I'd always assumed tarte tatin was too difficult for a home cook until I watched comedian Les Dennis make a fig tarte tatin on Celebrity Masterchef without too much trouble. If a man best known for presenting Family Fortunes and doing impressions of Mavis Riley could turn out a beautifully caramelised tart, surely I could? I suspect the French name gave me the fear. If it was called "upside-down puff pastry tart thingy", we'd be baking them every evening.
If you have the patience, it's best to prepare the fruit and leave it in the fridge, uncovered, overnight. This helps dry it out so you don't have too much liquid in the finished tarte, which will soak into the pastry and make it soggy. Don't worry if the fruit turns brown - it won't affect the taste, and adds to the look of the finished dish. Not a fan of apples and pears? Then use any fruit you like. Why not try Sian's peach and vanilla tarte tatin?
Apple and Pear Tarte Tatin
You will need:
- 2 apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 pieces
- 2 pears, peeled, cored and cut into 4 pieces
- 200g puff pastry
- 40g butter
- 100g caster sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat your oven to 200C/400F/gas mark 6.
- Dig out a tart tin without a loose base. Roll out your puff pastry to about 4mm thick - the thickness of a £1 coin - and cut out a circle slightly bigger than your tin. Put it in the fridge to rest.
- Put the sugar, butter, cinnamon and nutmeg in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, shaking the pan occasionally but not stirring. When it turns dark amber, take it off the heat and carefully place the apples and pears in the pan. Put back on the heat for another 5 minutes, tossing a few times to thoroughly coat them, then set aside to cool. Cooled fruit = crispy pastry base.
- Arrange the fruit in your tin, drizzle the leftover caramel over the top, then drape the pastry over and tuck it in around the edges. Bake for around 25-30 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
- Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate larger than the tin over the top and carefully invert it. Serve warm with ice cream.
You can make smaller tarts if you prefer - I made four mini ones with this recipe and just cooked them for five minutes less. And have you got a pan coated in rock hard caramel? Then just boil some water in it and it'll float off like magic.