( SERVES 8 )
Legend has it that this famous French pie was created by accident when one of the sisters who ran the Hotel Tatin south of Paris cooked an apple tart upside-down by mistake – evidence that you shouldn’t be shy of a little experimentation in the kitchen!
Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or custard.
- Peel, quarter and core apples, placing them in a bowl of water with a little lemon juice squeezed into it as you prepare them so they don’t go brown. Preheat oven to 180°C fanbake.
- Heat butter, sugar and vanilla in a 26cm ovenproof frypan over a high heat. Cook, stirring now and then, until a rich golden caramel is formed (about 4 minutes). Don’t worry if it looks grainy at the start. Remove from heat and cool the base of the pan in a sink of cold water to stop the caramel from overcooking. Carefully arrange apples in the caramel, packing them in tightly in a ring around the edge first and cutting if necessary to fill the centre. Take great care not to burn yourself on the hot caramel.
- Roll out pastry on a lightly floured board so it will fit on top of the frypan. Cut into a circle and arrange on top of apples, tucking any excess pastry inside the pan. Bake until pastry is golden (40 minutes).
- Remove from oven and allow to stand for 5-10 minutes or up to 6 hours at room temperature. If preparing more than 6 hours in advance, cover and chill in the pan, then gently reheat on the stovetop for a couple of minutes to soften the caramel before turning out.
- Pour off any excess caramel (if there is any – it will depend on the type of apple) into a jug before placing a plate on top of the pan and then carefully flipping the pan over to invert the tart onto the plate. Drizzle any reserved caramel over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream or custard, if desired.
See more of Annabel's make-ahead dessert recipes