Dark and sticky caramel, sweet apples and crisp pastry combine to make this heavenly French dessert.
2 tbsp water
120 g granulated sugar plus 2 tbsp
50 g unsalted butter plus 15g extra
5-6 apples Golden Delicious or Granny Smith
200 g ready-made puff pastry ideally ready-rolled/thawed, if frozen
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, stir the water and sugar together and then, over a medium heat, leave to bubble and simmer until a light golden brown caramel forms (no need to stir at all until the caramel turns color). Stir in the butter until the caramel is smooth and immediately pour into the baking tin.
Preheat the oven to 375F. Peel the apples, cut them in half, remove the cores with a sharp knife (or use an apple corer) and cut them again horizontally.
Arrange the apples upright in a circle and pack them as tight as you can (they’ll shrink while cooking), filling as much space as possible in the middle. Cut up any leftover apple and stuff them into the spaces. Dot with the extra butter (or brush with melted butter) and lightly sprinkle over the 2 tablespoons of sugar. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.
Remove the caramelized apples from the oven to cool slightly as you prepare the pastry. Ideally your puff is ready rolled so there’s no need to do anything. (If the puff pastry is in a block, roll it out to about 2mm thickness and cut out a circle very slightly larger (2-3cm) than the size of the pan you’re using).
Place the pastry circle on top of the apples, tucking in the sides as far down the edges as you can, as it will neatly hold the apples when turned over at the end.
Pierce a few small holes in the pastry to allow any steam to escape – this will prevent the puff pastry from puffing up too much while baking. Bake in the oven for a further 15-20 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apple juices leak around the edges.
Leave to cool. Run a sharp knife along the edges just to help release the filling. To turn out the tart, cover the pan with a large deep plate (to catch the juices) and hold the pan and plate together and flip upside down quickly, pastry side down.