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La Tarte Tartin

An extract from "Dear France, Sweet Country of My Childhood" ..

Caroline and Stephanie Tatin, at the turn of the century, ran a small hotel in Sologne where local hunters loved their cuisine. One day, having no doubt lost her head, one of the two sisters mixed butter, sugar and peeled apples into a mould before putting them in the oven, forgetting the pastry; this mixture began to cook and caramelize but it was hardly presentable.

Then, she placed the pastry on top, and put it back in the oven. In the end, having done everything upside down, she persisted by returning it, and the result was a tart with deliciously inversed flavours.

Ingredients for a serving of six:

6 golden delicious or royal gala apples
2 table spoons lemon juice
80g vanilla sugar
80g unsalted butter, cubed
250g puff pastry

Preparation

Peel and core the apples and cut into quarters. Place in a large bowl and toss in the lemon juice. Preheat the oven to 190 C.

Place the sugar and the butter in an over proof frying pan over low heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Increase the heat to medium and add the apples, cut side up. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes until the sugar is brown.

Roll out the pastry and cut into a circle slightly larger than the pan. Place the pastry over the pan, tucking any excess underneath. Place the pan on a baking tray and back in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry is cooked and golden. Carefully turn the tart upside down onto a large plate.