Vegan Tarte Tatin
Tarte tatin sounds difficult and fussy in theory, but is actually extremely achievable and uncomplicated in practice. Its trademark jammy, sticky, buttery texture comes from the combination of three layers: caramel, apples and pastry which are prepared separately but join forces in the oven, where they melt together and become one.
Although tarte tatin requires three different elements - one of which can be store bought - the whole thing can be assembled and be ready to pop in the oven in around 30 minutes. Apples are first roasted - an essential step which results in a buttery soft texture - and in the meantime, a simple caramel is made and poured into the tarte tatin baking dish. The roasted apples top the caramel, followed by a sheet of puff pastry. While the tarte tatin bakes, the caramel bubbles into the apples and pastry, which - once inverted - makes for a slightly mesmerising (to me at least) dessert which is extremely rich, buttery and saucy.
700g mixed apples
40g light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g caster sugar
60ml plant based cream
½ tsp salt
1 sheet puff pastry, thawed or homemade
1 tbsp plant based butter, melted
1 tbsp plant based milk
Preheat the oven to 160˚C fan/180˚C conventional.
Peel the apples, then slice them in half. Use an apple corer or a teaspoon measuring spoon to remove the cores from the apples.
Place the apples in a large baking dish and sprinkle them with the light brown sugar and the vanilla extract. Use your hands to toss the apples together to coat them in the sugar, then spread them out evenly along the baking dish. Cover the baking dish with foil, then place it in the oven.
Bake the apples for 20-25 minutes, until tender and a knife can easily be inserted into the thickest piece of apple. Remove the baking dish from the oven, remove the foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.
While the apples roast, prepare the caramel. Add 140g of the sugar to a saucepan and give it a shake to spread the sugar in an even layer. Spreading the sugar evenly is important as we want it to heat evenly, which will avoid parts of the sugar burning before others have melted.
Place the pan over medium heat and wait for the sugar to melt, without stirring. The sugar should start melting from the edges first. Once at least half of the sugar has melted, use a heatproof spatula to stir it - bringing the melted sugar to the centre of the pan.
When all the sugar has melted, add the remaining 60g of sugar. Stir the sugar until melted, then cook the caramel until it reaches a light amber colour. Next, stir in the plant based cream and the salt.
Pour the caramel into a baking dish, pie dish or cast iron pan. As it sits, the caramel will start to harden, but it will melt again once in the oven later on.
Raise the temperature of the oven to 180˚C fan/200˚C conventional.
Arrange the baked apples very tightly over the caramel, with the cored flat side facing up and the domed side facing the caramel. They will shrink as they continue to bake, so try to fit as many in as you can.
Last, prepare the puff pastry. Roll out a thawed sheet of pastry and use a knife to slice a disc that’s a couple of cm larger than the tarte tatin dish. Poke it with a fork, then carefully place it onto the apples. Use your hands to tuck the edges of the pastry into the sides of the baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the plant based milk and melted plant based butter. Use a pastry brush to spread the mixture over the pastry.
Bake the tarte tatin for 35-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown and the caramel is bubbling around the edges of the pastry.
Let it cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife through the edges of the pie dish, then place your serving dish over the tarte tatin and carefully invert it. Serve it with plant based ice cream or cream.
by Valentina Concordia
Valentina is our Food Editor, who dreams up our tasty dishes and recipes for our social channels. She has loads of experience cooking up a storm in Italian kitchens, so it’s no surprise she can’t live without good-quality olive oil (don’t come between her and her olive oil) and fresh pasta.