I’ve been a huge fan of Masterchef Australia since its first season. The first season was aired while I was still in Sydney. My school mates and I were hooked to the show and I remember streaming the episodes on my laptop religiously just because I didn’t have a TV in my apartment.
This time, while I was watching the third season of Masterchef Australia, I was inspired by one of the contestant’s (Alana Lowes) version of the tart tartin. Her recipe of the apple and rosemary upside down tart was for a cookbook challenge where the contestants had to write and test their very own recipe for a cookbook .
I grew hungrier and hungrier as the episode played on. Her tart looks absolutely divine! At that point, I was already making plans to bake it one day.
Her version of the rough puff pastry (the base for the tart tartin) makes it so much more forgiving to make in our hot weather. I would be shooting myself in the foot if I attempted to make a proper french puff pastry in my warm kitchen!
Thankfully, the opportunity came much sooner than expected when I found a bounty full of royal gala apples in my refrigerator. These are one of my favourite baking apples alongside granny smiths. I love them for their mellow sweetness and crispness. Most importantly, they retain their shape when baking.
The dough for the rough puff isn’t too difficult to work with – it just requires multiple freezing, rolling and folding which takes up time and a little patience. Cooking the apples in caramel was my favourite part – it was pretty fuss-free and it smelt absolutely heavenly, a sign of what to expect.
Happiness is when I flip my pan over onto my board – revealing a beautifully browned and crispy puff and beautifully caramelised apples. The smell of the caramel and buttery puff simply calls out to you! Biting into the warm tart tartin on a gloomy Friday evening was the best part of my day. The crispy, flaky and buttery pastry…the bittersweet caramel..the mellow and soft baked apples… such rustic goodness!
The tart tartin is best eaten warm and right away. It is an indulgence with some chantilly cream or even vanilla ice cream. I like keeping the extra calories at bay and having it on its own. I can guarantee that it’s still as amazing.
I wouldn’t attempt making this in advance as the apples and caramel softens the pastry, taking away some of its goodness. I had to learn it the hard way unfortunately.
Till the next time,
Recipe: Apple and rosemary upside down tart
Taken from Alana Lowes
Rough Puff Pastry:
140g plain flour
140g cold unsalted butter, roughly cubed
¼ teaspoon of salt
60ml iced cold water (Just add enough water as needed)
Apple & Rosemary Caramel:
100g caster sugar
60ml thickened cream
100g unsalted butter, roughly cubed
3 x 5cm sprigs rosemary, plus extra for garnish
1 vanilla Bean, split & seeds scraped
4 – 5 small pink lady apples, sliced width ways in 1.5cm thick rounds, seeds removed (squeeze lemon juice over apple slices to prevent browning)
1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
2. Whisk the flour and salt together.
3. Add the cubed butter and put the mixture into a food processor and give it short pulses until the mixture resembles a course chunky crumb.
4. Tip the mixture onto the bench and make a well in the centre. Slowly add the iced water, a little at a time, and bring the dough together. Don’t knead or overwork the dough. The dough should be soft and not sticky.
5. Flour your table and shape the dough into a rough rectangle and with the short end closest to you, roll the dough out into a long flat rectangle.
6. Fold the two short ends over on top of each other, turn the dough 90° and roll out again into a long flat rectangle and again folding the short ends over on top of each other. Repeat the turn, roll and fold. Wrap in plastic and rest in freezer for 5 minutes.
7. Remove pastry dough from freezer and repeat the roll, fold and turn action from previous step another 3 times. Wrap in plastic again and rest in the freezer for 10 minutes.
8. For the apples and caramel, place a large oven proof non-stick (approx 29cm) frypan over a medium heat, and sprinkle the sugar over the base, pour the water over and allow the sugar to dissolve.
9. Keep the sugar mixture on low heat as it will begin to caramalise quickly, roughly 7-9 minutes. Do not stir the sugar mixture as the stirring will cause the sugar to crystalise. When the caramel is a dark golden colour, turn off the heat and add the cream and stir. Add the butter, rosemary and vanilla seeds and stir to combine.
10. Once the butter is melted, lay the apple rounds in the caramel to cover the base of the frypan.
11. Remove the pastry from the fridge and use a cake tin as a guide to cut out a round pastry to fit snuggly inside the frypan. Lay the round over the top of the apples, tucking the sides down. Turn the heat back on and continue to cook at a very gentle simmer for 1 minute. Don’t worry if the caramel seeps over the edges.
12. Transfer the frypan to the oven (on a rack positioned in the middle of the oven) for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is puffed, golden, and cooked through.
13. Remove from the oven and rest for about a minute. Lay a large plate over the top of the frypan and flip the frypan over onto the plate turning the tart upside down.
14. Fix any apples that may have moved, garnish with fresh rosemary.