Joy of tarte tatin


Windows video
QuickTime video

Go to the recipe for tarte tatin

A while back we had a giveaway for the Joy of Cooking cookbook’s latest edition. We were impressed by this American culinary tome – it really is quite an almanac, and we use it regularly. No surprise that when we decided to bake a tarte tatin it was right there in the index.

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Tarte tatin is traditionally made with apple but we have used pear once before, and Lenny reckons you could even do it with plums. Loads of butter and sugar are simmered into a buttery, sticky toffee-caramel sauce that fuses the slices of apple to a layer of puff pastry. It’s cooked upside down, first on a hob, then in the oven, and you invert it to serve.

Tarte tatin is traditionally made with apple but we have used pear once before, and Lenny reckons you could even do it with plums. Loads of butter and sugar are simmered into a buttery, sticky toffee-caramel sauce that fuses the slices of apple to a layer of puff pastry. It’s cooked upside down, first on a hob, then in the oven, and you invert it to serve.

We used pre-made puff pastry but if you’re brave you could attempt that feat yourself. We’re leaving it for a possible future episode.

You can serve it after cooling for a short while or set it aside, reheat and serve later in the day.

- Waz

Easy tarte tatin recipe

This recipe is from The Joy of Cooking. You will need a skillet for this dish – a pan that you can put on the stove and then in the oven. See the video for the cast iron skillet that we use. It’s about 30cm in diameter overall – the base is about 25cm. A half-quantity of the ingredients below is enough for a skillet of this size. You can do this with apricots, pears, plums, and you could also sprinkle currants, sultanas or raisins on the top – or should that be on the bottom?

1 sheet puff pastry
6 large golden delicious apples
8 tbsp butter unsalted
1 cup sugar
ice cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 375F/190C. Peel and core the apples and slice each into 6 wedges, which should keep them nice and thick.

Melt the butter in the pan, then sprinkle the sugar all over. Arrange the apple segments uniformly around the pan (see video). Leave the pan to bubble on a high heat for 6-10 minutes until you’ve got a toffee mixture that’s golden brown and soft. When the toffee turns from butterscotch in colour to deep amber, turn all the apple pieces and cook for another 5 minutes, then turn the heat off.

Shape the puff pastry sheet rougly into a square, then lay it across the apples. Tuck the sides down next to the apples so there’s no pastry hanging over the edge and put the skillet into the oven.

Check after 25 minutes; it’s ready when the pastry is puffed up and golden brown. Take it out of the oven and cool for 15-20 minutes.

Loosen the edges with a knife and turn the tarte out onto a plate. If some of the apples stay in the pan, don’t worry, just put them back in their rightful place. Serve with the ice cream.

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10 Responses to “Joy of tarte tatin”


  • mmmmm… dee-licious!

  • cathy from chico, ca, usa

    I always thought Phyllo and Puff Pastry were the same thing. I thought perhaps Lenny was wrong for a moment (how foolish of me!) before I Googled it:

    Puff Pastry: gives the most even rising, most flaky effect and crispest texture. Made of many thin layers of flour and water between many thin layers of butter.

    Phyllo (Filo) Dough: made by flour and water only, which is kneaded and stretched so thin that it looks like tissue paper. The dough can encase a filling, and brushed with butter in between the layers, after baking it resembles puff pastry. This is harder to work with and it doesn’t expand when baked like puff pastry.

  • I love making a tarte tintin, so easy and delicious. A great way to use up seasonal fruit. For Canadian Thanksgiving a couple of weeks ago I made one with pears and pecans. It was a hit at the dinner table :P Instead of puff pastry, I made it with a basic pastry recipe, which was still very yummy…

  • That was super fun to watch!

  • Great episode guys. Looks really tasty!

  • cathy from chico, ca, usa

    Who won The Joy of Cooking books? How many people entered? Thanks for the excellent podcast!

  • Hey guys,
    I just walked outside to get the mail and tripped over a package. To my surprise it was The Joy of Cooking and the facsimile copy! Thank you so much. This is a bit of a Christmas miracle!

  • I just got mine too! What a wonderful surprise. Thanks Waz and Lenny.
    Alyssa

  • florian from berlin

    i made puff pastry myself. once. for croissants, the recipe was from a cordon bleu cook book (brunch buffet). it contained a vast amount of butter, i think it was more than the flour, actually. you’re supposed to fold, roll, chill the dough (yeast dough) and the butter and then repeat quite a number of times. i couldn’t be bothered with all the chilling in between, so quite a bit of butter ran out in the baking process. the misshapen croissant thingies were still extremely yummy and entirely consumed by a cast of already quite stuffed brunch guests. we were quite glad not all of that butter was contained in the finished product, so we could pretend, they were “light” croissants.

    to sum it all up: it is worth making the puff pastry from scratch, it’s not even difficult, but, as waz might say: it takes for bloody ever.

  • Yes, Filo pastry for a Tarte Tatin doesn’t work too well, but when next you make one, sprinkle a little Cinnamon over the apples, or better still a few drops of rosewater essence. Delicious !

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