A classic dessert, absolutely delicious served warm with vanilla ice cream.
You will need a 20cm Tarte Tatin tin or a deep frying pay of the same size.
Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface until it is slightly larger than the Tart Tatin tin or ovenproof frying pan and about the thickness of 1/4 inch.
Turn the baking tin or pan upside down and make an impression on the pastry with the rim. Using this as a guide, cut a circle out of the pastry, 1 cm/1/2 inch larger than the pan all the way around. Transfer the circle of pastry to a plate or baking sheet and pop into the fridge for later.
Grate the zest from the lemon and put to one side.
Pell, core and halve the apples. Whilst preparing the apples have a large bowl of water to hand and squeeze in the lemon juice. Drop the apples into the water as soon as they are peeled and the lemon water will prevent them from turning brown.
Over a low heat melt the butter in the pan and add the sugar, stirring until it has dissolved. Do not allow the mixture to colour at all at this stage. Take from the heat and stir in the lemon zest.
Next, arrange the halved apples around the pan, standing them on their ends, forming an interlocking circle of fruit. Depending on the size of your applies you may have room for a second circle of apples in the centre. Make sure your apples are very tightly packed as they will shrink during cooking.
Place the pan on a moderate heat and once all of the butter and sugar mixture is bubbling gently then turn down to a gentle simmer. The juice will come out of the fruit and gradually evaporate. After a while, the apples will start to colour as the butter and sugar begins to caramelise. This will take 45 minutes – don’t be tempted to speed up the process otherwise your pan will burn and your tarte tatin spoiled.
After the cooking time the apples will be cooked and there will be a golden caramel around them. Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool down to room temperature.
Remove the pastry from the fridge and place over the cool apples, tucking it down inside the rim of the pan.
Place in a preheated oven at 190°C (Gas Mark 5, 375°F) for approximately 45 minutes, until the pastry is crisp, well risen and dark golden in colour. Remove from the oven and leave in the pan until cooled slightly – about ten minutes.
To turn out, briefly loosen the apples and caramel by running a knife around the edge of the pan. Place a serving plate upside down over the pan, then quickly turn the pan and plate over together. You will now have the pastry on the bottom and the apples on the top. Once turned out, the tart can be kept warm in a low oven. Best served warm with cream crème fraiche or vanilla ice ctrem.
NB Is good cold for a few days afterwards.
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