apple time with a tarte tatin

autumn brings the first apples to the garden, so it is the perfect time to indulge in this extremely tasty and easy french cake, which is foolproof and delish … it is a special treat and defo NOT low on sugar, hence make sure that you use a good quality cane sugar:

apple tarte tatin

tarte tatin

even though it is easy, it requires a tarte tatin mould, as you need a dish that you can use on the hob and in the oven alike – there are several varieties available, mine is made from copper and is quite heavy, so you can be certain that the result is always great:

tarte tatin mould

as to the recipe, i will (for once) be more precise, as with baking there is not as much leeway as with cooking. therefore you will get more detailed info on measurements!

for the dough:

in a mixing bowl, mix (with your hands, as you really need to knead the dough) approx. 125 g white flour, 50-60g unsalted butter (needs to be cold), a pinch of fleur de sel, 1 tbsp brown cane sugar and 1-2 tbsp ice-cold water. you need to rub the cold butter into the flour and knead it all together with your hands – it should not be dry (after all it is not a crumble) and not too soft either. if the dough is too dry, add a little bit more water – if it is too soft then add more flour. knead the dough into a ball, cover with cling film and put in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.

for the upside-down apple ‘filling’:

peel and decore about 1kg of apples (it should be a crumbly variety, such as golden delicious, goldrenette or gala). but them into quarters and then each quarter into three to four pieces lengthwise. sprinkle with a bit of lemon juice to stop them from turning brown.

in the tarte tatin mould, melt about 150g brown cane sugar on the hob on a low heat – it will turn into caramel. be careful not to burn it as then it turns bitter. once fully melted, add 50g of unsalted butter and the vanilla pods from the quarter of a vanilla bean. stir well with a wood spoon to ensure that the caramel and butter fully amalgamte. add the apples, slightly press them down so there are no gaps and the apple pieces are evenly spread in the mould. leave on the hob while you prepare the dough cover.

roll out the dough between two sheets of baking paper, you need it to be thin and round and slightly bigger than the tarte tatin mould (if you have a mould of 26cm diameter, the rolled out dough should be about 27cm in size). carefully remove the dough from the baking paper and put it on top of the apples and slightly tug it in at the rim – the apples need to be completely covered (don’t worry if it looks foldy, the cake will be put upside down after baking in any case). slightly prick the dough with the fork a couple of times. put the mold in the preheated oven (200 degrees celsius) and bake it for about 30-35 minutes – the dough should be golden brown in colour.

when taking it out of the oven, put a serving plate on the tarte tatin mould and quickly turn it upside down so the cake can slide onto the plate in one piece. take care of your fingers as the mould will be very hot.

you can serve the tarte tatin immediately – the apples will be juicy and cooked and held together by the caramel and the dough will be slightly crispy. you can also let it cool down but then the dough might become soggy if you let it stand for too long. erve it with whipped cream if desired, but i find it best ‘en naturelle’, i.e. just as it is … hard-pressed i would say that you could sprinkle some chopped and roasted hazlenuts or almonds on top for crunchiness, but really there is nothing extra needed 🙂

for a vegan option, you might want to substitute the butter with vegan butter, though i have not tried it that way (i would not recommend using coconut oil as the end result might turn out too greasy and in my opinion the caramel and the oil will not mix as well as caramel and butter do) – so do send me your feedback if you bake a vegan version! i am more than curious to find out…

ps. this a recipe that works well with pears too or with plums!

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