French food ranges from haute cuisine to very rustic dishes. The soufflé I posted earlier in the week requires a gentle hand and close attention to the clock. Tarte tatin is a lot more forgiving. In fact, the legend goes that this classic French dish was created entirely by mistake when Stéphanie Tatin accidentally put the apples into her pie dish before lining with pastry, and ended up serving the patrons of her hotel in Lamotte-Beuvron an upside-down apple tart. I love teaching people to make it because it is so simple, requires precious few ingredients, and yet the end result is beautiful: the sum is certainly worth more than the parts.
Tarte tatin is traditionally made with firm apples, but any number of fruits can be used – if it tastes good cooked and covered in caramel, then it will probably work. I chose stone fruit as I loved the colours of the nectarines and the tartness the apricots contributed. Just remember when placing your fruit slices in the pan that the tart is made upside-down and then flipped to serve, so you are working in reverse. Begin in the centre and work out. You will need a pan that can be used both on the stove-top and in the oven so no plastic handles please!