19 Oct 2018
We all know one of the most classic French desserts: la Tarte Tatin. But do you really know where it’s originally from? To answer that question, we will take you on a journey through time starting from the original recipe from the 19th century to the most creative versions of this dessert that we can find today
According to local history, the Tarte Tatin comes from a provincial region in central France mainly frequented by hunters – called “la Sologne” – and more precisely from a small village named Lamotte- Beuvron.
Caroline and Stéphanie Tatin, chef-owners of a restaurant, were well-known for their specialty: an apple pie, most commonly known as Tarte Tatin.
One day, in a rush, Stéphanie accidentally over-turned her pie but she decided to bake it anyway. This then created a layer of caramelized apples on the crust. For the dessert to be presentable, the tart had to be turned upside-down again: the Tarte Tatin was born. This delicacy was then introduced all over Paris o the finest gourmet venues by Maurice Edmond Sailland, a Parisian food critic. He brought the dessert to national prominence thanks to his publication “La France Gastronomique” in 1926, after he had tasted the Tatin Tart at the restaurant of the Tatin sisters, in Lamotte-Beuvron.
The truth is that the Tarte Tatin existed in French country cooking as the “tarte renversée” (the “upside-down tart”), long before the Tatin sisters invented it.
This iconic dessert therefore belongs both to the humble French countryside and to the “high” food culture of Paris. This duality is part of its iconic character: that it is adaptable to high and low cuisine and “thinkable” at both levels.
Present-day desserts represent a merging of taste and aesthetics, with innovation in the form of a colourful and sometimes invented history. A lot of variations are now preferred over the classic French version, often served with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream. Whether in France or elsewhere in the world, some pastry chefs have decided to revolutionize the classic version of Tarte Tatin with unusual apples using Fuji apple or Mutsu apple for example. Others go even farther afield, playing with the magic ingredient, the apple, by using pear or apricot but also with the shapes.
Chocolate passion mousse
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