Monday, March 29, 2021

Personal Tarte Tatin Recipe by Maya Corrigan

After making a full-size tarte Tatin (similar to an apple pie without a top crust), I vowed to order it in a restaurant the next time I craved it. It tasted wonderful, but it was the hardest dessert I’ve ever made. It required turning a cast-iron pan, hot from the oven, upside down to drop the tarte onto a serving dish. Some tense moments there. I recently discovered a recipe for individual tartes Tatin that are a breeze to make. Using puff pastry for the crust, the tarte has only five ingredients.

What's the hardest dish you've ever made? 


1 Honeycrisp or Granny Smith apple, peeled
1 frozen puff pastry sheet, thawed in a refrigerator for a few hours
2 tbsp unsalted butter
¼ cup packed light brown sugar
2 tbsp water


This recipe works best in a 1 cup (8 ounce) ramekin, approximately 3 ¼ inches across and 2 ¼ inches deep. Since I didn’t have ramekins, I used my earthenware sugar bowl to make one tarte. I made the second one in a 12-ounce Pyrex bowl, adding a few extra apple pieces around the cored half-apple. They both worked, though the smaller one was more attractive. 

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Halve the peeled apple lengthwise, and core it with melon baller. 

Unroll the puff pastry. Using the ramekin or bowl as a guide, cut out 2 rounds of pastry, slightly larger than the ramekin or bowl you are using.  

To make the sauce: In a 7-inch heavy skillet heat the butter over moderate heat until foam subsides and stir in brown sugar and water. Add the apple halves and cook them for 3 minutes turning them a few times.

Put the ramekins or bowls on a baking sheet. Put the apple halves, cored sides up, in the bowls. Spoon the sauce evenly over the apples. Top the apples with the pastry rounds, leaving the edges hanging over the sides. 


Bake the tarts on the sheet in the middle of the oven for 20 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden brown. 

Cool the tartes on a rack for 5 minutes. 
Working with 1 ramekin/plate at a time, put a plate over the ramekin and turn the tarte upside down onto a plate. Carefully lift off the ramekins. 

Serve the tarts with ice cream.

Recipe adapted from one posted online by Abingdon Manor Inn and Restaurant, Latta, SC. 


This iconic French dessert plays a role in The Tell-Tale Tarte, my fourth Five-Ingredient Mystery. When café manager Val Deniston serves a tarte Tatin at a book club dinner, the dessert reveals a fraud, embroiling her and her grandfather in a murder investigation centering on deadly serious fans of Edgar Allan Poe.

Maya Corrigan writes the Five-Ingredient Mysteries featuring café manger Val and her live-wire grandfather solving murders in a Chesapeake Bay town. Maya lives in a Virginia suburb of Washington, D.C. Before writing crime fiction, she taught American literature, writing, and detective fiction at Northern Virginia Community College and Georgetown University. When not reading and writing, she enjoys theater, travel, trivia, cooking, and crosswords.

Visit her website to sign up for her newsletter. One subscriber wins a book each time a newsletter goes out. Check out the easy recipes, mystery history and trivia, and a free culinary mystery story on the website.

Five-Ingredient Mysteries in Order

1. By Cook or by Crook: Val and Granddad adjust to a new life spiced with a local murder.
2. Scam Chowder: Granddad is in the soup after a scammer targeting retirees goes face down in his chowder.
3. Final Fondue:  Val, Granddad, and their house guests plumb the dark side of love.
4. The Tell-Tale Tarte: Murder among Poe fans leads to a local “House of Usher” and Poe’s grave.
5. S’more Murders: The Titanic memorial dinner Val caters aboard a yacht has a fatal outcome.
6. Crypt Suzette: Haunted houses and manuscripts offer clues to the killer in a writers’ group.
7. Gingerdead Man: A Christmas Carol ghost commits murder during a Dickens of a holiday festival.

“Granddad is a hoot and his jobs as a food reviewer and part-time detective provide endless possibilities for fun and murder . . . Charming.” —Kirkus Reviews

Plenty of red herrings, mixed motives, and recipes for foodies make for a spirited holiday cozy.”—Kirkus Reviews

What's the most difficult dish you've tried to make?


  1. Looking back, I don't know if was the most difficult or if it was because I made it when I was very inexperienced, but mine would be a cake I made that was on the cover of a national magazine. It had lots of steps, expensive ingredients and seemed to take me all day to make only to have a total failure of a cake. Believe it or not, the next issue way back in the back pages admitted that there had been an error in their recipe - way too much flour. You would think a cover photo of the main recipe in the magazine would have been proofed and then proofed many more times. Plus why not admit the mistake up front instead of buried in the back of an issue later? Now I would have had red flags go up when reading the recipe. At the time, I was wanting to do something extra special for my Mom's birthday. I taught me to stay with tried and true (love recommendations from family and friends for new recipes) or go over the recipe thoroughly and if something doesn't seem right to just pass on it. LOVE the simple but delicious recipes like this one.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

    1. Eek! The cake wasn't just hard to make, but also not worth the effort. I'm also a fan of simple recipes that taste good. Thanks for commenting.

  2. What a good idea, especially for a two-person or one-person household.

    Tiramisu has defeated me time and again. I cannot seem to keep from breaking the sauce.

  3. Thanks for commenting, Karen. Even if tiramisu isn't perfect, it tastes good to me!

  4. Funny you should feature this recipe today since I started Tell-Tale Tarte yesterday.

    1. Hi Mark, I must have felt the vibes coming east. I hope you enjoy the book!

  5. What a clever idea. I think I may add a bit of cinnamon.

    One year for my husband's birthday I made Julia Child's Triple Chocolate Bomb. You line an 8" bowl with brownies baked in a sheet pan, saving one circle to cover the top. Fill it with chocolate mousse (leftover brownie bits get mixed in), put the circle of brownie on top, flip it over, and drizzle with melted chocolate. It is so rich that a tiny sliver is plenty and needs whipped cream to balance it!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Libby. Including cinnamon with apple desserts is common in the U.S., but maybe not in France. It wasn't an ingredient in the many tarte Tatin recipes I looked at. The triple chocolate bomb sounds amazing.

  6. Hardest dish I ever made was a Greek moussaka. WAY more complicated than I imagined it would be, but it did taste pretty good.
    Your Tarte Tatin looks like an apple pie for one, which is always a great treat for me! You've made it nice and simple, which is my most important criteria for recipe selection these days, so I am going to try it. Thank you! Fran in CA

    1. Thank you for commenting, Fran. Moussaka is too complicated for me to try, but I always enjoy it in Greek restaurants.

  7. This is such a great idea! I love baking and have a sweet tooth, but with only two of us in the house, I don't get to do it very often. Will have to try this sometime.

    1. Thanks for commenting, Mia. It's a challenge to cook for two, but fortunately we love leftovers, especially of sweets. :-)

  8. Two Italian desserts my mother loved but never made herself (which should have been fair warning) were when I made a 4 layer Cassata cake, and once filled homemade cannoli shells, yikes! Your tatin recipe sounds great and easy!

    1. Thanks for commenting, Lynn. You certainly challenged yourself with a 4-layer cake and homemade cannoli!

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