Monday, November 4, 2013

Tarte Tatin (Upside down apple pie)

This famous French upside-down apple pie is not only delicious, but extremely easy to make! The best thing about it is that you cannot mess it up, because it already is "messed up" pie!

The legend says that one day, the Tatin sisters were busy cooking in their kitchen and one of the sisters forgot to put the dough before the apples in her pie. Realizing that she had started to bake a crust-less pie, she lay the crust on top of the apples mid-baking and turned it upside down to serve it :)

Serendipity right there if you ask me! The penicillin of desserts.

I am not a sweet tooth by any means, and would much rather end a meal on cheese. But put a warm slice of Tarte Tatin in front of me, with a dollop of cold creme fraiche (no vanilla ice-cream nonsense for me!), and I'll sell my soul to the Devil.

Here's how you can make this amazing and universally appreciated dessert.

- 1/2 quantity of pie crust (see a similar recipe here, just omit the lemon zest)
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 6-8 apples, depending on their size and how packed you want the apple pattern to be when you turn it upside down (I ended up using 7 medium Honeycrisp apples; Golden delicious are good too)

- preheat your oven at 375F
- on a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to the size of the dish you will be baking the pie in

- in a cast iron skillet, melt the butter and sugar until frothy

Note: if you want your apples to come out a little darker, you can wait until the first stage of caramel, but do not overcook the caramel at this stage, since it will continue to cook in the oven and might result in a burnt-tasting bitter pie
- peel, core and half the apples, add them cut side up in the skillet and cover with the dough, making sure to tuck the extra bits!

- transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the crust is lightly golden

- let it cool a few minutes before turning the pie upside down on a serving plate

Note: mine was not as sticky as I would have liked it. The caramel was not thick enough for my taste and I should have let it cool down longer in the oven, turned off with the door propped open. It was still delicious though!
- serve warm, with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream on top



  1. I don't have a iron skillet. how would I adapt this for a round baking dish?

  2. Hey Hey! Fancy seeing you here :) You can absolutely adapt to any other shallow baking dish, as long as it is not a spring form. What I used to do before purchasing my cast iron skillet was that I would make a caramel syrup with the sugar in a sauce pan and pour it over the pre-arranged apples in the baking dish. Now keep in mind that when you use this approach, the caramel syrup immediately hardens when it touches the cold apples. That is absolutely fine, because when the apples begin to cook and release liquid and steam, it will liquefy the caramel again, and your apples will be golden and delicious :D Hope that helped!

  3. Alternatively, you can also just pour the caramel directly in the pan and let it harden then place your apples over it :)