This is one of those desserts that I always thought was difficult to make, but it honestly isn't.
And once you've got the basic method, you can use other fruits such as pears, plums or peaches. For an extra dimension you can play around with spices such as ginger, cinnamon, star anise or cardomon. Give it a try!
For this, I use frozen ready rolled pastry. Tarte tatin can be made with puff or shortcrust. I think shortcrust pastry is the traditional option, and it's what I have used this time as I had some in the freezer, but having tried both I would recommend using puff.
So you need to take your pastry out earlier in the day as it takes a few hours to defrost.
Now pre-heat your oven to 200'C, Gas 6.
Peel 4 Granny Smith apples (keeping the nice round shape of the apple) and cut into quarters. Remove any bits of core. Put the apple pieces to one side.
Place 125g caster sugar and 100ml water into an ovenproof frying pan and place over a medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves. Do not stir once the liquid starts to bubble or it will crystallise! Increase the heat and boil for 5 minutes until it starts to caramelise round the edges.
Once the syrup has turned a golden colour, add 25g butter and swirl it through.
Remove pan from heat. Place the apples, cut side facing up, in a nice pattern in the pan. Try and cover as many of the gaps as you can.
Place the pan back over a medium heat and cook for 10 mintues to slightly caramelise the apples. At this stage you can sprinkle over some cinnamon, if you like.
Get your pastry out of the pack and unroll. Make sure it is big enough to cover the pan-if not, roll out slightly.
Remove pan from heat. Place the pastry circle on top of the apples. Tuck the pastry, as well as you can, in around the edges of the apples (as pictured below). Brush with milk, then prick all over with a fork.
Bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until the pastry is turning a lovely golden brown.
Remove the tart from the oven. Leave the pan to rest for a minute or two. You can use this time to brace yourself for the tricky bit: that's right, you need to flip this pan over onto a plate. Sorry, that's just how it is. Blame the French. Put the plate upside down over the pastry, one hand on top of the plate (the other holding the pan!) and flip in one confident movement. Try not to think about the hot caramel that might scold you.
Now do a little Tarte Tatin boogie. You did it!