Say what you like about Gordon Potty-Mouth Ramsay but he always delivers the goods. This method of making Tarte Tatin is from his book 3 Star Chef – a collection of recipes from his 3 Michelin starred restaurant on Royal Hospital Road. Most of them take up an entire afternoon (a great challenge though, and all so far have turned out great), but this one’s remarkably simple. I’ve used Cox Apples which are coming up to the end of their season so grab ‘em at their best while you can.
It’s interesting that chefs tend to flit between the mandolined, thinly-sliced, overlapping Tarte Tatin and the chunky version here. I noticed Michel Roux has the former in his cookbook, but serves the latter in Le Gavroche, his restaurant. I think the thinly sliced version looks nicer, but you get more of an apple kick with this version.
I hurried this a little as it was getting late and I enjoy desserts far more when I’m awake throughout the whole course – usually I’d take more time caramelising the apples so they go a little darker and the caramel thickens up more.
This is another example of where a good frying pan that goes in the oven reaps dividends! I used a Scanpan for this recipe – our best; it never lets me down!
Preheat oven to 200°C/Gas 6.
3 large crisp dessert apples (I used Cox, Pink Lady works)
250g ready-made puff pastry (preferably all-butter)
50g cold unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
Core the apples and cut into quarters. Leave out on a piece of kitchen towel to dry for a few hours. It doesn’t matter if they go brown – they’re going brown anyway.
Cut the butter into thin slices and use to line the bottom of a 20cm oven ready frying pan. Sprinkle over the sugar. Put the apple quarters in and the pan on a low-medium heat so the sugar turns to a light caramel. Keep turning the apple quarters in the caramel until the caramel thickens and the apples are a lovely caramel brown. This takes me around 15 mins – I take it to the point the caramel takes on an almost elastic quality. Leave to cool.
Roll out the pastry, and using something round and 24cm across, cut a circle round the pastry. Put your pastry round over the apples and tuck the outside of the pastry carefully down the side of the apples. Place pan in oven for 15 mins, then turn the oven down to 180°C/Gas 4 for a further 20 mins until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove, leave to cool, then place a chopping board/something rigid and flat on top and invert. Serve with vanilla ice cream!