Recipe: Apple tarte tatin

Have you ever looked at a dessert and just gone, “Yes. This is sexy/beautiful/amazing. I am a genius!” No? Just me? Well, you will with this fancy-sounding French dessert. Apple tarte tatin, essentially an upside-down apple tart, is a cinch to make.

One evening, I had the cravings for a warm dessert now that it’s getting cooler. I had limited ingredients available to me and I cbf’d going to the supermarket to get extra ingredients. To be honest, I didn’t have the patience either. I wanted dessert and I wanted it ASAP with as little effort as possible.

Pro tip: always have frozen puff pastry in the freezer.

It makes almost everything tastier and it essentially turns leftovers into meals. Got leftover mince? Chuck it in a baking dish and top with puff pastry. You’ve got pie for dinner. Leftover roast meat? Sweat off some onion and carrots, toss with shredded meat. Wrap up in puff pastry. Handheld pasties. I think you’re getting the idea.

I’m one for raving about the rule of “put an egg on it” to bulk out meals. Well, I have similar strong feelings about puff pastry.

This dessert can be as fancy as you want it to be. It looks damn right impressive for such little work.

Apple Tarte Tatin


  • 2 apples, thinly sliced (I used pink lady)
  • 25g of butter
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 sheet of thawed puff pastry
  • Ice cream or whipped cream to serve, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Melt butter in an ovenproof pan (cast iron pans are great for this). Add in both sugars, salt and apples. Cook for about 2-3 minutes to soften apples and the sugars and butter starts to go syrupy.
  3. Try to make an even layer of apples in the pan and top with puff pastry. Tuck in the corners if you’re using a round pan. Or make a cut in the pastry once its in the pan to roughly make a circle but leave the triangle tip attached so you can easily rip it off after baking as a little reward snack for yourself and you’ll have a nearly perfect circle. I’m all about the little snacks.
  4. Whack in oven for 20-25 min until pastry starts to puff and brown. No need to glaze pastry as it’ll form the base.
  5. Cool slightly and flip onto a plate. Admire.
  6. Pile high with ice cream or fresh whipped cream. Wipe drool off your chin.
  7. Eat while it’s hot.

Dig in!


  • You can add rum or better yet spiced rum (like I had sitting on the shelf but forgot to add). Add this while cooking the apples. Or you’ll have a post-cooking epiphany like I did.

  • The thinner you slice the apple, the quicker it’ll cook. So time to sharpen your knife (skills)!
  • Go for apple varieties like granny smith and pink lady which hold up their shape when cooked.
  • Feel free to use all of either sugar. I just like both.
  • Add in some ground cinnamon or nutmeg or mixed spice or even vanilla essence/extract/seeds to add a little extra oomph.
  • You want that pan to cool slightly in the pan first so that the now-caramelised apples harden a bit and stick to the pastry top/base so they don’t go everywhere when you flip it.
  • I cannot stress how great cast iron pans are. Do it, do it, do it. Just make sure you season it before you use it. They retain heat really well, they’re heavy duty, and they’re bad ass.

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