A tarte tatin is made by caramelising apples in sugar and butter, topping them with pastry and then baking the dish in the oven until the crust is golden. So could all tarte tatins be called toffee apple tarte tatins?
Well yes, but I’d imagine you’d only want to call them that on Hallowe’en.
Also I added in some maple syrup to make it that bit extra toffeeish.
Ah toffee apples. Sound so good, don’t they? Hmm. Often they’re just a raw apple on a stick covered in chocolate and sprinkles. I’m not saying chocolate and apple can’t work. But I am saying if you call something a toffee something then that something should have at least a little toffee on it. No?
I have been very disappointed by toffee apples. Every year I’d think – this year, this year they’ll do it right. But no.
And to be honest even if I ever did get an apple with toffee on it, I wouldn’t want it to be a raw apple. I’d want it baked. What I would like is an apple skewered atop a stick, baked in butter, sugar and gentle spices till the apples were soft (but not mushy), and have it covered in a thin coating of hard, slightly bitter toffee. And served just warm. Not hot. Not cold. Just warm.
So why didn’t I make that then?
In fairness, I think that would be quite difficult (if not impossible) to pull off. How are you going to get a baked apple to stay on the stick? Wouldn’t it just slide off? And if you did manage to get them to stay on the sticks how would you actually cover the softish apple with ever-so-slightly burnt caramelised sugar? I can’t see it working… Which is a pity because I can definitely see me eating one.
Ah imaginary food.
But tarte tatins are very real, very tasty – and kinda idiot proof. It’s mostly butter, sugar and apple. Sure how could you go wrong? The caramel is so rich and delicious that it covers a multitude of mishaps and mistakes. Like if your pastry is not the most perfect pastry ever.
Is this my way of saying that the gluten-free pastry in the recipe is not perfect? Well … it’s not amazing. It’s alright. To be honest, if you can find a ready-to-roll gluten free pastry in your supermarket’s fridge-freezer I’d recommend using that. Like it’s alright. It’s just alright.
The pastry’s got a slightly sandy-like texture. I know because I made a little jam tart with the leftover scraps. You don’t taste any sandiness when it’s part of the tarte tatin. Especially with all the caramel oozing through it and with the big dollop of crème fraîche you plop on the slice.
The crème fraîche is essential. Not because of the pastry. But because it’s just so creamy and so … so … It’s not optional.
By the way there are various stories about the invention of the tarte tatin. I thought it had something to do with a king and running late and being short on ingredients. But searching around there I guess I just jumbled up a few different stories and confused them with stories of how the Tatin sisters coming up with this terrific tart. I don’t know… Anyway here’s the wikipedia page about it.