Here’s what makes a tarte Tatin so fabulous: Even if your crust isn’t perfect, even if it crumbles a bit when you flip it, and even if the French tart is not perfectly centered on your serving platter, it will still taste like something that came directly from heaven.
Creamy-soft apples in a deeply caramelized sauce will cover a multitude of culinary imperfections. Tell your guests that it’s meant to be “rustic” as you pass out the forks
Plain old Granny Smith apples are perfect for the tarte Tatin (tart tah-TAN). They hold up well in the rather rigorous caramelization and baking process, and their tartness translates into very pure apple flavor when pitted against the rich caramel.
That said, you should feel free to experiment with other apple varieties or a mix of varieties. Anything that holds up well for baking will work. Cutting the apples in quarters also helps them to hold their shape and not fall apart into applesauce.
Don’t be intimidated by the flip, or turning over the tatin. It’s baked with the crust on top, so you flip it over onto the serving platter. But in many ways, that’s the least stressful part. Just be sure to run a knife around the edge of the crust and get a firm grip on the plate-and-skillet sandwich before flipping. The tarte is still warm at that point, so it’s easy to nudge any apples back into place.
And yes, a tarte Tatin will taste incredible, no matter what happens during that flip. Have some ice cream or tangy creme fraiche for spooning over the top, and this is a total win.