tarte tatin - serves 4

8 Granny Smiths or Golden Delicious apples
75g unsalted butter, softenedhttp://foodmk.com/tatin.jpg
75g unrefined golden caster sugar
juice of 1 lemon
a couple of sprigs of thyme leaves
pack of ready rolled puff pastry
8" tarte tatin dish

preheat oven to 220c

Cut a circle of pastry slightly larger than the tatin dish; rest the pastry circle in the fridge for 30 minutes

Spread the softened butter evenly over the base of tatin pan. Sprinkle the caster sugar over the butter.

Peel, core and halve the apples. place in a bowl and squeeze over the lemon juice to prevent the apples from colouring.

Arrange the apples in the pan, on top of the butter and sugar, so the apple halves stand up vertically, with the cored area horizontal. Pack the apples tightly together. Sprinkle the thyme leaves over the apples.

Put the pan over a moderate heat on top of the stove and cook for 20-25 minutes until the butter and sugar have formed a richly coloured caramel, and the under side of the apples have caramelised. Shake the pan occasionally to prevent the apples sticking.

Top with the pastry, tucking in the edges with your fingers (careful, the pan sides are hot). cut a cross into the centre of the pastry to allow steam to escape.

Place the pan in the hot oven for 25 minutes until pastry is golden

Leave to cool for a minute, run a knife around the edge of the tart, then place a plate over thepan and invert. Oven gloves may be a good idea for this process.

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature, with crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream


the original upside down cake - a French classic - there are dozens of published ways of making this tarte  - this one works for me