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Tarte Tatin . . . classical versus modern

One of these classics in cuisine is the Tarte Tatin.

Something that never fails to amaze me is that for all the new cuisines, food styles and dishes that arrive on our doorstep, for all the new food fads that appear, most of them just as quickly disappear into oblivion. Yet the classics remain, much the same as music really.

Tarte Tatin is a simple idea that has stood the test of time, originally made with apple, many chefs today have taken this classic and use pears or many other fruits or even make savoury variations on the theme. But they are still all based on the original dish that was created in the Nineteenth century by Stephanie Tatin. Stephanie and her younger sister Caroline took over the running of the family hotel, aptly named ‘Hotel Tatin’ on the death of their father Jean in 1888.

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Hotel Tatin, the home of Tarte Tatin

Caroline TatinCaroline Tatin
7th March 1847 to 2nd May 1911

Caroline ran the hospitality side of the business, received the guests of the hotel and was eventually considered as a friend to many. It was said of her that she was "the small princess of the Sologne”.


Stéphanie TatinStéphanie Tatin
27th May 1838 to 14th July 1917

Stéphanie, a cordon bleu cook meanwhile dealt with the kitchen. Morning and evening it was she that fired up its furnace, cooked the meals and ended up creating this fine dish.

Made with just four basic ingredients, Tarte Tatin is a sure to impress dessert that can be knocked up in no time. It does however require a frying pan that can be placed in the oven, so that old one that you have knocking around, you know the one, the one that the handle fell off but has never been thrown out. How did I know you have one? Am I psychic? Nope, not at all, but every home kitchen seems to have one! Well now you have a reason to keep it and more to the point use it, but a good scrub up will mean being able to take it to the table and turn the Tarte Tatin out in front of your guests.

Wonderfully rustic, extremely rich, serve Tarte Tatin for brunch, lunch or as a dessert after a dinner. Try it with some clotted cream, crème fraiche, marscapone, some thick farmhouse yoghurt or slices of aged cheddar! Yes I kid you not, apple tart or pie of any kind is just superb with cheddar! Oh and do not be put off how small it is, a 20cm tart will serve six people . . . it is that rich!

So lets stay with the classical and original version of Tarte Tatin . . . try it and then let your imagination run free and try the method with other ingredients besides apples such as:

  • bananas
  • pears
  • peaches
  • tomatoes
  • roasted capsicums

. . . the variations of Tarte Tatin are endless . . . bon appetit!


Ingredients for Tarte Tatin

Cox's apples (must be tart/sour)



butter (room temperature)



castor sugar



puff pastry - 22 cm round/3mm thick



Caramelise apples
Caramelised apples

How to make Tarte Tatin

  • Peel, core and cut the apples into segments (I place mine in water with lemon juice to stop them going brown.)
  • Lightly cover the base of frying pan with butter and sprinkle liberally with the castor sugar.
  • Arrange the apple segments in a circular fashion and place on a low heat until the apples start to caramelise.
  • Pre-heat oven to 200ºC
  • Roll out the pastry approximately 3mm thick and cut into a circle big enough to cover the base of a frying pan with a 2cm overlap. (My pan has a lid so I use the lid to cut my pastry to the right size.)
  • Carefully cover with the pastry round and tuck in the edges, bake at 200ºC for approximately 15 minutes, until the pastry has risen and turned golden brown.
  • Remove from the oven and with a knife ensure the pastry has not stuck to the sides and the caramel is fully formed.
  • Turn upside down onto a serving plate, the pastry is served as the base and the apples should be sitting on it all wonderfully caramelised and arranged. So before lifting the pan ensure the apples are not stuck to the pan, if they are, gently prise them off with a palate knife.

Chef's Tip for Tarte Tatin

The secret to Tarte Tatin is heat control. Care must be taken not to burn the caramel but also to ensure that a caramel is formed. If on removing the tart from the oven you believe the butter and sugar has not caramelised fully, place it over a low flame until it does.

Care must be taken when turning the Tarte Tatin over as the caramel will be at 150ºC and can cause severe burns.

Enjoy your Tarte Tatin and bon appetit . . . . .

Chef's terminology:

litres   tsp = teaspoon
millelitres   tbs = tablespoon
kilograms   sq = sufficient quantity (add to taste)
grams   pc = piece, meaning a whole one of

Recipe from professional
Chef Tallyrand

Email Hub-UK : info@hub-uk.com