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Not Just A Pretty Plate

Foolproof Tarte-Tatin


This is effectively a cheats version of the French classic, yet still utterly moreish and crowd pleasing, as well as a personal favourite! Apologies for the uselessly vague measurements - it has kind of evolved over time with no set recipe, plus, when cooking in a disorganised student house there are often no scales on offer!

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  • - 4-6 apples - depending on size of pan
  • - 100g sugar
  • - 6 small knobs butter
  • - 1 fresh vanilla pod
  • - 1 sheet puff pastry
  • - A generous swig of calvados
  • armagnac or brandy
  • - creme fraiche to serve


servings 6
Level of difficulty Easy
Preparation time 20mins
Cooking time 30mins
Cost Average budget


Step 1

- Cover the bottom of a fairly deep metal handled frying pan with the caster sugar. Place on a medium heat and leave to melt - do not stir or the sugar will crystalise. Swirl around by the pan handle from time to time until most has dissolved and turned a caramel brown colour.

Step 2

- Add half a dozen small knobs of butter and the scraped seeds and remaining pod of one vanilla pod and swirl again.

Step 3

Foolproof Tarte-Tatin - Step 3

- Peel, half and core four or five apples. Place cut-side down into the caramel. Allow to bubble away for about fifteen minutes - add some calvados or armagnac , and spoon the sauce over the apples to coat the tops in the boozy, vanillary caramel.

Step 4

Foolproof Tarte-Tatin - Step 4

- Allow this mixture to cool. Then half an hour before serving, place a thin sheet of puff-pastry on top of the pan over the apples and scrunch up the edges if there is any overhang. The French supermarkets sell round pre-rolled sheets which fit perfectly but I am yet to find these in English supermarkets. I have used a regular pre-rolled rectangular sheet before and managed to make it fit though! Bake in a hot oven for about half an hour or until the pastry is golden and risen.

Step 5

Foolproof Tarte-Tatin - Step 5

- Cross your fingers and turn the tart out onto a plate to serve. (upside down so the pastry is underneath and the apples ontop) . Serve with a spoonful of creme fraiche, several spoonfuls of the vanillary syrup, and a generous glass of brandy of your choice.


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