How to make it: Felicity Cloake's tarte tatin recipe

The French dessert is a little piece of showmanship that's perfect for dinner parties; impressive to look at, yet surprisingly easy to pull off.

By Felicity Cloake
Published 8 Apr 2019, 23:43 BST
This French classic is traditionally served plain, but it's delicious with a dollop of creme fraiche ...

This French classic is traditionally served plain, but it's delicious with a dollop of creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Photograph by Howard Shooter

The tarte tatin is a celebrity among desserts: my internet search brings up 6,870,000 results — and nearly as many different recipes. For the most part, they come down to a few simple principles. Although you can get creative once you've mastered the art, apples are not only the classic choice, but — as a relatively dry fruit — one of the easiest to work with.

Serves: 6
Takes: 1 hour plus chilling/resting


5 small-medium dessert apples (a mixture of Cox and Granny Smith works well)
200g white sugar
50g butter
2 tbsp toasted flaked almonds (optional)

For the pastry

225g plain flour
120g cold salted butter
1 egg yolk
Alternatively, use 250g ready-made butter shortcrust or puff pastry


1. Halve and core the apples, then place them on plates in the fridge, uncovered and skin-side down, for at least a few hours (but ideally 24 hours).

2. Put the sugar and 50ml cold water into a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan approximately 20cm in diameter. Leave to soak for a couple of minutes, then place over a medium heat and cook for about 10 minutes until golden and syrupy. Take off the heat and stir through the 50g butter and a decent pinch of salt.

3. Carefully arrange the chilled apples in the pan, skin-side down, so they cover the base. Return to the heat and cook for about 5 mins, until the caramel is a deep golden brown. Set aside and leave to cool completely (if you're in a hurry, you can stand it in iced water to speed up the process).

4. Meanwhile, make the pastry by grating the chilled butter into the flour and rubbing it in. Mix in the egg yolk with just enough cold water to bring it together to form a firm dough. Shape the dough into a disc, wrap in clingfilm and chill it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes.

5. Heat the oven to 220C, fan 200C, gas 7. Roll out the pastry to about 7mm thick, and cut out a circle slightly larger than your pan. Drape the pastry circle over the fruit, tucking it in at the sides.

6. Pop the pan in the oven and bake for about 30 mins, until the pastry is golden. Leave to cool for 5 mins before placing a lipped serving plate on top, carefully wrapping a tea towel around both, and flipping the tarte tatin over to transfer from the pan to the plate. To serve, scatter with flaked almonds, if using.

Follow @FelicityCloake on Twitter

Published in Issue 3 of National Geographic Traveller Food

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