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Recipe #2: Tarte Tatin

From the W1555 Neighbourhood letter of November 2022, by Kathrin

Gertie was the neighbour of my grandma. I remember countless summers that we played in her garden. From time to time, she came out of her house, short ginger hair, wearing an apron, hands on hips, watching us children with a smurky smile, before she went inside again and vanished for hours in the kitchen. Her Tarte Tatin is an upside-down apple pie that gently ushered in autumn for us kids at the time.


Cooker and oven

 A pan, which you can use on the cooker as well as in the oven (a cast iron pan is particularly suitable for this, but some ceramics can do it too!) The mould should be deep enough for 2 layers of apple quarters plus a little space on top.

This recipe is for a pan about 28cm in diameter.

 bowl, spatula, knife

 a board or large plate for tipping the cake later

Ingredients for the dough:

 250 g wheat flour (type 405)

 100 g butter

 20 g sugar

 1/4 tsp salt

 40 ml water

Ingredients for the toppings:

1 kg peeled apples (e.g. Reinet, Boskoop, Breaburn, Granny Smith) Suitable are cooking apples, which do not fall apart during cooking and have a nice acidity. A mix of different apples also works well! (You can make other tasty things with the peels, such as tea: pour the peels on with boiling water and some cinnamon, add honey if necessary)

100 g butter

250 g sugar

1 tsp salt


Day in advance:

Peel the apples the day before, remove the core and leave them in the fridge overnight. They will turn brown, but that doesn't matter. Don't cover the apples, they are allowed to get a little dry.

Next day:

Melt sugar, salt and butter in the bake-and-boil pan on the cooker. Everything should be well loosened and spread easily. It doesn't need to caramelise, that comes later.

Remove the pan from the cooker and place the apples in the pan: the 1.layer of apples with the rounded side down, close to close. Then put the 2nd layer of apples on top, with the rounded side up, so they can fall together nicely during baking. Therefore, try to lay the apples as close as possible.

Making the juice

Bake the apples in the same pan in the preheated oven at 200 degrees, top/bottom heat for 25-30 minutes. Not much seems to be happening, but the juice will now start to run along the bottom of the pan.

In the meantime, make the dough:

Give flour, sugar and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter on low heat and add to the bowl. Add the water too and knead well until everything is well distributed. Make a big ball of the dough and put it in the fridge for 30 minutes.


Take the pan with the apples out of the oven and put it directly on the cooker. At medium-high heat, now let the juice, which is at the bottom of the pan, caramelise for a good 5-10 minutes: while doing so, check carefully at the edge of the pan whether the juice darkens too quickly or starts to splatter, if so, turn down the temperature a little.

Continue cooking on medium heat for another 10-15 minutes, so that the liquid reduces. At the end, you can turn up the heat for further 5 minutes so that the juice browns nicely.

Important: do not move the apples while they are caramelising.

While the apples are caramelising, you can continue working on the dough. Take the dough out of the fridge, knead again and then roll the dough out thin and round so that it is about 5mm thick and you have a circle of about 30cm in diameter (if you have a pan of a different size, make a dough that is 2cm wieder than the diameter of your pan).


Remove the pan from the cooker and carefully place the dough on top. Be careful, the pan is very hot! Try to press the edge of the dough into the pan as far as possible. A wooden spatula can help with this.

Now put the pan back in the oven and cook at 200 degrees top/bottom heat for about 20-25 minutes. The dough has now turned a colour.

Tart tipping

Remove the tart from the oven and leave it -still sitting in the pan- to cool for 20-30 minutes.

Empty a large plate or wooden board onto the pan, hold it together tightly and quickly turn it upside down. Tap the whole thing on the table a few times, until you feel, the cake loosen from the pan. Carefully remove the pan from the plate/shelf. Some apples may stick to the pan after pouring. If so, remove the stuck pieces and gently press back into the cake in the places, where they were.

Enjoy this amber cake with a cup of tea or coffee, and who likes it, with whipped cream.

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