Spiral Tarte Tatin


A revisited legend...

I told in a previous blog the story that has long prevailed about the origin of the Tarte Tatin. The mistake -or rather the mistakes, since there are several versions, which is already slightly suspicious- madein 1898 by the Tatin Sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie in their successful restaurant of La Motte-Beuvron in the center of France, when preparing their iconic apple pie. That is the legend.
Now, even if the Tatin sisters were probably real persons, the real story is that this pie was created in 1926/1927 by a pastry chef. But here again, there is a debate about who made it first, either the legendary chef Curnonsky or the pastry chef of the famous restaurant Chez Maxim’s. In any case, whoever invented the Tarte Tatin, the Tatin sisters’ story was just invented either to make a joke or to make “the buzz”, and to take advantage of the credulity, if not the stupidity, of the consumers…
So, serendipity or stupidity?
Make your choice. Personally I prefer to be “stupid” and to believe in the legendary sisters in their restaurant of La Motte-Beuvron… It is like Santa Claus, there are some legends that are comforting to believe in.

and a revisited recipe

Like its legend, the Tarte Tatin has been the subject of many revisits, its way of cooking, its shape, its ingredients. For instance, there are versions with pears, mandarins, and even turnips (I made it, delicious!). Here, I more or less follow the recipe by pastry chef William Lamagnère, which consists in cutting the apples in ribbons and to roll them together for a visual aspect that is astonishing. Here is the recipe. For the pastry, I used the pâte brisée used for a pâté en croûte, including around 1/5 of chestnut flour, a good match with apples.

As good as beautiful!

Level of difficulty
Preparation time
Cooking time
60 minutes
75 minutes

Ingredients - 8 servings


The Pastry:
§  4 oz of AP flour, strained
§  1 oz of chestnut flour, strained (optional, it brings a nice roundness to the pastry, otherwise, replace by AP flour)
§  2.5 oz of salted butter, at room temperature
§  0.5 egg (~1 oz)
§  0.75 oz of water
§  0.2 oz of sugar

The Apples:
§  Around 12 golden apples (for a mold of 8")

The Caramel:
§  3 oz of butter
§  6 oz of sugar
§  1 tbsp of vanilla extract (or better, fresh vanilla)
§  1 tsp of olive oil

§  A vegetable sheet cutter, or otherwise a vegetable peeler (but it will be longer and less consistent)A 8

§  A vegetable sheet cutter, or otherwise a vegetable peeler (but it will be longer and less consistent)
§  A “Tatin pie mold” (i.e. with straight vertical walls) of around 8" wide

1 Mix the flours, the sugar and the salt in a mixer equipped with a flat beater. Add progressively the butter. Add the egg and the water and mix till about to block the mixer. Kneed it roughly to obtain a flat ball, wrap it and let it rest in the fridge for around 1 hour. Roll the dough to make a pastry sheet of 3-4 millimeters thick. Cut a circle a bit wider than your mold

2 In the mold,, melt the butter until it becomes foamy. Add the sugar and 2 tbsp. of vanilla extract. Mix thoroughly with a spatula, and let cook until obtaining a light brown caramel. Don’t let the caramel cook too much and darken, as it would become bitter. Set aside and let it cool down and become hard.

3 Using the vegetable sheet cutter, cut the apples to make strips or ribbons of 1.5" to 2" wide. The fact that the width is inconsistent is not a problem. Roll the first ribbon on itself, then wrap the second ribbon around the first roll to obtain a bigger roll, and so forth, till obtaining a big roll just slightly smaller than your mold.

4 Place delicately the apple roll inside the mold, on top of the hard caramel layer. It should normally be higher than your mold. Put the mold in a wider cast iron pan, and put the whole on a stove burner, on medium, for around 15/20 minutes. Although the caramel should normally not darken as the apples are rendering juice during cooking, check regularly and adjust the temperature if need be. Little personal tip, I place a cast iron lid on top of the apple to weigh them down.

5 Remove the mold from the burner and brush the apples with a little bit of olive oil, on the entire surface. Place the pastry circle on the apple. Fold the excess dough on the apple sides and tuck it slightly (as applicable) inside the mold.

6 Bake in a preheated oven at 365 F for around 40/45 minutes.

7 Take it out of the oven and let it cool down a little bit for around 5/10 minutes, but no longer as you don’t want the caramel to cure. Put a serving dish on top of the crust and, using towels or heat protection, flip it over rapidly but carefully (some hot juice may leak out of the mold). The top becomes the bottom and vice-versa. Magic! Remove the mold and admire your work. Amazing isn’t it? You can serve it with a vanilla ice cream scoop, some whipped cream, etc. Personally, I prefer it plain, or almost plain, with just a shot of Calvados.




  1. Just beautiful, so simple yet so impressive! Lucky wife! Lucky life!

    1. Merci Sue :) - It is is fact non complicated at all. Try it...


Post a Comment