I had always assumed this dessert to be a challenge.
Truth is, I was discouraged by the thought of artfully sliced apples, placed with precision in a perfect seashell whorl. And caramel – that’s hot sugar, right? Just the idea makes me jumpy.
But the truth is, tarte tatin couldn’t be easier.
Note the filo pastry. Steered by my compass set on dairy free eats, I’ve baulked from tradition and switched up the pastry. These lighter layers work a treat. Filo pastry brings texture and form and is neutral enough in flavour to let the caramel sing.
(For the dairy-free eaters among us, try Vegan Block in lieu of butter, the most natural alternative to butter I’ve found yet. And to dress your dessert, this is my favourite dairy free vanilla ice cream.)
And this recipe happens to be vegan too.
8 sheets filo pastry
6 eating apples
100g caster sugar
60g butter, diced small
Olive oil to brush
Ice cream to dress
Heat your oven to 180c.
Core and finely peel the apples – skin on or off, it’s up to you. I’m a cook in a hurry with a family to feed and count the extra fibre from the peel as a blessing and a hack. Set to one side in a large bowl.
Heat the sugar over a medium heat/high heat in the tarte tatin pan. Cook for around six minutes until the sugar begins to bubble into a liquid and starts to turn a dark amber – this is where the flavour lies, be bold but don’t burn. Remove from the heat and beat in the butter with a wooden spoon until smooth and evenly distributed across the pan base.
Tip or arrange the apple slices over the caramel. You may arrange carefully in a whorl or tip in as you wish. Over the fruit, layer the filo pastry, brushing each sheet with olive oil and tucking the sides into the edges of the pan, as you go. Brush with one final coat of olive oil and bake for 35-40 minutes. The tart will be ready when it begins to puff up high rise and is golden on the top.
Allow to set and cool for an hour or so before serving. Enjoy with a dollop of ice cream.