6 December 2009


Just before we went to Le Grand-Pressigny for our holiday in October, there had been much blogging about tarte tatin. I was dying to have a go.

We have no internet access in France and I couldn't remember any detail from the blogs but we had three recipe books in the cottage. We seemed to have a bit of a problem with equipment. All three gave slightly different instructions but all required something called a skillet. This appeared to be some kind of frying pan but we didn't have one. And we couldn't find one for sale anywhere locally.

The recipe I decided to use said to arrange the apple pieces in the skillet and put sugar and knobs of butter on top, then cook to caramelise the apples. This wasn't quite how I remembered it from the blog. However, in order to do this we bought a fairly sturdy cake tin from the supermarket that looked as though it would stand up to heating on top of the stove.

I cooked it for the suggested time but it didn't look very caramelised to me so I cooked it for a bit longer. I used the electric plate on the hob, not one of the three gas rings, as it was possible to control the heat better for gentle cooking (or so I thought). The next step was to put the pastry on the top, prick it and bake in the oven. I bought ready-made pastry and a rolling pin. Then I discovered it was ready-rolled as well. Still, the rolling pin will no doubt come in handy another time !

When it came out of the oven it looked promising but I was really disappointed when I turned it out. Half of it was darkly caramelised exactly the way I don't like it. Luckily the other half was just perfect - due no doubt to the uneven cooking characteristics of the cheapest oven we could get when we equipped the kitchen two years ago.

In any case, Nick and Barrie, our dinner guest that evening, loved it. They ate the blackened bits and I ate the lighter bits. Those bits tasted lovely. What didn't get eaten was taken away by Barrie for later.

Not satisfied with my first attempt, I was determined to have another go...............


  1. I bet the darkly caramelized parts tasted really good.

  2. Ken - apparently they did - at least there were no complaints !
    For myself, I don't like the dark bits - they can taste slightly bitter to me. I prefer a tatin if it is just lightly caramelised.

  3. I agree that the dark bits probably tasted good, but I know what you mean about wanting it to look perfect. Can't wait to see the second attempt!

  4. Hi Jean, Happy to read that your house is beginning to look and feel like a home again. I hope that everything will fall into place in time so that you'll have ample time to prepare for Christmas. Good luck! Martine