Skip to content

Upside down fruit tarts, er, improvised Tatin

[Yipes, nearly three months since I’ve posted an entry! I’ve been busy with cooking and whatnot, just haven’t gotten to the writing bit for some time. Thank you for your patience.]

Okay, so maybe not quite a tarte Tatin, since we serve these tarts with the crust topside, to reduce the sogginess factor. These are more like a pandowdy topped with a flaky tart crust.

plums cooked on stovetopPlums being cooked on stovetop

This turned out to be a rather versatile recipe, where I could use either apples (like a tarte Tatin) or flavorful stone fruits (like plums, pluots, apriums or apricots). The key is to use apples which have a nice tart-sweet balance, but won’t turn to mush upon cooking; Granny Smith, Newton Pippin and Braeburn work awesomely; Golden Delicious or Jonagold would also do in a pinch. For stone fruits, delicately flavored fruits like peaches and persimmons have an unfortunate habit of turning bland when heat is applied. (Although Fuyu persimmons maintain a good texture afterwards, just not much flavor except whatever seasoning I’ve added, e.g., maple syrup, lemon and spices.)

When I have a chance, I’d like to try this with cherries, or fresh French prune plums.


  • 2 to 2 1/2 pounds fresh fruit, such as plums, apricots, apriums, pluots, apples, etc.
  • 1/2 stick (1/8 cup, 2 ounces) butter
  • 3 to 5 ounces brown sugar (light or dark), depending on the fruit’s sweetness; for apples, try 1/2 cup maple syrup instead — I’ve used Grade A medium amber.
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • (optional) 1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • (optional) 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground aniseed
  • (optional) 1/8 teaspoon ground grains of paradise
  • (optional) 2 to 4 tablespoons Grand Marnier, or other richly-flavored liqueur like Canton.
  • flaky pastry, e.g., use a half recipe here.
  • glaze: 3 tablespoons milk + 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved therein


  1. Peel and remove seeds from fruit; although you don’t need to peel if the fruit’s skin is thin enough (e.g., apricot). To peel, blanch the fruit in boiling water for 10 to 30 seconds, then scrape off skin with a paring knife.
  2. Cut fruit into 1/8 to 1/4 inch sections. Set aside. Preheat oven to 375ºF degrees; I used either the “convection bake” or “pie” settings.
  3. Over medium heat on the stovetop, melt butter in a large, acid-resistant and oven-safe sauté pan (e.g., one made of stainless steel) until bubbly.
  4. Stir in the brown sugar, salt and your desired spices. Spread out the goop so it roughly covers the base of the pan. Note that this butter-sugar goop need not melt into a caramel!
  5. Arrange the fruit slices, or dump them into an even layer, on top of the butter-sugar goop. Add liqueur, if using. Simmer for about 10 to 20 minutes so that the goop, fruit juices and liqueur have thickened into a light syrup.
  6. Turn off the heat and set aside the semi-cooked fruit to cool a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes. In the meantime, roll out your pastry (if you haven’t already done so) so that its diameter is about the size of the pan’s opening.
  7. Carefully place the dough over the fruit. Tuck any excess dough upwards against the pan’s sides.
  8. With a paring knife, cut open about five vents in the dough. With a pastry brush, coat the dough with the milk + sugar glaze.
  9. Place pan uncovered in the oven, and bake until the dough has become golden brown, about 45 to 55 minutes.
  10. Cool for at least 15 to 20 minutes before serving; we serve it directly from the pan. Garnish with whipped cream, if you want.

plum tart, bakedBaked plum tart.

Submit a comment

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked with a red diamond, .