French inspired pastries, traditional fats and caramel.  I’m on trend with this idea.  The Culinary group at Campbell’s Soup says so.  This group, according to Food Business News, puts out an annual report of culinary trends – The Culinary TrendScape.  It’s where they get their inspiration for product development.

They categorize these findings in different stages of development; e.g., Stage One to Stage Five.  For example, this year (2016), Stage one items are in the early discovery stage – that’s where French-inspired dishes and pastries fell.  Stage three, where an idea might be adopted, is where traditional fats lie.  Of course, they meant things like lard or tallow (beef or mutton fat), but I’m interpreting that as butter for my purposes.  And, when an item gets to Stage 5, that means it’s main stream – everybody knows what it is and it’s time to launch that type of product.  Stage 5 items this year include Asian noodle soups and creative uses for caramel.

I know.  I know.  You’re saying – Campbell’s is going to incorporate creative uses for caramel into their soups?  Well – the answer is simple – they own Pepperidge Farms, Bolthouse and Plum Organic, as well.  I’ll keep these ideas in my back pocket for another time.

Back to Tarte Tatin.  This tart came about because of a mistake in the kitchen.  There were 2 French Sisters – Carolina and Stephine Tatin – who ran a hotel in the Loire Valley, France in 1888 called l’Hotel Tatin.  Stephine, who handled the kitchen, placed her famous Apple Tart in the oven upside down one day.  When she realized her mistake, she chose to serve it anyway – warm right from the oven.  There is a lot of conflicting information on how this tart became famous, however, it eventually ended up on Maxim’s, Paris’ menu where it became world renowned.  In France, it’s referred to as Tarte de demoiselles Tatin – The Tart of 2 unmarried women named Tatin.  Nice.

There are many recipes for Tarte Tatin where each author has put their own little spin on things.  But, basically this is an upside-down apple tart with caramelized apples and pastry.  Some people use an iron skillet – others, like this  one – uses a pie pan.  Some sprinkle sugar in the pan before adding the apples.  Others create a caramel and then add the apples – like this one.  I’ve seen people use Applejack or apple cider – vanilla bean, etc. The crust is another component that has been everything from pie crust (aka Pate Brisee) to Puff Pastry.  Whichever way you go, this tart is delicious.

And, what a great opportunity to learn to make Gluten Free Puff Pastry.  You’ll find the recipe here.  It’s going to take you some time to make puff pastry.  Don’t think you’re going to run in and make this in an hour and move onto the Tarte Tatin.  Plan to do it the day before.

But, you will truly want to master the technique for this amazing pastry.  It is the gateway to so…many pastries – croissants – plain or with chocolate batons – mille feuille (Napoleons), palmiers, vol au vents, Gateau St. Honore and on and on.

And, this is one of those gluten free items that I’ve yet to find in the marketplace.  Probably just a matter of time, but for now, if you want it, and I know you do, this is the way to get it.

Good news though.  When you make Puff Pastry, use what you need and freeze the rest in manageable 8 ounce pieces.  Now that’s convenience that you create for yourself.  So, go on  and give that a try and this amazing Tarte Tatin recipe will be waiting for you.  xoxo

Pictures of the Process

You absolutely want to have everything in its place before you start.  We call that mise en place.  So, you’ll need to have your apples prepped, your pan greased and on top of a parchment-lined sheet pan, your puff pastry rolled out to a circle and in the refrigerator, your butter diced.  All that and NOW you can start your sugar.  You won’t need a thermometer for this.  You just want it to be a beautiful amber color like in the picture.

Pour it immediately into the prepared pie pan and dot with the diced butter.  Be careful not to touch the caramel.  It’s hot.

Now it’s time to layer the apples – rounded side down – around the pan.  Keep in mind that the bottom will be the top of the tart, so be careful with the placement of the apples.

Preheat your oven and remove the rolled puff pastry from the refrigerator.  Place on top of the apples and tuck the pastry under.

Bake at 425F for 25 to 30 minutes to a golden brown.

Place a serving platter on top of the tart and using oven mitts, flip the tart onto the platter.  Remove the pan using tongs.  Serve warm with Honey Vanilla Mascarpone Cream (recipe below) or Vanilla Ice Cream.

Deb Farina

Yields 8

Gluten Free TarteTatin

Tart created by the Tatin sisters in the Loire Valley of France in the late 19th century and made famous by Maxim’s, Paris.

4 hrPrep Time

30 minCook Time

4 hr, 30 Total Time




  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice + 1 T additional to acidify water to keep apples from turning brown.
  • 3 to 4 apples (Rome, Cortland, Granny Smith, for example), peeled, cored and cut in quarters
  • 4 Tablespoons (2 ounces) butter, unsalted, diced.
  • 8 ounces Gluten Free Puff Pastry – recipe here
  • Honey Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
  • 1 cup Mascarpone
  • 2 T honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • seeds scraped from 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream


  1. Prepare 9 inch pie pan by buttering entire inside surface.
  2. Place prepared pan over parchment-lined cookie sheet
  3. Peel apples, core and cut in quarters and cover with acidified water (add 1 Tablespoon lemon juice to water that covers apples) Place aside until ready to use.
  4. Puff Pastry
  5. Roll puff pastry between two pieces of Gluten Free Floured parchment to a 1/8″ thickness. Roll into a circle the diameter of your pie pan. Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  6. Preheat oven to 425F.
  7. Caramel
  8. In a medium-sized saucepan, place sugar in bottom of pan along with 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 2 Tablespoons of water
  9. Have a cup of cold water and a clean pastry brush close by to wash the sides down on the pan should any sugar crystals appear on the side of the pan. (All it takes is one crystal of sugar to come back into the pan of water/sugar/lemon juice mixture and you’ll have rock sugar instead of caramel.)
  10. Cook water/sugar/lemon juice mixture over medium heat, initially swirling to combine. Do not stir. Cook for about 3 minutes or so until the sugar turns a beautiful medium amber color.
  11. Pour immediately into the prepared pie pan. Immediately dot the butter evenly distributed on top of the caramel. Be careful not to touch the caramel to avoid getting badly burned.
  12. Place apples, rounded side down, in a nice concentric circle and one in the middle. Try to make the apple placement as neat as possible. Remember that the bottom will end up being the top of this tart.
  13. Place rolled puff pastry on top of apples. Carefully tuck in sides of pastry.
  14. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until pastry is puffed and golden brown.
  15. Place a serving plate, larger than pie plate diameter,over baked tart. Using hot pads to protect your hands, quickly invert tart onto plate.
  16. My best advice here is, “Do Not Be Timid.” Assume you are going to be successful and flip confidently.
  17. Give the apples a minute to fall out of pan and use tongs to remove the pie pan.
  18. Isn’t this the most gorgeous tart ever?
  19. Serve tart warm with Honey Vanilla Mascarpone Cream.
  20. Honey Vanilla Mascarpone Cream
  21. In mixing bowl, combine 1 cup mascarpone with honey, vanilla extract, seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean and heavy cream.

And as they say in France, Bon Appetit!

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