25 Apr2006


Apples, sugar, butter, vanilla and puff pastry + oven = delicious dessert. Add some whipped cream and a dollop of good vanilla ice cream and you have simply gone over the top. A few weeks ago I used several dozen green Macintosh apples in a buffet for my daughter’s “moving up” ceremony. I took the extras home and had planned to make an apple pie. But the next lazy Sunday afternoon, some friends called at about 4 pm and instead of eating out we decided to cook something relatively quick at home. We decided on some Duck Confit that we had in stock in the fridge, an instant risotto Milanese augmented with fresh portabello mushrooms I got at the market the day before and a simple tarte tatin to finish it off. Our guests brought the red wine and the heavy cream and vanilla ice cream. I have made tart tatin several times before, often with mixed results. However, despite varying successes on the tarte, the taste has always been satisfying…

Some points to consider before you try this recipe at home. tartt2The quality of the apples is simply IMPERATIVE. If you do not have the freshest, crunchiest, flavorful specimens you will probably have a slightly to very mushy tart tatin. Personally, I don’t mind slightly mushy as the flavor is still there but it doesn’t look as photogenic… While I generally like green Macintosh apples in pies, other cooks have suggested using Fuji (worked well when I tried it) and other firmer apples that retain their shape. I like starting with tart apples as it adds to the character of the dish. I was thinking of trying to use some brilliant crisp royal gala apples that have been in the groceries lately, but I didn’t have enough apples to make a whole tart.

To make, get a 9-10 inch large cast iron or ovenproof stainless steel pan. Spread about a cup or slightly more of granulated sugar on the bottom of the pan. Add about 5-7 tablespoons of butter in small dabs above the sugar. Sprinkle about 2 teaspoons of good vanilla extract over the butter and sugar. tartt3Peel and core 10-12 medium apples and slice in halves. Arrange the apple halves in concentric circles with the rounded side facing the outer edges of the pan. Pack them in tightly as they will shrink after cooking. Place this on the stove top and over medium heat. The sugar and butter will melt and slowly caramelize. Lower the heat if necessary to achieve a slight gurgling of syrup for about 45-50 minutes or until the liquid is a light caramel color. Don’t overdo it as it has to go into the oven still… Take this off of the flame and cover with thawed commercial puff pastry (or make your own from scratch-royal pain in the neck) and brush with an egg wash. Stick in 450 degree oven for about 25 minutes or so until pastry is puffed and light golden brown. Take out of the oven, carefully invert on a serving platter and serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream and or vanilla ice cream. The pastry will get soggy after a few hours in the tropical humidity so this shouldn’t be made too far in advance. This tarte tatin is an easy, delicious dessert with a minimal amount of fuss. I did not invent this recipe, I know it’s at least partially from a French cookbook but I can’t remember which one as it has been years since I read the recipe.



  1. bettina says:

    Hi MM, sounds easy and delicious! But where do I get puff pastry? Is that available in groceries here in Makati? Thanks!

    Apr 25, 2006 | 1:47 pm


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  3. Gigi says:

    Actually, MM, methinks it’s more appetizing because it’s “slightly mushy”. Love it that way than the firmer kind.

    Apr 25, 2006 | 3:14 pm

  4. goodtimer says:

    looks good! however, isn’t it difficult to find commercially available frozen puff pastry? i don’t see them in groceries, not even in santi’s. santi’s has phyllo sheets though. u think phyllo will be appropriate as a substitute?

    Apr 25, 2006 | 7:43 pm

  5. Marketman says:

    I got my frozen puff pastry at Santis Forbes Park and they have it at Yakal as well. It wasn’t that expensive when you consider how hard it is to make. You can also use a pie like pastry made from scratch on the bottom but I like the flakiness of puff pastry. Phyllo strikes me as being a bit too delicate for this dessert…

    Apr 25, 2006 | 8:03 pm

  6. edee says:

    is phyllo the same as filo pastry?

    Apr 25, 2006 | 9:23 pm

  7. Marketman says:

    edee, yup I think it is the same thing…

    Apr 25, 2006 | 9:35 pm

  8. sheila says:

    OMG! it’s already 11pm and i should already be sleeping coz we’re leaving dagupan in an hour for an early cebu flight tomorrow! what can i do, i got hooked! i chanced upon your site late this afternoon and here i am still in front of the computer wishing the cebu trip would be cancelled just so i can stay in this site until i have read all your posts from the first one to the last. (my eyes already hurt, but i guess it will be worth it!)GOT SOME CATCHING UP TO DO! So far had mixed emotions/moods already… from craving (with all the food pics, i think craving is an understatement), ravingly mad (with that mylai dimaculangan, wonder what my reaction would have been have i read her other comments that u deleted), to laughing-out-loud for the charmin, april fool’s day, etc posts.

