Glut of apples? 🍏 Yeah, you could turn them into compote for spreading, apple sauce for baking, or preserve the apples for future use, but isn’t tarte tatin a much more enticing and delicious prospect? The French classic with flaky pastry, soft apple segments, rich golden caramel sauce that turns sticky and super sweet 😋.

Sorry, we’re drooling already, we’ll just get right onto the recipe…

tarte tatin merle la joonas

Tarte Tatin 🍏

Serves six


  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 185g dark brown sugar
  • a pinch of salt
  • 5-6 large cooking or eating apples (Granny Smith are fine here!)
  • 1 sheet of ready-rolled puff pastry, taken out of the fridge and unravelled
  • double cream, to serve



1. Melt the butter in an ovenproof frying or cast-iron pan (23cm or larger) and when melted, add the sugar. Allow to melt together, stirring every so often to help it along.

2. Meanwhile, core and peel the apples, then chop into quarters.

3. After five minutes or so, the caramel will have reduced and darkened to a golden colour. At this point we love to sprinkle in a pinch or two of salt to make salted caramel. Then turn the heat down to low and add in the apple quarters in one compact layer.

4. For the next 20 minutes or so, keep an eye on the apples as they cook, turning each one once the underside is golden. If any excess liquid leaches out of the apples and slackens the sauce, simply ramp up the heat to make it evaporate and thicken again; you want the caramel to be sticky, not runny. If it’s too thick, slosh in some Calvados, brandy or liqueur of your choice.


tarte tatin The Kitchn

Image (c) The Kitchn

5. Halfway there, heat your oven to 220°C (200°C fan, gas mark 7) and now that your pastry has slightly softened, it’s time to assemble. Cut your pastry about 1″ larger than the circumference of the pan (using a similar sized plate is easiest).

6. Take the pan off the heat and ensure you’re happy with how the apples are arranged – packed tightly together. Being careful as the pan will still be hot, place the pastry sheet on top of the caramel apples and tuck gently down the sides of the pan using the edge of a spoon. No need to egg wash, as the pastry will be flipped and lie underneath when served.

7. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes in the centre of the oven. The pastry will be golden and puffed, then take out and allow to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes so the caramel cools and holds everything together (this makes it easier to flip later).

8. Now, the moment of truth: Run a knife around the edges of the pan to help with the flip. Using a teatowel on the handle of the pan, place a large serving plate on top of the pan and confidently flip over onto a table or work surface. Don’t worry if an apple or two fall out of place, the caramel is still warm so you can nudge it all back together again.

Serve with splashes of double cream or vanilla ice-cream that’s been taken out of the fridge for about 10 minutes until it’s soft and meltingly scoopable.

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