Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin is a modern take on a French classic dessert. Apples baked in buttery caramel, until the apple absorbs the caramel and turn amber. The original dessert is rustic and beautifully humble, just apples cut, placed in a pan with caramel, then baked with the curst on top and inverted. Not much to look at, but one of the most revered desserts for the rich caramelized apples and flaky pastry. On instagram I saw a version that was so elegant, but still looked equally as delicious. Perfect spirals of apples, baked in caramel and turned out onto puff pastry. HOW did they get those even continuous slices of apples. I have most pastry equipment available to home bakers, but nothing in my pantry could create this shape. A little sleuthing and I found it, my new favorite kitchen tool.
You can see me create this tart in my Instagram video and watch the apple slicer create the delicate ribbons.
It is no secret that my knife skills leave much to be desired, so sometimes a sharp tool is required to do the work for me. Apple Ribbon Slicer creates the sheets of apple needed to create the spirals. If you have CIA level knife skills, you may get away with just a sharp blade, but us mortals have to cheat.
The apples: I tried many apples to see which ones would hold up the best. Depending on where you live and what is available, you too may need to do some experimenting. You want firm apples, that will not turn to sauce as they bake.
Granny smith is a great apple, because it holds its shape pretty well and it is tart, so it pairs well with all the caramel.
Braeburn and Honeycrisp will also work well, but they are a touch sweeter.
Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin
6-8 apples (see above for recommendations), ends cut off and peeled, then sliced into ribbons on the Apple Slicer. The number of apples will depend on the size of the apples and your baking dish/es. I would buy extra, because it takes a bit of getting used to the slicer and some of the apple ribbons may not create even spirals. I baked the odds and ends into a “chef’s snack” so there was no waste, but they weren’t pretty.
1/4 cup (57g) salted butter, cut into 8 even pieces, plus more for greasing the pan
1 1/2 cups (300g) sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/3 cup water
Puff pastry for the crust. The amount and size will depend on your baking vessel/s. You can also use a store bought puff pastry.
Egg wash (one egg mixed with teaspoon water)
Sugar for dusting puff pastry
To make the Swirled Apple Tarte Tatin:
Preheat oven to 350°F. If you have a baking stone or Steel , preheat that in the lower third of the oven. This will help to bake the Tartes evenly.
Generously grease the baking dish/es with butter, place on baking sheet and set aside. (baker’s note: I used eight 8-ounce copper soufflé molds. Any oven safe ramekins will work. They can be any size, you’ll just have to adjust the size of the spiraled apples and perhaps the baking time. You can even bake one large Tarte Tatin, using all the apple ribbons in one giant spiral. The smaller version may be easier for the first go at this.)
Create the spiraled apples to fit the size of the baking dish you have chosen. The apples should fit easily, but snuggly into the dish. I spiraled the apple ribbons and then cut the spiral in half to create two equal spirals. This seemed a better size for an individual dessert and my apples were quite large, so the ribbons were wide. See my instagram video for size reference and to see how I cut them in half.
To make the caramel: (watch the instagram video if you’ve never made caramel)
- In a large saucepan put the sugar in a mound in the center of the pan, be sure it doesn’t hit the sides. Gently add the corn syrup and water, making sure the sugar doesn’t splash up on the sides of the pan. DO NOT STIR.
- If any of the sugar is not dissolved, very gently drag your finger through the sugar until the water saturates it all, but make sure none of the sugar hits the sides of the pan. (All of this care to keep the sugar off the side of the pan will prevent your sugar from crystallizing while it cooks.)
- Cook over high heat, without stirring.
- When the sugar starts to color on the edges, gently stir the sugar.
- Until it is quite dark, it will smoke a bit. I like my caramel very dark, with an almost bitter edge.
- Immediately distribute the caramel evenly into the prepared baking dish/es.
Place a pat of butter over the hot caramel. Add the spiraled apples.
Place the apple in the oven and immediately drop the temperature to 325°F. Bake until the apples are tender and the caramel seems to have saturated the apples. The baking time may vary depending on the apples and size of pan. I baked mine for about 1 hour.
Remove from oven and immediately flip the apples out onto a greased foil lined baking sheet.
Bake the puff pastry:
Preheat oven to 425°F
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Defrost the puff pastry as directed. Roll the dough about 1/8″ thick and cut out circles that are just larger than the dishes you are baking the apples in. Set the circles onto the prepared baking sheet. The puff pastry will shrink in diameter as it rises in the oven.
Freeze the dough until firm again, about 10 minutes.
Brush with egg wash and sprinkle generously with sugar.
Bake until puffed, golden and set.
When ready to serve, heat the apples for a few minutes in the oven, then use a spatula to set them onto the puff pastry rounds, which will shatter the puff pastry slightly.
Serve pure and simple or with ice cream!