This is a French classic. It sounds complicated but its not. The result is spectacular and utterly delicious, the apples complement the caramel sweetness. Serve with Crème Fraiche or a top flight ice cream. Indulge and enjoy!!
250g caster sugar
65g butter, diced
10 eating apples (PINK LADY ARE BRILLIANT!!), peeled, cored and cut into 6 pieces (each apple), Option. Add two Bramley apples.
250g shortcrust pastry/5 sheets filo pastry
Crème Fraiche or ice cream
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 7/AGA roasting oven .Place the pan in which you’re going to cook the tart over a high heat/Aga boiling plate, (a heavy frypan with metal handle is best) and pour in enough sugar to cover the bottom to a depth of 3mm or so. Leave this to gently melt and start to turn to caramel. Once the sugar starts to melt, add the diced butter tilt the pan , don’t use a utensil, it will get covered in goo! Meanwhile, peel and core the apples and cut them in half. Roll out the pastry to circle 5mm thick and about 28cm in diameter – it should be about 3cm bigger than the skillet. Return to the caramel: turn up the heat and watch it very carefully. When the caramel goes very dark and starts to produce yellow/ brown bubbles and smoke (that is, it is just beginning to burn), quickly add the apples to the pan rounded side down and take the pan off the heat for a minute. The action of putting the cold apples in the caramel will stop the caramel burning. Put the pan back over a medium heat (boiling or simmering plate) and cook the apples for 30 minutes.or longer if you put two apple layers. The caramel sauce should be thicker having absorbed the apple juice. Remove the pan from the heat, lay the pastry disc on top and tuck in the edges. Using a pointed knife or skewer, poke a few holes in the pastry to allow the steam out. Transfer the pan to the roasting oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and golden. Take the pan out of the oven, and give it a little shake. It should move. If not drizzle a little water around the edge of the tart. Carefully cover the pan with a large serving plate and rapidly turn it over – again being sure not to burn yourself on the melted sugar. You should have a gorgeous, golden and caramelly tarte tatin – cut into slices and serve with ice cream or cream.
For an extra French accent, douse the tarte with a small ladle of flaming calvados or cognac after you have removed it from the oven.