The key to this recipe is to avoid the dreaded soggy bottom. And to do this, you need to avoid the temptation to turn the oven above what I’ve stated and you need to properly cook the apples down until a lovely dark brown – this stops any additional water being released during baking.
First, fish out a large ovenproof frying pan or two small ovenproof pans. If you don’t have any, you can use small cake tins without loose bottoms. Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4.
First, peel your apples, chop them in half and core them. Keep them as halves, as this is the traditional tarte tatin. It doesn’t matter if they go brown whilst you’re doing this; they’re going to be brown anyway.
In your ovenproof frying pan (or another pan if not baking in the pan), heat the butter, caster sugar and lemon juice together. Once melted and amalgamated, stir in the lavender and add as many apples as you can fit, round side down.
Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for 10-15 minutes, or until the apples have properly softened and the caramel is a deep, dark brown. Keep a tense eye on it and whatever you do, don’t burn yourself.
When done, roll your puff pastry out to the thickness of a £1 coin, using a little flour to stop it sticking. Cut a rough disc the size of your pan and lay it on top. Place this in the oven and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until the puff is also a deep dark golden brown.
When the pastry is baked, remove the pan from the oven. Place an upside down plate on top of your pan and (wearing oven gloves, obviously) flip the tart onto your plate. Enjoy hot, cold or reheated, with cream, ice cream or custard. The taste will change your life.
- For less of a puff in the oven but less of a chance of a soggy bottom, you can pierce your pastry 5 or 6 times before baking. This lets the steam out and makes everything a little less moist in general.
- Make sure there’s not too much puff pastry. A thick layer of puff will mean that it will never properly cook through and that your apples will get overwhelmed by butteriness (actually can happen).