Always use firm dessert apples such as Granny Smith or Golden Delicious, otherwise the result will be a soft apple purée and soggy pastry.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. You will need a 20cm ovenproof omelette pan with deep sides that will allow the caramel to bubble and the pastry to rise. Roll the pastry out to a thickness of 3cm then use the pan as a guide to cut a circle slightly larger than the base. Put the pastry on a plate, cover with greaseproof paper and refrigerate. Place the pan on a low heat and sprinkle the sugar over the bottom. Add the butter in small pieces and melt, swirling the butter and sugar together until they begin to caramelise lightly and turn a delicate amber colour.
- Peel each apple into 3 cheeks around the core. Arrange the apples cut-side up in a circle around the pan. Increase the heat slightly so that the apple juices mix with the caramel. Swirl the pan occasionally to prevent the apples from sticking. When the caramel reaches a rich golden colour, place the pastry over the top of the apples and put the pan into the oven. Cook for 12 minutes until the pastry rises. Remove the tart from the oven and place it back over a low heat to loosen any apples that may have stuck.
- Invert a plate over the top of the pan and carefully flip the pan and plate over, taking great care not to get any caramel on your hands. Pour all the apple caramel juices over the tart and serve with crème fraîche, vanilla ice-cream or whipped cream flavoured with vanilla.