether tarte tatin was completely a new creation or just an improved version of the ‘tarte solognotte’ – a traditional baked dish in Sologne region, which surrounds Lamotte-Beuvron. Research also suggests that even though Tarte Tatin became a specialty dish at Hotel Tatin, the sisters never wrote a cookbook or publish their recipe, and didn’t even call it ‘Tarte Tatin’. The recognition was bestowed upon them by a French author and epicure and the Parisian restaurant Maxim, which is believed to have copied the recipe (by sending over a spy who acted as gardener to Hotel Tatin) and made it a signature dish in their restaurant.
Making Tarte Tatin at Home
Unlike pies and tarts, it doesn’t matter if your pie crust is not that perfectly made, or crumbles as you put it on the plate. It even doesn’t matter if you flip the tart incorrectly. The beautiful, dripping caramelised sauce will surely cover all those little imperfections, and the taste of your Tarte Tatin remains fabulous, like a heaven-sent. Scoop some ice cream on top or tangy crème fraiche and serve while still warm.
RECIPE 1: Jamie Oliver
Here a famous Tarte Tatin recipe by Jamie Oliver, published in his book “Jamie Does Recipe”. According to him, this recipe gives you the basics so you’d be able to make your own tweaks and make Tarte Tatin using pears, quinces, peaches, apricots or a mixture of fruits.
- Plain flour , for dusting
- 500 g puff pastry
- 5 small eating apples, approximately 800g, a mixture of sweet and acidic varieties
- 100 g golden caster sugar
- 100 ml Calvados
- 1 vanilla pod, halved length ways, seeds scraped out
- 50 g butter, cubed
- Preheat the oven to 190˚C/375˚F/gas 5.
- Dust a clean surface with flour and roll the pastry dough in a circle, until it’s just over 0.5cm thick. Put it aside.
- Peel the apples and halve them horizontally. Remove the core and seeds.
- Put the ovenproof pan on a medium heat. Put the sugar, Calvados, vanilla seeds and pod and let the mixture dissolve and cook until it produces a light caramel.
- Once the caramel started to look and smell delicious, add the apples. Carefully stir and cook for five minutes.
- Add the cubed butter.
- Lay the pastry on top and carefully tucked it down right into the edges using a wooden spoon so you don’t touch the caramel.
- Bake the tarte Tatin for about 25 to 30 minutes or until golden, with crispy caramelised pieces bubbling up from under the edges.
- Flip it onto a serving plate that is larger than the pan.
- Serve while still warm, with a spoonful of crème fraîche or ice cream on top of each slice.
RECIPE 2: Master Chef
Here’s another recipe for Apple Tarte Tartin presented in MasterChef Australia:
- 3 Golden Delicious apples
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
- 20g unsalted butter, chopped
- Ready-rolled puff pastry sheet
- Cream, to serve
- Preheat oven to 220C.
- Peel apples and cut each into quarters. Remove the core and seeds. Toss them into a large bowl with the lemon juice and 1 tablespoon sugar.
- Cut pastry using a 22-centimetre frying pan as a guide, into a round shape slightly larger than the pan. Prick with a pork.
- Melt butter in a 22-centimetre frying pan over medium heat. Put in the remaining sugar. Let the mixture caramelise.
- Arrange the apples in the pan, and cook them until caramel is bubbling up in the pan. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent burnt spots.
- Turn off heat.
- Lay the pasty on top of the caramelised apple, tuck the edges into the sides of the pan.
- Put the pan in the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until the puff pastry has risen and cooked.
- Let the tarte stay in the pan for at least 10 minutes before flipping onto the serving plate. Serve with cream.
RECIPE 3: Eric Lanlard
Pear Tarte Tatin recipe
Pears make a delicious twist on traditional tarte tatin. So if you love pears and have plenty of it in your pantry, it’s time to make this wonderful pastry dish. The following recipe is from Eric Lanlard, a French pâtissier and celebrity chef who hosts the show Baking Mad.
- 1 x 375g pack ready-rolled puff pastry, chilled
- Plain flour, for dusting
- 50g (2oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 100g (3 ½ oz) golden caster sugar
- 2 tbsp Poire William liqueur or lemon juice
- 4-6 ripe pears
- 1 tsp juniper berries
- To serve: crème fraîche or fromage frais
- Preheat oven to 220C (fan 200C)/425F/gas 7.
- Prepare a 24cm (9 ½ in) tarte tatin dish or an ovenproof pan.
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. It should be round and bigger than the pan you are using.
- Coat the pan with the butter, sprinkler sugar, and set aside.
- Place the liqueur or lemon juice in a large bowl.
- Peel the pears, take out the core and seeds, and cut each into four slices. Toss the liqueur or lemon juice.
- Place the pan on a medium-high heat, carefully moving the pan as not to burn the sugar. One it has caramelised, remove from the heat and scatter the juniper berries into the caramel.
- Take the pears from the juice, and put them in the pan. The rounded sides of the pears should be pressed lightly into the caramelised sugar so they look gorgeous once you flip them over.
- Place on a medium-high heat. The pears will slightly shrink as they cook. Cook for about 10 minutes or until the pears has nice dark caramel colour and feel bouncy when pressed.
- Remove from heat and quickly layer the rolled pastry on top and tuck the edges down the sides.
- Bake in the centre of the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry cover has risen and is golden in colour.
- Flip the pan into a larger serving plate, giving a good shake so it comes out nice and clean.
- Serve with lots of crème fraîche or fromage frais.
True our Dello Mano heart lies with brownies, however if you are looking for a break away from a chocolate gift this is a wonderful gift idea. Sticky and moreish, sweet and undeniably addictive. Indeed, Tarte Tatin is one of France’s sweetest mistakes!