Tarte Tatin: recipe, history and contest

Tarte Tatin is one of the most famous French desserts.

At the end of the 19th century, there was a restaurant in Sologne, central France, which was run by two sisters: Caroline and Stephanie Tatin. Caroline worked in the dining room and customer reception while Stephanie worked in the kitchen. The specialty of the house (which is also a specialty of the entire Sologne region) is their famous apple pie, caramelized and soft.

Photo: Stéphane Décotterd

One fine day, disturbed by the presence of a very important and hurried customer, Caroline arrives in the kitchen clamoring for dessert. Stephanie, she, with incomparable dexterity, but in her haste and emotion, reversed the order of the pastry and apples when placing them in the baking pan. With no time to prepare another pie, they served the dessert just as it was, right out of the oven. Tarte Tatin was born.

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Photo: Foto: Chef Billy Parisi

What you may not know is that here in France every September, for more than 25 years, the Tarte Tatin celebration is celebrated.

The event is intended to perpetuate the origin of the dessert. The party has several attractions, including a visit to the Tatin sisters’ restaurant, live music, and of course, different and delicious interpretations of Tarte Tatin. More than 500 pies are produced!

Photo: La Nouvelle Republique
Photo: La Nouvelle Republique

During the party, there is a Tarte Tatin contest with participants ranging from housewives to young amateurs (professionals cannot participate, they have another contest with the same theme but not at this event). The cooks work in front of the public and the jury is composed of professionals in the area and they evaluate: the shape, appearance, color, dough and flavor.

Photo: Conseil départemental du Loiret

Anyone can participate, just sign up! So if you have plans to be here in France in early September and your Tarte Tatin is spectacular, put it on your calendar. We’ll help you with whatever you need!

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Below is the recipe for the classic Tarte Tatin:
(if you are in a hurry, here another good option is to use ready made puff pastry, it also looks divine!)

170 g flour
70 g butter
20 g sugar
1 pinch of salt
1 egg
7 to 8 apples (preferably the Gold variety, the yellow ones)
80 g melted butter
130 g granulated sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

Mix the butter, flour, sugar and salt using your fingertips, as long as they are well mixed and look like sand. Add the egg, work the dough as short as possible, if necessary add a teaspoon of water to help it come together. Let rest 30 minutes in the refrigerator.

Open the dough on a floured surface. Pour the open dough into a greased round pan with a diameter of about 24 cm just to make it take shape.
Peel the apples. Cut into four pieces and remove the seeds, add the lemon juice and mix gently. In a round pan that can go on the stove and in the oven, add the dry sugar and over low heat let it caramelize without stirring. When the sugar has darkened (as in the photo), add the shaped apples and the butter cut into pieces. Let it cook with the pan with the lid on, stirring from time to time, until the apples are soft and you can pierce them with a knife without resistance. Take the apples out of the pan and with the help of tongs arrange them in the form of a rosette.

Bake in the preheated oven 180c for 20 minutes, then remove from the oven, cover with the dough and press around the edges, make small incisions in the dough with the tip of the knife or a fork to let air through and prevent it from rising. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Do not take it out immediately, as you run the risk of an apple sticking to the bottom. Wait a good 10 minutes.
Turn the mold upside down in a pie plate and serve hot. Served (or not) with vanilla ice cream.

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