Crisp flaky pastry, sticky, sweet yet bitter caramel and apples cooked to perfection, so they cut like butter, are the qualities of a perfect tarte tatin.
My journey to finding the perfect apple tarte tatin was quite easy and all thanks to my husband.
You see, I like to make something special for my families birthday. So keeping up with tradition I started bothering my husband a month before his birthday to tell me what he wanted. We were watching MasterChef at the time and the contestants were doing an apple tarte tatin challenge, and yeah you guessed it, hubby said he wanted an apple tarte tatin.
Knowing him as well as I do, I wondered if he chose it because it was there up on the tv right in front of him and therefore a quick answer to stop me bombarding him with the same question numerous times a day until I got an answer. But then I know when we first got together he used to love apple tarte tatin and custard so I had to test him to see if he really wanted it because I wanted to make his special day special.
I go up to him hold his hand look him straight in the eye lovingly and say,
“Babes do you really want an apple tarte tatin or are you just saying it so I wont bombard you with questions?”
Yes, just like that, no messing about!
You see when I make someone a birthday cake I want to be 100% sure that the birthday boy or girl is getting what they really want and I have enough time to practice it so I get it perfect for their special day (“,)
My husband replies in a jokey yet serious
“Yeah! But don’t make it with your sour apples, the ones you use when you make apple pie.”
That was the response I was looking for. He was getting specific and giving input, so no need to worry about him not getting what he wanted. I just had to work out what kind of apple to use. I sat through the rest of MasterChef thinking about apples.
Bramley apples and Granny Smiths were out-too sour, tart and tangy, so it was out of Pink Lady and Royal Gala.
Why these to two I hear you ask?
Well the complexity and structure of the fibres and the pectin produced when heated to a certain temperature……………….. Only joking!
I had a bag of each in the fridge so I thought I’d test using these so I wouldn’t have to go out and buy more he…..he…..he….. My cooking isn’t that complex (“,)
I had the apples, butter, sugar and cinnamon for the caramel but no puff pastry and I wasn’t going to make puff pastry for a tester recipe. I did though make a big block of puff pastry for my husbands birthday a few years ago which was sooooo….. delicious. I used it over a few days because I wanted to give my husband a birthday week and the best gift for him is food and he loves pastry, well different kinds of food with pastry. On the first day I made one of his favourites pain aux raisin, day 2 I made a beef and carrot pie and day 3 I made toffee pecan twist and Morello cherry Danish pastries….. I know it’s not a weeks worth but the puff pastry ran out so I made him other stuff for the rest of the week which I can’t remember.
Anyway back to the story. The next day I went and bought some already rolled puff pastry because I haven’t got time to be rolling out puff pastry especially when I’m going to be tucking it all up. I made my caramel then added in some water to stop the caramel cooking because I wanted to cook my apples in it for a bit to soften before I covered them with the puff pastry and finished every thing off in the oven. I added some grease proof paper on top to steam the apples so they softened nicely and became tender, rather than simmering and only cooking the bottom and boiling breaking and turning them into mush. Now the technical term when adding grease proof paper over the top of food to steam is a ‘cartouche’, and it’s usually cut into a nice circle to fit in the pan perfectly but as I said before, I haven’t got time for that especially when it is only going to be used for 10 minutes. Just rip a piece off bigger than your pan and place it on top. Check my video below to see what I mean and how simple it is.
One problem I did encounter was what pan I was going to cook my tart tatin in. Traditionally the whole dessert is cooked in the same pan, first on the stove top and finished off in the oven. All my pans have plastic handles so none of them can be put in the oven. I looked in my cupboard and what did I see? My round glass Pyrex lid, which was the exact same size as my pan. But I wasn’t safe just yet, I needed to test it to see if my apple tart tatin would come out easily and perfectly.
I basted my pan with so much butter!
When I say ‘so much butter’, I mean so much butter that my clear dish was so yellow you couldn’t see a thing through it he he he….. but my apples released beautifully (check the video below to see just how easily my pink lady tarte tatin released)
You can buy the same dish I used by clicking on the image below. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases, at no extra cost to you.
Kids In The Kitchen
My girls wanted to be part of making their Daddy’s birthday cake but I didn’t want them being around the caramel because they could get burnt so I designated the peeling, coring, slicing of the apples and squeezing over the lemon juice to stop them browning. They were happy they were part of the process and I had one less job to do. If you have very enthusiastic children like I do then this is the perfect job for them.
Here is the apple corer my girls and I like to use
So I made my practice Pink Lady Apple Tarte Tatin to make sure it would turn out perfect for my husbands birthday. Well it was so tasty I made it again and again and again and then when I ran out of pink lady apples so I used the royal gala apples I had in the fridge, you know the ones I was deciding on at the beginning.
Lets just say my first instinct was 100% correct!
The royal gala apples were too mushy!
You see the pink lady apples cut and have the texture of butter plus they taste a little sweet and a little sour, but the royal gala apples have the texture of fluffy apple sauce and don’t have any dimension to their flavour at all, so take my advice and don’t use them.
After perfecting the tastiest apple tarte tatin which was requested by my husband for his birthday, guess what he asked me to make him the day before his birthday?
A tres leches cake!
I rolled with his request because it’s his birthday and want his day to be about him and what makes him happy.
He changed his mind because he had too much apple tart tatin in the previous weeks ha ha ha…..
Teach me to try and perfect something (“,)
Watch the video below to see just how simple it is