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This recipe is classed as intermediate

Rating 3.31 / 5 (211 votes)

Prep time:
40 min, plus chilling time
Cook time:
25 min

Rachel Allen makes the classic French upside-down apple tart


1. For the sour cream shortcrust pastry: place the flour, salt and butter in a food processor and whiz briefly. Add half the sour cream and continue to whiz. You might add a little more sour cream, but not too much as the mixture should be just moist enough to come together. If making by hand, rub the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs then, using your hands, add just enough sour cream to bring it together.

2. With your hands, flatten out the ball of dough until it is about 2cm thick, then wrap in cling film or place in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes or, if you are pushed for time, in the freezer for 10–15 minutes.

3. Preheat the oven to 200ºC

4. For the filling: prepare the apples, by peeling them with a peeler to keep them in a nice rounded shape, then cut into quarters. Remove the core from each quarter and set aside. Don’t worry if they go brown, and don’t cover in water or they will be too wet.

5. Place the sugar and water in a medium-sized ovenproof saucepan set over a low–medium heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.

6. Increase the heat and boil the syrup until it starts to caramelise around the edges – about 5 minutes. Do not stir once it has come to the boil otherwise the syrup will crystallise. Once the syrup starts to turn golden, you may need to swirl the pan slightly to even out the caramelisation.

7. Once the syrup is a golden caramel in colour, add the butter and swirl the pan again to distribute it through the caramel.

8. Remove the pan from the heat, and place the apple quarters in a concentric circle around the outside and any remaining pieces in the centre, keeping in mind that the tart will be flipped over when serving. The apples must completely cover the base of the pan; you may need an extra apple!

9. Place the pan back over a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes to slightly caramelise the apples, while you roll out the pastry.

10. Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured work surface to a disc about 2cm wider in diameter than the pan. Remove the pan from the heat and place the pastry on top of the almost cooked apples. Using the base of a spoon or a fork, tuck the pastry in around the edges of the apples. Brush the pastry with beaten egg then, using a skewer or fork, prick a few holes in the pastry.

11. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and the apples feel cooked when you insert a skewer through the centre.

12. Remove from the oven and allow to stand for just a few minutes before placing a plate on top of the pan and carefully (it is hot!) but quickly flipping it out. Use a plate with a slight lip to catch the delicious juices. Cut into slices to serve. Serve with whipped cream, ice cream or whipped cream with a little icing sugar and cinnamon or Calvados mixed in.

Cook’s tip: try adding 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon to the pastry. You can also make this with puff or sweet shortcrust pastry. If you wish, use golden caster or granulated sugar, but it is a little trickier to see when it is caramelised, so keep watching the pan. The mixture will go a shade darker than the original golden colour and should take about 5 minutes in total over a medium–high heat. If it burns, we would suggest cutting your losses and starting again!

Adapted from Rachel Allen, Bake (Collins)


For the sour cream shortcrust pastry

  • 200 g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 pinches salt
  • 100 g butter, chilled and cubed
  • 2 tbsp soured cream, or crème fraîche

For the filling

  • 4 eating apples, GrannySmith or Golden Delicious; if using a small variety, such as Cox’s Orange Pippin, you will need about 6 apples
  • 125 g caster sugar
  • 100 ml water
  • 25 g butter
  • 1 egg, beaten

To serve

  • whipped cream, ice-cream or whipped cream with a little icing sugar
  • cinnamon, or Calvados

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Latest Comment


Hi all there , this is rahul , From India ...i am a total fan of Rachel ....she is an amazing cook and more importantly and amzing teacher, the way she teaches her students portrays her ability as a great chef.....this particular recipe was hit when cooked for my family ...thanks a ton Rachel

RahulN25931 RahulN25931  Posted 21 Dec 2013 11:42 AM

used this as a guide, but made mine with Pears and boy was it good though not the first time I have made it, think I had a James Martin recipie before but anyway try it mmmmmmmm

Poseur2 Poseur2  Posted 01 Feb 2013 1:27 PM

I love this recipe and in fact all of Rachel's recipes. I have all her books and use her recipes regularly.
This Tarte Tatin is a clear winner as all my friends love it.

Best wishes,

Douglas MacLean

DouglasM75425 DouglasM75425  Posted 23 Nov 2011 12:14 AM

Hi Rachel
I am from India and we love to watch your program at my place. We like all your recipes and i would like to try out this one for sure.
Best wishes

MadhuK42619 MadhuK42619 Posted 04 May 2011 6:53 PM

Hi RonaldD59194, you should be able to use a cake tin. Make sure it is a solid one though, not a spring form. Follow the method up until step 7, then transfer the caramel to the tin, ensuring it is evenly spread out and then add the apples. Do be careful though as the caramel will be very hot.

Celia Good Food Celia Good Food Posted 28 Jan 2011 9:28 AM

Seems that it will turn out very delicious, must try it some time. The trouble is that in India we do not get oven proof sauce pans since all of them have rubber or plastic coated handles. May be I could go in for a heavy metal or Porcelain deep pan. Any suggestions.

RonaldD59194 RonaldD59194 Posted 28 Jan 2011 5:50 AM

we tried it and its yummmmmy hmmmm made my day

PerlitaM29598 PerlitaM29598 Posted 14 Dec 2010 10:12 AM

i came to know about this tarte on masterchef, so i tried to find out the recipe and came across this one by rachel allen. must say very easy to follow, very tasty and delicious. no flaws at all, i followed the recipe as mentioned and also saw the video and very happy that it came out brilliant...

Asmi2091 Asmi2091 Posted 27 Oct 2010 6:55 PM

I've made this a few times and I'm doing so again tomorrow. It is a real winner. I add the cinnamon to the syrup.

DouglasM75425 DouglasM75425 Posted 23 Sep 2010 10:35 PM

if I use a larger tin should i increase ingredients for the caramel?

carolS81287 carolS81287 Posted 23 Jul 2010 2:23 PM

I have made this tart and it is 5 stars for me..making it again tonight and my guests loved it as well last so thank you Rachel.
kind regards Robyn

RobynC90785 RobynC90785 Posted 06 May 2010 8:59 AM


nardaG26563 nardaG26563 Posted 21 Mar 2010 3:23 PM

The best tarte tatin recipe I have tried...foolproof and delicious

davidL92030 davidL92030 Posted 23 Dec 2009 11:28 AM

beautiful just like Rachel

markQ50465 markQ50465 Posted 18 Dec 2009 2:49 PM

terrymu terrymu Posted 12 Nov 2009 6:30 PM


Enjoyed making this with my 7-year old daughter, who has just progressed from making apple pie with the neighbours apples!!

I fancy trying it with these hard pears that just never ripen!!

Lesley Muschamp

terrymu terrymu Posted 12 Nov 2009 6:29 PM

claireA48527 claireA48527 Posted 18 Sep 2009 9:23 AM

This recipe was a great success and I am making it for dessert again tonight.

Joansie Joansie Posted 08 Sep 2009 5:53 AM

This was a very easy recipe. I watched Rachel make this on the telly first and then made it and it was fab! Fixed it one night when we had friends over. They asked for seconds! Definitely recommend.

DebraD DebraD Posted 24 Oct 2008 11:36 PM