This wonderful caramel-flavoured apple tart is surprisingly simple to make, but somehow, much more impressive than a normal apple pie. Once prepared it should be deliciously sweet and full of mouth-watering flavours and textures of caramel and apple. According to legend, Tart Tatin was created when one of the sisters running the Hotel Tatin in France in the 19th century was trying to bake a normal apple pie, but left the apples cooking in the hot sugar and butter for too long and burnt it. She decided to serve it anyway, and to her luck, found that it went down a storm with the hotel guests. Whether or not the story is true, the dish has been popular in France ever since. Don’t be scared of turning the tart upside down just before you serve it. It should come out easily enough and it can be repaired quite easily if any pieces do start to fall apart. Like any apple pie, it is best served hot with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or lashings of whipped cream. This recipe uses a ready-made sweet short crust pastry, but if you would rather then you can make your own using half fat to flour with a little sugar and beaten egg yolk.
- Ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry 1 pack
- Tart apples 1 lb.
- Butter 2 ½ oz.
- Castor sugar 2 oz
- Vanilla essence ½ tsp
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- Heat the oven to 390 F.
- Peel, core and chop the apples into lengthways-slices. Melt half of the butter in a heavy-bottomed heat-proof cake tin or pie dish. You need to use a dish that can take direct heat from underneath.
- Add half of the sugar mixed with the vanilla essence. Then layer the apple slices over the sugar and butter mixture. Try to arrange the slices in a circular pattern. Carefully heat the dish from underneath on the hob for 15 minutes until the apples start to give off a caramel aroma.
- Roll out the pastry and use it to make a pastry cover for the apple slices. Bake for 25-30 minutes until the pastry top is crisp and golden.
- Remove from the oven and turn the tart upside down onto a heatproof serving dish. Dot the remaining butter over the top of the apples and sprinkle on the remaining sugar. Heat under the grill until nicely caramelised. Serve immediately.
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