Tarte tatin

Tarte tatin

Leiths How to Cook
Peter Cassidy

This version of a classic tarte tatin adds ground rice to a basic shortcrust pastry, which produces a delicious texture, although puff pastry is more traditional. You will need a tatin mould or a heavy-based ovenproof frying pan, about 24 cm in diameter, that will fit in your oven.

For the pastry


Quantity Ingredient
170g plain flour, plus extra to dust
55g ground rice
pinch salt
140g butter
50g caster sugar
1 egg

For the filling

Quantity Ingredient
1.5kg dessert apples
1 lemon
100g butter
100g granulated sugar


  1. To make the pastry, sift the flour, ground rice and salt into a large bowl. Cut the butter into small pieces and add to the bowl. Using 2 cutlery knives and working in a scissor action, cut the butter into the flour, then rub it in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar. Beat the egg with a fork, then using a cutlery knife, add enough to bind the dough together.
  2. Shape the pastry into a flat disc, place between 2 sheets of baking parchment and roll gently to a circle the size of your ovenproof frying pan, no thinner than 5 mm. Chill in the fridge until firm.
  3. Peel, quarter and core the apples and finely grate the lemon zest. Heat the oven to 190°C.
  4. Melt the butter in the frying pan over a low heat. Add the sugar and continue to cook gently until the sugar has started to melt and turn a toffee colour.
  5. Arrange the first layer of apple quarters, rounded side down, on top of the melted butter and sugar. Sprinkle over the lemon zest and continue to layer on the apples, with the next layer rounded side up and fitting neatly in the spaces in the bottom layer.
  6. Continue to cook over a low to medium heat. Initially the apples will release juice and prevent the butter and sugar from caramelising, but as the juice mixes with the butter and sugar it will become a homogeneous sauce. Then as the juice evaporates, the butter and sugar will begin to caramelise again. Continue cooking until deep golden, and the apples have taken on the same colour, about 15–20 minutes; you will be able to smell the change as the apples and sugar caramelise. You may need to move the frying pan around over the heat to ensure even caramelisation. Carefully lift up the apples from time to time, using a palette knife, to check the underside.
  7. Remove from the heat and place the frying pan on a lipped baking tray.
  8. Remove the pastry from the fridge and peel away one layer of parchment. Lay the pastry on top of the apples and peel off the other layer of parchment. Press down lightly, particularly over the edge of the frying pan so that the heat of the frying pan cuts through the pastry. Remove any excess pastry. Transfer to the oven and bake for 25–30 minutes until the pastry is golden.
  9. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly for a few minutes. Now carefully invert a plate over the frying pan and turn both the frying pan and plate over, so the frying pan is uppermost. Ideally, cover your forearms as you do this to protect them from any hot caramel that may be released. Lower the plate and frying pan to the work surface and carefully lift off the frying pan to reveal the golden apples and caramel sauce. Best served warm, with ice cream, pouring cream or crème fraîche.


  • If you do not have a suitable ovenproof frying pan, caramelise the butter and sugar in a frying pan, then tip into an ovenproof dish. Lay the apples in as for the main recipe, cover with the pastry and bake in the oven, inverting it in the same way once cooked. The apples may not be as well caramelised, though.
Leiths School of food and wine
cookery course
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