Taken from Rick Stein's French Odyssey
250 g puff pastry
75 g softened butter
175 g caster sugar
10 large firm dessert apples, such as Cox’s
Vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche, to serve
20cm Tarte Tatin dish or other suitable ovenproof dish
- Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and cut out a 26-cm disc, slightly larger than the top of a 20cm tarte tatin dish or reliably non-stick cast-iron frying pan.
- Transfer to a baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/Gas Mark 5.
- Spread the butter over the base of the tarte tatin dish or frying pan, and sprinkle over the sugar in a thick, even layer.
- Peel, core and halve the apples, trimming them very slightly if necessary to fit but keeping their nicely rounded shape, and then tightly pack them, rounded-side down, on top of the sugar.
- Place the tarte tatin dish or frying pan over a medium heat and cook for 20–25minutes, gently shaking the pan now and then, until the butter and sugar have amalgamated with the apple juices to produce a rich toffee-coloured sauce and the apples are just tender.
- At first the caramel will be pale and liquid from the juices from the apples, but as you keep on cooking the juices will evaporate and the butter and sugar will become darker and thicker. Just take care that the butter and sugar are not allowed to burn.
- Lift the pastry on top of the apples and tuck the edges down inside the pan. Prick the pastry 5 or 6 times with the tip of a small, sharp knife, transfer to the oven and bake for 25 minutes until the pastry is puffed up, crisp and golden.
- Remove the tarte from the oven and leave it to rest for 5 minutes. Then run a knife round the edge of the tarte and invert it onto a round, flat serving plate.
- Serve warm, cut into wedges, with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.
- You can use lots of other fruit with this recipe such as pears and plums. The plums don't need to be cooked for quite as long before the pastry is added. Cook the sugar and butter for a while before adding the plums to the pan.
- If you don't have a tarte tatin dish or an oven-proof frying pan, a loose-bottomed cake tin works well - just cook the fruit and caramel in a saucepan first and then arrange in the cake tin when ready to add the pastry.