The Story Behind Tart Tatin (and how to make it!)

Tart Tatin Tart Tatin is a treat with a not so common back story. This treat is usually considered an upside down fruit tart of sorts. Typically, it is made with apples. How did this delicious treat come to be?...

Tart Tatin
Tart Tatin

Tart Tatin is a treat with a not so common back story. This treat is usually considered an upside down fruit tart of sorts. Typically, it is made with apples.

How did this delicious treat come to be? It is believed that Tart Tatin was invented accidentally at the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. Lamotte-Beuvron is approximately 100 miles south of Paris.

In the 1880s, Hotel Tatin was run by two sisters, named Stephanie and Caroline Tatin. Although there are several theories behind the actual creation of Tart Tatin, there is one theory that most agree with.

It was all a fluke that turned out for the best. Stephanie Tatin did most of the cooking for the hotel. One day she was over tired and over worked (wouldn't you be, if you did most of the cooking for a hotel every day?). She gathered the ingredients to make an apple pie but made a mistake.

Stephanie left the apples cooking in the butter and sugar for too long. The mixture began to burn. In an attempt to save the dish, she put the pastry crust on top of the apples. She then stuck the whole pan in the oven to bake.

It turns out that what she ended up baking was a caramelized upside down fruit tart. The hotel guests loved this new and tasty treat. Although there are reports of other chefs and establishments selling similar dishes, certainly the Tatin sister's version became the most popular.

Try Your Own Tart Tatin

Want to try your hand at this unique dessert? Here is a recipe for this treat.

Ingredients for the pastry:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 and 2/3 cups plain all-purpose flour, sifted

Tip: if you don't feel like making the pastry from the scratch you can use puff pastry instead

Ingredients for the apple filling:

  • 1/2 stick unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 10 apples (preferably Granny Smiths)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • vanilla pod

Tip: You can also add some cinnamon 

Directions for the pastry:

  1. Soften the stick of butter.
  2. Blend the butter in a mixing bowl at low speed.
  3. Pulse quickly, and then add in egg and water.
  4. Add in the salt and flour next, mixing carefully.
  5. Roll the dough until it is 6 inches wide, cover in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least an hour.

Directions for the Caramel Apple:

  1. Divide the butter into small chunks and spread on the bottom of a 10 inch baking dish or skillet. If you decide to use the skillet for preparation of apples make sure the handle is not plastic and can go to the oven.
  2. Sprinkle the sugar over the dish.
  3. Add the two tablespoons of water.
  4. Place the baking dish on medium heat in order to caramelize the sugar.
  5. Cut vanilla pod in half and using the knife get the vanilla beans. Add them to the sugar mixture along with the leftover pod.
  6. Slice, core, and chop the apple into chunks.
  7. Once the sugar is caramelized, remove the dish from the heat and take out the vanilla pod.

    Making Caramel
    Making Caramel

  8. Place the pieces of apple on top of the caramel. Be sure to fill in all gaps so that the apples make a complete layer.
  9. Sprinkle two tablespoons of sugar over the top of the apples.
  10. Heat the dish carefully until the caramel bubbles through the apples.

Finishing the dish:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Roll the pastry out into an even circle shape large enough to fit on top of the dish.
  3. Place carefully on top of the caramel apples.
  4. Fold the edges of the pastry inward.
  5. Be sure to slice a few spots in the pastry in order to let the steam out while cooking.
  6. Bake approximately 20 minutes.
  7. Make sure to let the tart cool for at least 15 minutes. If it does not rest fully then it may break apart when flipping it over!
  8. Take a serving plate and put it over the baking tin. Then turn it over. Slowly remove the baking tin.

For the specific directions and tips on how to prepare this dish, be sure to read these instructions.

You can serve this tart lukewarm with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or whatever other treat you'd like. If it didn't work out well the first time you try it, don't worry. Practice makes perfect!

Please contact us to learn more cooking delicious treats.