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 any tarte tatin be called a toffee apple tarte tatin?
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 came up with this terrific tart. I don’t know… Anyway here’s the wikipedia page about it.
6 - 7 good-sized tart but sweet apples (varieties like Cox or Braeburn work well - although I've had this made with Golden Delicious and it was gorgeous also - so use the type you like)
85g caster sugar
50g maple syrup, room temperature
100g butter (salted)
3 - 4 dessertspoons of warm water
Crème fraîche (lots of)
Add the white flour, buckwheat and diced butter to a food processor. Mix until it has a crumby consistency. Whisk the egg, milk and maple syrup together. Start up the food mixer again on its slowest setting and pour in the egg mix slowly through the opening at the top. As it combines a ball of dough should form - if it clumps together but doesn't form an actual ball just scrape it all together and form it into a ball with your hands. Wrap in cling film and leave in the fridge for about 30 minutes.
Put the sugar in the pan and leave to liquefy on a medium heat.
While the sugar is melting peel, core and quarter your apples.
When the sugar has turned to a golden liquid, mix in the maple syrup and water, and then the butter. Mix them in well together so that they have properly combined before you add the apples.
Place the apples in the pan and turn over a few times so that they are really covered in the caramel. Leave to carmelise on a moderate heat until the apples have softened and the caramel thickened.
Once they're done, remove them from the heat and allow to cool a little. Turn on the oven to 180C.
Take the pastry out of the fridge. Roll it out to the size that will cover the apples in the pan. Cover the apples with the pastry and bake in oven until the pastry is fully cooked and slightly golden.
When done take the pan out of the oven and allow to cool to room temperature. Turn on a plate.
Serve with lots and lots of crème fraîche. And enjoy!
If possible use a pan that can be used on the stove top as well as in the oven. Otherwise carmelise the apples in a pan and transfer to a suitable oven dish.