Nothing screams autumn more than apples and cinnamon. Drawing on the bounty of late summer fruit, this versatile upside down apple tarte tatin featured in our Taste of Travel Loire Valley cooking class, is wonderful served warm or cold, with ice cream or a dollop of crème fraîche. It looks impressive, but is fairly easy to make. The key is to caramelize apples (or pears) in a butter and sugar syrup before it is baked. Also known as a Tart des Demoiselles, the dessert was created in the 1880’s by two sisters who ran their namesake Tatin Hotel in the Loire Valley.
Apple Tarte Tatin
Adapted from various recipes
- 4 Granny Smith Apples (or hard tart apple)
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon or favorite autumnal spice blend
- 5 tablespoons (2/3 stick) unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Topping: Whipped cream or crème fraîche
- 1- 9 (or 10) inch pie crust
Peel and core apples (Granny smith or Golden Delicious). Cut them into quarters or 1/8’s (just make sure all the slices are the same size for even cooking, you can slice them as big or small as you want)
Melt butter, add sugar & let it dissolve into a runny buttery syrup. Stir in the spices till they dissolve
Add all the apple pieces and let cook down about 15 minutes- until soft. Stir and coat the apples with the syrup until it slightly thickens. It will become watery first as the apples release juice, but will thicken
Remove from heat and let set for 2 or 3 minutes. Arrange the apples in the base of the pie pan & spoon over a few tablespoon of syrup. Don’t use too much fluid as it needs to caramelize in the oven.
Top with pie crust. Tuck the edges down onto the apple mixture so it “catches” the edge of the apples. No need to press down the center, as it will settle into the apples as it puffs up. No need to egg wash it either as this will be the bottom of the pie. Cut a few slits in the crust to release steam.
Bake at 350 for about 30 minutes (or according to pie crust directions). When the crust looks cooked, remove and let cool for about 7-10 mins. Run a thin spatula around the edge of the pie to loosen Place a plate on top of the pie pan and carefully flip. A few rogue apples may stick, but just remove and tuck them into the place.
I use a 10” quiche pan for this recipe, but any tart or pie dish will work. I use a spritz of non-stick spray on the bottom.