Apple Tarte Tatin – shortcake pastry

5/5 - (5 votes)

Grated shortcake pastry baked on top of apples for a variant on Tarte Tatin.  Simply delicious.

When I first started baking one of the very first things I tried was a recipe from BBC Food  for Tarte Tatin.  I was attracted to it by the fact that it uses a lovely buttery pastry, grated over the apples, rather than the usual puff pastry.  The grated pastry dough turns into a delicious shortcake texture during baking, making this more of an apple cake than the usual tart.

I really enjoyed it when I first baked it, and so did everyone else who got to taste it, and I have been meaning to make it again, with a video, for such a long time.

So today I eventually managed to do just that.  In the recipe below, which I have amended very slightly from the original, it calls for 4 to 6 apples.  This will depend on the size of the apples, and on the size of the pan you use.  For mine I used my 9 inch/23cm enamelled cast iron pan which holds a single layer of apples, which worked out at about 4 apples of the size I used.

For the apples the there is an endless choice. They just need to be the sort that don’t disintegrate when cooked.  For mine I used a combination of Granny Smith and Braeburn.  The Granny Smith apples are more tart than the sweeter Braeburn, so the two are a very good combination.

The recipe isn’t complicated.  It just take a little patience as caramelising the sugar takes a little time, to avoid burning it.  Heating is slowly until every melts and caramelises is best.  The pastry, too, takes a while since it has to be placed in the freezer for about an hour before it is ready to grate over the apples.  But the time taken is well worth it as it results in a delicious dessert.

Mine turned out very well indeed.  The apples were sweet and soft, with the delicious caramel taste, and the pastry was buttery and short and much like a cake.  I served mine with some custard, as I really love that too, but ice-cream or cream work very well too.  

I have lots of other recipes using apples, one of my favourites is this apple cake.

Apple Tarte Tatin – with Shortcake pastry

Apple Tarte Tatin – with Shortcake pastry – Video

For the pastry:

  • 320g/2 cups + 2 tbsp, based on scooping packed flour into a 250ml cup)plain four
  • 225g(2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
  • 110g(1 cup minus 2 tbsp)icing sugar
  • 3 medium egg yolks(large in USA)

For the filling:

  • 4 to 6 apples, cored, peeled and cut into 8-12 wedges
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 110g/(1/2 cup + 1 tbsp)
  • 110g(1 stick minus 1 tsp) unsalted butter, cubed


  1. Place the apple wedges in a bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over them and toss them gently.
  2. In a food processor, mix the flour, butter and icing sugar just until they resemble breadcrumbs. 
  3. Add the egg yolks and, using the pulse button, mix until it comes together in a dough.
  4. Remove the dough from the mixer bowl and squeeze into a ball.
  5. Divide the dough into two pieces and wrap each in plastic wrap and put in the freezer to chill for at least an hour.
  6. Preheat the oven to 250C/230C Fan/500F
  7. Sprinkle about 3/4 of the sugar in a heavy-bottomed pan and place on the hob over a medium heat, turning the pan frequently and making sure the sugar doesn’t burn. 
  8. Allow the sugar to caramelise a little and become a pale golden brown, then remove from the heat and arrange the drained apple pieces in one layer over the bottom of the pan.
  9. Place the pan in the oven and bake until the apples have softened a bit and started to release some liquid – about 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the remaining sugar and dot the butter on top. 
  11. Take the pastry from the freezer and, using the coarse side of a cheese grater, grate the pastry with long steady strokes over the apples until it forms an even layer at least 2.5cm/1 inch thick. 
  12. Do not press down. 
  13. Return to the oven, turn the heat down to 220C/200C Fan/425F/and bake until the pastry is golden brown – about 20 minutes. 
  14. Remove from the oven and leave to rest for a minute or two.
  15. Take a heatproof serving dish that is generously larger than the pan on all sides and place over the pan. Protecting your hands with oven gloves or a dry folded tea-towel, and holding the dish and pan firmly together, quickly and carefully flip the pan and the dish so that the pan is on top. 
  16. Tap the pan sharply a few times all round with a wooden spoon, then lift off. The tart should be left on the serving dish with the apple on top.  If any apple remains in the pan carefully lift off and place back into position on the tart.

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