Tarte Tatin – Façon Parisienne

This is a favourite recipe that has evolved over 15 years of making it. In the early attempts back then, I didn’t understand the importance of using acidic apples that hold their shape well, as some eating apples collapse into mush. I once phoned up ‘Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons’ to ask for advice and got some excellent guidance from the man himself, Raymond Blanc. To obtain the fusion of the apples and caramel, it is crucial to follow the recipe. The ginger adds a delicious twist.

Equipment needed

1 circular 28cm x 5 cm deep, tart tatin dish 28cm (11” x 2”), or similar sized heavy-cast, frying pan.
1 circular pizza plate or similar to cut out pastry circle of 31cm – 12”.

Ingredients – pastry

First make a quantity of rough-puff pastry. You will need 250g/8ozs to make a circle of 30cm – 2.5cm bigger than circumference of tarte tatin tin. You can also use a good quality, all butter shop-bought, puff pastry.

  • 250g strong flour
  • 250g unsalted butter – firm but not hard – diced
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 110ml +/- water


Firstly, make rough-puff pastry. Sift dry ingredients into bowl. Add diced butter and rub some the butter into flour mixture but coarsely. It is important to leave bits of butter showing. Add ¾ of cold water and mix to firm dough – adding the rest of the water as/if needed.  Transfer to small tray, cover with foil or film and put in fridge for 20 – 30 minutes.

Remove from fridge and knead lightly until it becomes smooth. Shape into a rectangle and roll out to about 45cm x 20cm – the classic guidelines are that it should be 2 ½ – 3 times longer than its width. Take 1/3rd of the end away from you to centre of rectangle and bring the lower 1/3rd end up and over to cover that. Give it 1/4 turn and roll out again to the same length and width. Fold as before and leave to rest in fridge for 20 minutes before using for recipe.

After 20 minutes, cut off 250g (8ozs) to make circle of 30 cm – use a pizza plate or similar. The pastry disc should be 2-3cms larger than the tarte pan as it needs to be tucked round the partly cooked apples later. Put circle on the dish you have used to cut it out and place in fridge until needed.

Ingredients – caramel

  • 85g caster sugar (3 ozs)
  • 40g unsalted butter (1 ½ ozs)


Put caster sugar into tarte tatin tin (heavy frying pan) and cook over a medium heat until it caramelises – medium to dark amber colour, but not too dark or it will be bitter. Take off heat and add the butter and stir with a wooden spoon to amalgamate. Set aside while you prepare the filling.

Ingredients – Tarte filling

  • 2.8kg (6 lbs) large Granny Smith’s or Braeburn apples – 14 apples. (If medium size will need 16-18, but large is better for height in its presentation).

Topping for apples:

  • 70 grams of unsalted butter, diced
  • ½  tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g fresh ginger, finely grated (use cheese grating side on grater)
  • 150g caster sugar


Put caster sugar, cinnamon, and ginger into a small bowl, and with a whisk, mix together.  Set aside while you prepare apples.

Peel and core the apples and cut 12 in half. Then cut 1 of the remaining apples in quarters, and the other in eighths – the quarters are for the centre and the eighths to fill in any small gaps. Cover with a tea towel while you make the caramel.

Place the 24 halves, scooped side to round side, standing upright around the mould. Put quarters in centre and fill in any gaps with the eights as required.  It is important that the apples are packed tightly or it will not hold its shape when turned out.  The apples will be higher than the tin and that’s ok.

Sprinkle the sugar/cinnamon/ginger mix over the apples – push down into crevices – and dot apples with the 70g of butter.

Place in hot oven and cook for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and place the pastry circle over the hot apples, tucking the edge of the pastry inside the mould around the apples.

Cook for a further  30 – 35 minutes.

Remove from oven onto rack and let stand for 15 minutes before turning out onto serving dish.

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