    I will just continue reading now until we have to leave. Good thing i bought new dark glasses where i can hide my eyebags tomorrow. No wonder i wanted so bad to get new sun glasses, i was destined to discover your site, and get hooked, and just leave the eyebags problem to them glasses.

    Thanks MM! I will surely get back on this site the first minute i lay my hands on a computer (during the trip or when i get back home). This is one addiction im sure my mother won’t mind. To all: love reading your comments!

    Apr 25, 2006 | 11:29 pm

  9. Chris says:

    Tarte tatin! One of my favourites. One tip for those buying frozen puff pastry, there are two kinds available at Santis: the ready-rolled ones that come in packs of 6-7 sheets, and a dough of about 350G that you still have to roll out. For tarte tatin, the unrolled dough would be a better choice. The former, I find, is rolled out too thinly and is better suited for small appetizers or as a wrap. So roll the dough yourself to about 1/3″ thickness. It’ll puff up more beautifully.

    Apr 26, 2006 | 1:31 am

  10. fried-neurons says:

    Mmmmm! Tarte tatin!


    I tried making that once. My friend kept reminding me to use an oven thermometer because I had an older oven at the time. I didn’t listen. The dough ended up burned.

    Apr 26, 2006 | 5:47 am

  11. rina says:

    i think the brand that’s in santis is Pampas puff pastry…

    MM, have you tried making a savoury tarte tatin? tried one with sweet vidalia onions, very nice!

    Apr 26, 2006 | 12:46 pm

  12. Marketman says:

    Oh yum, rina that sounds superb. And I have a huge Dole white onion that is more akin to a vidalia than anything else locally available. But I am getting on the plane soon so I don’t have time…bummer, maybe when I get back I will try the savory version. I can see a few anchovies as well… Chris, you are right, I used the version that needed to be rolled out…Sheila, glad you are enjoying the site so much you are risking eyebags…heehee.

    Apr 26, 2006 | 1:27 pm

  13. Mona Caccam says:

    Hi, Marketman! I have been forever looking for ready-made puff pastry. When I was living in Melbourne it was so easy to find them in the frozen section, so I was so motivated to make curry puffs and desserts. Pag dating ko sa Manila… with all the heat I couldn’t bring myself to even try making the pastry from scratch at home. Finally! There is a Santi’s here along Escriva Drive and I plan to check if they have some in stock. Enjoy your Europe trip!

    Apr 29, 2006 | 3:15 pm

  14. Pilinut says:

    Hi, MM!
    I thoroughly enjoy a good tarte Tatin, too. And I think that a good crisp Granny Smith is probably the best readily-available apple for this dish. Fujis don’t usually have enough flavor.

    I use the recipe from “Le Site Officiel de la Tarte Tatin”. Very similar to yours, with 150g butter + 125g sugar + 1 kg apples.

    I’ve tried using a good pie crust pastry (NOT a cookie crust pastry, but a proper flaky pastry turned and rolled one more time than usual to give it a bit more resiliency) and it was actually better eating than the all-butter puff pastry I had been using previously. (Dufour brand, available frozen in the U.S.) Not as spectacular to look at as puff pastry, but somehow better in the mouth.

    May 1, 2006 | 2:49 pm

  15. relly says:

    wow, market man one of my favorite french tarte! usually serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.. bravo!!

    May 3, 2006 | 4:35 pm

  16. mgr says:

    I’ved tried different apples already but still can’t seem to get the dark caramelized color of the apples. The juice from the apples waters down the syrup making it more pale and mushy. I tried less time stovetop, more time, less oven time as the puff pastry closes in on the apples making it more mushy..I wanted to achieve the “malagkit” apples affect like the one I had in Rome ( La Campana restaurant)but was unable to duplicate..help..

    May 21, 2006 | 3:13 am

  17. Marketman says:

    mgr, the apples have to be incredibly crisp and fresh to start with. Then I have them on the stove top gently gurgling until they turn that nice brown caramel you seek. It takes patience… Locally, you can try the green granny smiths or very fresh fujis. Mushiness is a problem but frankly I like them a bit mushy. The key difference between our attempts here and a European Tarte is mostly the apples themselves… Also, I find a cast iron pan is critical somehow…

    May 21, 2006 | 9:07 am

  18. rina says:

    grin….grin….grin….sorry can’t help it, I just had another shopping victory yesterday…a $10 cast iron tarte tatin pan by le cuistot (the le creuset one would have been better, but i’m not complaining!)

    May 22, 2006 | 8:57 am


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