Fresh apples are at their best in Autumn. The combination of apple and caramel in this classic dessert are a match made in heaven.
Try clarified butter for cooking, for a higher smoke point. Put a butter block in a glad bag and leave in a pot of hot water until melted. Chill in the fridge until solid, and then wash off the white milk solids.
60g Westgold butter
1 cup sugar
5 cooking apples (Braeburn or Granny Smith work well)
500g puff pastry
flour for dusting
Preheat the oven to 180 deg. Lightly dust the bench with flour and roll out the puff pastry until about 5mm thick and 28cm x 28cm. Set aside to rest.
Peel and core the apples and cut in half. (You can do this before you roll the pastry. Simply place the peeled and cored apples in bowl of cold water with slices of lemon to prevent browning too quickly).
Put a 26cm ovenproof frypan on a low heat and melt the butter, then stir in the sugar with a wooden spoon and increase the heat slightly. When it starts to caramelise around the edges, draw the caramel into the middle. Keep drawing the caramel into the middle until it is all a rich chestnut brown. Quickly reduce the heat. Add a table spoon of water if you want to stop the caramel from browning anymore.
Very carefully place the apples into the hot caramel (flat side down) packing them in as tightly as you can, standing back to avoid being splashed. Remove from the heat.
Cut the pastry into a circle (allowing 2 cm extra) and wrap over the apples and tuck down the side of the frypan.
Bake the tart tartin for 25-30 mins until the pastry is golden and caramel is starting to bubble out from under the pastry.
To plate: Put a large round serving plate or board over the frypan. With one hand on the bottom of the plate and the other holding the frypan, carefully flip it over. Allow the cool 5 minutes then serve with your favourite vanilla ice cream.
When making the caramel, the key is low and slow. Caramel is fickle and can burn easily. If you notice the sugar crystalising and forming clumps, add splashes of cold water. Keep stirring throughout to bring the caramel into the middle of the pan. Take extra care as it can spaltter outside of the pan.