Healthier Tarte Tatin with Homemade Vegan Caramel Sauce
Updated: Oct 1, 2021
Tarte Tatin is a French classical tart with apples and caramel. Today I am sharing with you a healthier version of this dessert to enjoy without guilt. The recipe calls for a homemade caramel sauce that contains neither white sugar nor butter.
The preparation of Tarte Tatin can be categorized as slightly advanced because of its "upside-down" nature of baking. But that should not scare you - just follow my instructions carefully and you will end up with a lovely and delicious apple tart.
Vegan caramel sauce
Tarte Tatin would not be the same without a good caramel sauce. Often made with sugar and butter, caramel could be quite tricky to prepare. Not to mention that the classical caramel is easy to get burnt if one is not careful enough. For this recipe, I am making a homemade vegan version of the caramel. Not only does this version contain no animal products, but it is also beginner-friendly. You would only need to stir it occasionally while cooking to prevent the caramel from sticking to the bottom of the pan. This vegan caramel sauce does not get burnt as easily.
For this recipe, you can either use a store-bought puff (or full puff) pastry or make one yourselves. I would recommend the second option for those of you who have extra ten minutes and want to know exactly what ingredients go into the crust.
For the caramel:
2 tbsp water
50 g coconut sugar
100 ml coconut milk
For the filling:
1/2 tsp cinnamon
For the crust:
240 g spelt flour
100 g (vegan) butter**
2 tbsp maple syrup
a pinch of salt
In a saucepan over medium heat add the water and the coconut sugar.
Once the water starts bubbling, add the coconut milk and stir to combine all ingredients together. Keep the mixture on the stove.
Stir occasionally when big bubbles appear on the surface of the milk.
The mixture will start changing color (become darker in color) and reduce.
When the mixture reduces to half of its initial volume and thickens up (after approximately 15-20 minutes), remove it from the heat and let it cool down. The caramel will continue thickening as it cools.
Keep it refrigerated until you use it if prepared in advance.
Add the spelt flour and the salt to a bowl.
Next, add the butter (cut in cubes) and press it against the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles moist sand.
Finally, add the maple syrup and mix (only) until a dough forms.
Place it in the fridge for 10 minutes or until you prepare the apple filling.
Filling and assembling:
Peel the skin of all the apples.
Cut the apples into quarters and remove the seeds.
To prevent the apples from going brown after peeling, keep them in cold water containing lemon juice.
In a round pan (approximately 25-30 cm in diameter), arrange the apple slices in circles, as shown in the pictures. Try to avoid big holes between the apples. Optionally, you can fill the holes with berries of choice.
Pour the caramel sauce evenly on top of the arranged apple slices.***
Next, sprinkle cinnamon on top of the apples.
Take the dough out of the fridge and roll it out to a size slightly bigger than the size of your cake pan (to approximately 30 cm in diameter).
Place the puff pastry on top of the apple slices by making sure to tuck in the edges of the pastry. Using a fork, make small holes in the pastry to allow steam to come out.
Bake the tart at 180 degrees C for 45-50 minutes or until the pastry gets golden in color.
Remove the tart from the oven and leave it for 1-2 minutes to slightly cool down. Then, place a big plate over the pan and (using oven mitts!) turn the tart upside down with one fast flipping motion. Gently remove the pan by making sure not to break the tart. Some of the caramel-apple sauce may leak during the turning, which is completely normal. It will eventually soak into the pastry.
The tart is served warm with a ball of ice cream. You can choose among your favorite flavors of ice cream to accompany your slice of Tarte Tatin.
* Choose big apples in size that are slightly sour and not overly sweet. I used Golden apples, but Gala apples, for instance, would also be a good choice.
** I used good quality vegan butter to make the whole recipe plant-based. You can use non-vegan butter instead. In both cases, the butter should be cold.
*** If you have a sweet tooth, use all the caramel you prepared. If you prefer your tart less sweet, pour about 3/4 of the caramel and reserve the rest for snacks (it pairs well with fresh apples, croissants, etc.). I assure you that even with 3/4 of the caramel, the tart will be satisfyingly sweet.