Apples in caramel

I am particularly fond of this version of apple pie, as it came together with much lateral thinking. It is a combination of the cooking technique of two French delicacies: tarte Tatin, the famous upside-down caramel and apple pie, and clafoutis, cherry pie in a pancake batter.


3 eggs

125ml milk

40g flour

60g sugar

zest of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon baking powder

60g melted butter


5 apples, preferably Granny Smiths

a little sugar for the apple puree

juice of ½ lemon

60g sugar a little water

¼ cup almonds, chopped roughly


Whisk all the batter ingredients together and allow to rest for at least half an hour.


The pie includes apple three ways: pureed, cubed and sliced.

Chop 3 apples and cook with a little sugar until soft, then puree. Chop 1 apple into little cubes and another into fine slices, allowing them to soak in a little lemon juice


Make some caramel by gently cooking the 60g sugar with a little water. Keep the heat low and keep working the sugar with a wooden spoon. Once the sugar melts and caramelises, keep swirling the saucepan until it reaches the flavour you like. This is much easier in the microwave. Once you have it to your liking, set it aside and keep it warm.


Pour the caramel into the base of a large heavily buttered pie dish (or several small ones if you have them). Add the batter, then the puree, sliced apples, chopped apples and almonds. The collection should reach to just under the top of the mould.


Bake in a 220°C oven until cooked, between 20 and 30 minutes. It should be firm, but yielding to the touch.


Unmould onto a plate, so the bottom is the top! The un-moulding takes a little work. You might need to prise the bottom away from the mould with a spatula, but if the pie is still hot from the oven, it should come away easily. If you intend to serve it cold, unmould while the pie is still hot.


You could also use pears or rhubarb or apricots with this dish, but if you’re as happy with apples as I am then why bother? The dish really does look great on the plate, and the variations in texture and flavour through each layer make it a real winner. Be careful not to have a heavy hand with the sugar when cooking the apples, as the caramel provides plenty of sweetness on its own. One of the beauties of this pie is that it can be made well in advance and loses absolutely nothing in re-heating.

Wine: Try a youngish botrytis Rhine riesling — something that has some acid backbone to cut through the caramel.