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Travel France from your kitchen: Tarte Tatin recipe

A happy accident becomes a classic French dish, as we make our way over to Centre-Val de Loire in the latest of our regional recipes series 

The famous upside down tarte Tatin was invented by accident in the 1880s.

The story goes that two sisters, Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, were cooking a classic apple tart for their hotel guests when Stéphanie accidentally overcooked the apples. She tried to rescue it by covering up the evidence with pastry in a desparate culinary move many of us can probably relate to. When she turned it out, it wasn't as disastrous as she thought. In fact, the customers loved it - and a new dish was born.

Today there are many variants using other fruits, and increasingly using caramelised summer vegetables like peppers, aubergines and courgettes. 

Make life easy and do like the French do - buy your pastry ready rolled out into a circle (in the chilled cabinets, rolled up like a carpet).

Serves 6


1 roll of pâte brisée (shortcrust pastry)
1 kilo apples (Reinettes for preference)
300g sugar
juice of 1 lemon
1 soup spoon of ground cinnamon
200g unsalted butter
2 soup spoonfuls of water


Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Peel and quarter the apples into largish chunks.

Over a medium heat caramelise the butter, sugar, lemon juice, and water. When the mixture is golden, add the apples and stir to cover in caramel. Do not overcook the apples or they will turn to purée.

Tip the apples and caramel into a tart or quiche dish, spread them out and leave to cool for at least 15 minutes.

Then lay the pastry over the apples and tuck it in round the edges. Prick the pastry all over with a fork. Bake for 20 minutes until the pastry just starts to colour.

Take the tart out of the oven and let it cool for at least 20-25 minutes before turning it out onto a serving dish. Best with a generous helping of thick crème fraîche.

More regional recipes

Explore our Food and Drink section for more recipes and watch this space tomorrow when we journey to Grand Est for an Alsatian specialty. 

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