Invisible Kitchen Special Recipe – Apple Tart Tatin

At Invisible Kitchen, we provide delicious catering in Hong Kong, which focuses on simplistic cooking and well sourced ingredients.  Our apple tart tatin is a firm favourite on our gourmet food menus.  This simple recipe can be tried at home and cut up into small squares as a sweet treat after any homemade meal.

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Apple Tarte Tatin originates in France, and it is actually a recipe that was created by accident in the 1880s at the Hotel Tatin in Lemotte-Beuvron. But, as accidents go, it is a pretty good one! Tarte Tatin is basically an upside-down pastry, which contains caramelized apples, although some people do use other fruits. This is one of the many desserts we offer as part of our catering in Hong Kong service, and I am going to let you in on a little secret – how we make it!

Apple Tarte Tatin is a very simple recipe, which relies on the amazing flavor combination of apples, caramel, and a touch of cinnamon. I’m not one for messing around with the authenticity of a dish; I like simple dishes that are cooked well, and that is what this recipe is all about.

One of the most important parts of the cooking process, both in terms of presentation and texture, is making sure the apples hold their shape when they are cooked. You don’t want them to turn into apple sauce! This is why we use Granny Smith apples, as they are firm and they hold their shape yet they have a little sharpness too. We also advise buying fresh cinnamon, i.e., cinnamon powder that has been freshly ground in a pestle and mortar.

The ingredients you will need to add are as follows; six medium apples, 225g white sugar, 55gr of cold butter (diced), 50ml water, star anise, 300gr puff pastry, and a pinch of sea salt. In terms of equipment, you will require a 25cm Tatin tray, or a deep pan pizza dish will do, as well as an oven tray, saucepan, knife, chopping board, peeler, blowtorch, and a mixing bowl.

Steps to follow:
1. Begin by peeling, halving, and coring the apples, and then cut them into eighths. Make sure you leave one whole half of an apple for the middle. Leave in the fridge overnight or put in a dehydrator for 2-4 hours. Once dried, place in a mixing bowl and cover with the cinnamon.

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2. Grab a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan, and add the sugar, along with star anise, and 50ml of water. Leave to soak for a couple of minutes, and then cook over a medium heat until golden brown. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the butter until they are well combined. Add a pinch of salt and pour into the Tatin tray. Carefully arrange the apples in the pan, round side down, starting from the middle. Don’t forget, the caramel will be hot! Make sure you put two lawyers of apple to fill any gaps.

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3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Roll out the pastry so it is about ¼ inch thick, and rest it in the fridge for 30 minutes. Cut out a circle of pastry, 1cm bigger than your pan. This is because it will shrink when cooking. Put it back in the fridge to rest.

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4. Put the pastry on top of the pan and tuck in the edges around the fruit. Press down on the pastry lightly so that any excess air pockets escape. Bake for 30 minutes or until the pastry is golden. Allow to cool by chilling in the fridge overnight so that the caramel sets.

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5. Run a small knife around the edge of the tart to make sure it is not stuck to the sides. Place an oven tray on top of the pastry, and then flip the tart over so the Tatin tin is now upside down on top of the oven tray. Use a blow touch on the bottom of the Tatin tray to make sure the caramel melts enough so that the tart is going to release from the tin. Move the flame all over the surface, and then try tapping the tin and gently lifting to see if it is ready to come out. Remove the star anise before serving.

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6. Cut into generous slices and serve with good quality vanilla ice cream or crème fraiche. There is no point making gourmet food if you don’t have the quality finishing touches.

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If apples aren’t your favourite ingredient, substitute with any fruits in season or that you enjoy such as plums, pineapples, pears etc.  keep an eye out for more of our unique recipes.

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