The Tarte Tatin (Pardon my French) or Upside-Down Apple Tart

 

This tart will serve 8 people and as you may or may not know, is a famous French specialty (so that if you’re not French or you’re not living in France, people will think you’re a master chef or something amazing of the sort). It’s mostly famous coz it’s omnomnom delicious but also because well, it’s an upside-down tart; the concept is crazy yet genius. If I haven’t managed to convince you to make this yet, think of this: for all you health freaks out there, this tart will provide you with one of your 5-a-day (as most tarts do really…), which let’s face it, is always a plus!

Bear in mind you don’t have to make the pastry yourself as it is the trickiest bit, even for experienced bakers, but it’s always better if you do.

For this brilliant tart you will need,

For the sweet short-crust pastry:

  • 140g plain white flour
  • 110g butter, cut into small pieces and chilled
  • 1 ½ tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4-4,5 tbsp of very cold water

OR

  • Just buy some.

For the filling:

  • 2kg crisp cooking apples such as the Granny Smith (or eating apples if you really can’t find cooking ones, but you’re going to cook them, so really, cooking apples are more fitting.)
  • 60g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)

For the baking-dish:

  • 30g butter, softened
  • 85g melted butter
  • 85g granulated sugar

For serving:

  • Double cream OR vanilla ice cream
  1. First you need to make the pastry. Place the flour, sugar, salt and pieces of
    butter in a big bowl.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                
  2. Before you do anything, I should specify that the colder your hands are to do this, the better, the less you touch the butter directly in the process, the better. Finally, do not overdo this step as the fat will be blended more thoroughly after. Right so: rub the flour and fat together rapidly between your finger tips until the fat is broken into pieces the size of oatmeal flakes.                                                                                                                                                                 
  3. Add the water and blend quickly with one hand, fingers held together and slightly cupped (like when the Queen waves to the crowds) as you rapidly blend the dough by cupping it into a mass.
  4. Sprinkle up to 1 tbsp more water by drops over any unmassed remains and add quickly to the main body of the dough.
  5. Press the dough firmly into a roughly shaped ball; it should hold together and be pliable but not damp or sticky.
  6. Place the dough on a lightly floured pastry board. With the heel of one hand, NOT the palm as it is too warm, rapidly press the pastry down and away from you in a firm quick smear of 15cm. This is referred to as the ‘fraisage’.
  7. Once that’s all done, wrap the dough ball in baking baker and refrigerate.
  8. Now, for the filling. Peel the apples, cut them in 8 to 12 pieces lengthwise and take the core out of each wedge.
  9. Put them in a bowl with the 60g of sugar and optional cinnamon and toss.
  10. Heavily butter a 23cm to 26cm in diameter baking-dish, especially on the base.
  11. Sprinkle evenly half the sugar indicated in the “baking-dish ingredients” (so approx. 42g) in the base of the baking dish.
  12. Arrange a third of the apples over it, and sprinkle with a third of the melted butter.
  13. Repeat with a layer of half the remaining apples and half the remaining butter and again with the apples and butter you have left.
  14. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar over the apples.                                                                      
  15. Preheat oven to 190°C.
  16. Take the pastry out of the fridge and roll it out to a thickness of approximately 3 millimeters.
  17. Cut it into a circle the size of the top of the baking dish and place it over the apples, tucking the outside of the pastry circle inside the edge of the dish.
  18. Cut 4 or 5 holes in the pastry with a knife to allow the cooking steam to escape.                              
  19. Make sure your cooking rack is in the lower part of your oven and bake for 45 to 60 minutes
  20. If the pastry browns too much while it’s baking cover the baking dish lightly with aluminium foil.
  21. The tart is ready when you tilt the dish and see that thick brown syrup rather than a light liquid exudes from the apples between the crust and the edge of the dish.
  22. Immediately unmold the tart on to a serving dish.
  23. If the apples are not light brown (kind of caramel colour) which more often than not, they aren’t, sprinkle heavily the apples with icing sugar and put below a medium heat grill for several minutes until the apples start to caramelize.                   

Preferably eat warm, and with ice cream or double cream. I mean it’s only right.

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