Tarte tatin

Tarte tatin

Best Kitchen Basics
Petrina Tinslay

This tart should be attempted, practised and perfected. It isn’t particularly difficult but does benefit from a caring touch. You can use supermarket pastry but it is so much better using our puff pastry recipe, which makes enough for two tarts.


Quantity Ingredient
8 large new-season fuji or delicious apples, (10 if they are small)
150g butter, cubed
230g caster sugar
1 orange, juiced

Crème fraîche

Quantity Ingredient
0.1g butter culture (danisco mm100), (available from Amazon, so not hard to get)
3 litres organic pouring cream, (35–40% milk fat)

Puff pastry

Quantity Ingredient
600g french unsalted butter
750g baker’s flour
15g table salt
300g butter, diced and softened
200ml milk
200ml pouring cream


  1. To make the crème fraîche, put the butter culture in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. In a large saucepan over low heat, bring the cream to 25°C.
  3. Take a small ladleful of cream and add it to the butter culture. Whisk thoroughly to create the starter slurry.
  4. Continue heating the remainder of the cream to 37.5°C. Immediately pour it into a clean, sterilised bucket or other large container, and add the starter slurry. Whisk together to evenly disperse. Cover the bucket with a clean tea towel and leave at room temperature (above 20°C) for 12–15 hours. It will look quite thick after this time.
  5. Refrigerate and use after 2–3 days, depending on the level of sourness you prefer.
  6. To make the puff pastry, line a 15 cm square mould with plastic wrap. Press the French unsalted butter into the mould and allow to harden in the refrigerator.
  7. Combine the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Add the diced, softened butter and mix on low speed until you have a crumb-like texture. Add the milk and cream and mix to combine. Mix for a further 6 minutes. Remove the dough from the mixer, form it into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  8. Remove the moulded butter from the refrigerator. It should remain cold with some plasticity. Flatten the ball of dough slightly. Starting from the centre, roll a portion of the dough upwards to form a ‘petal’. Rotate the dough 90 degrees and repeat. Do this until there are four petals. Place the moulded butter in the middle of the dough flower and fold each ‘petal’ over the butter like an envelope. It is important for the butter and the dough to be at a similar consistency – this means the dough may need to be refrigerated during the process; likewise the butter.
  9. Once the butter is covered by the dough, roll it into a 30 × 45 cm rectangle, ensuring the butter does not split out from the dough. Place the dough length ways in front of you and, starting from the bottom, fold one-third into the middle. Then, from the top, fold the top third down to the middle. Turn the dough so the short side is on your left. Roll out again to 30 × 45 cm and repeat the folding process. This is one turn. Refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes. Repeat the process of rolling, folding and resting a further five times. The butter should be layered evenly throughout the dough with none breaking through the sides. It is important to work quickly so the dough remains chilled while rolling.
  10. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Roll out 500 g of the pastry on a lightly floured work surface to 5 mm thick. Cut out a rough 40 cm circle, put it on a tray and refrigerate until required.
  11. Peel and halve the apples. Use a melon baller to remove the core.
  12. Place a heavy-based, ovenproof frying pan over medium–high heat. Add the butter and sugar and cook until a dark golden caramel forms. Add the orange juice and swirl to amalgamate. Place the apples, round side down, around the outside of the pan, overlapping them until you complete the circle. Fill the middle, crowding the apples as much as possible. You may need to add another or just a half. Working quickly (as the heat will melt the pastry), place the pastry disc on top of the apples, tucking the sides down under the outer row of apples. Prick half a dozen holes in the pastry. Bake for 45–60 minutes or until the pastry is dark golden. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes. Place a large serving platter on top of the pan. With one hand on the base of the platter, use your other hand to pick up the pan and carefully flip it over. Lift off the pan. Serve the tart with crème fraîche.


  • Please be careful turning the tart onto the serving platter, as the caramel is as forgiving as lava. Any offcuts of pastry can be used to make cheesy pastry twists.
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