The classic ‘upside down’ French tart, usually served warm as a pudding. Do not butter the tin before pouring in the caramel otherwise the caramel will be cloudy and not clear.
COOK TIME 40-50 minutes, plus setting and cooling
175g (6oz) granulated sugar butter, for greasing
200g (7oz) peeled and cored Bramley apples, diced into 2cm (3⁄4 in) chunks
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 large eating apples
plain flour, for dusting
1 x 375g block of all-butter puff pastry (see tips)
1. You will need a 23cm (9in) fixed-base cake tin with deep sides.
2. First make the caramel. Measure the granulated sugar and 6 tablespoons of water into a stainless-steel saucepan. Stir gently over a low heat until the sugar has fully dissolved, then remove the spoon and increase the heat. Boil until a golden straw colour (see tips) and immediately pour into the cake tin, letting it spread evenly over the base, then set aside (see tips). Once the caramel has set (after about 30 minutes), butter the tin sides above the caramel line.
3. Meanwhile, place the Bramley apples, caster sugar and 2 tablespoons of water in another saucepan. Stir over a medium heat, then cover with a lid and simmer for about 5-10 minutes until the apples are soft. Remove from the heat, then use a fork to mash the apples to a purée and leave to cool.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7.
5. Peel and core the eating apples, then thinly slice so they are about 5mm (1⁄4 in) thick. Arrange a layer over the caramel in the tin in a circular pattern. Start from the outside of the tin and work inwards, using larger pieces for the outer edge of the circle, and smaller slices for the inner ring. Scatter the remaining apples on top and press down.
6. Add the cooled apple purée in spoonfuls over the sliced apples and carefully spread out in an even layer.
7. On a work surface lightly dusted in our, roll out the pastry into a circle 2cm-3cm (3⁄4 in -11⁄4 in) bigger than the tin. Cover the apples with the pastry and tuck in the edges to make a downward lip. Make a small cross in the top of the pastry with a sharp knife, to let the steam out.
8. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes, with a baking tray on the shelf underneath to catch any sugary drips, until the pastry is crisp and golden and the apples are soft.
9. Carefully turn the tarte tatin out on to a plate and spoon the syrup over the apples. Serve with cream or crème fraîche.
Can be made up to 6 hours ahead; leave in the tin to reheat, and turn out to serve.
MARY’S CLASSIC TIPS
If you’re short of time, you can use ready-rolled puff pastry, though you may need to roll it out a little more to fit this size of tin.
It is very important not to let the caramel get too dark or it will taste bitter.
To clean the empty caramel pan, don’t attempt to scrub o the hardened sugar – just refill with hot water and pop back on the hob. Bring to the boil and the caramel will melt off and can be poured away. Alternatively, a dishwasher will do the job.
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