Jacques Pépin's Apple Tip For Perfect Tarte Tatin

For a recipe as visually stunning as tarte tatin, you'd think that it must be one that's difficult to make. The apples slices form a beautiful pattern, and the glistening caramel sauce is like liquid gold. It doesn't take a French master chef to achieve the perfect tarte tatin though. According to The Kitchn, it's fairly easy to pull off, and there are only three main components of the dessert: apples, caramel, and puff pastry. Traditionally speaking, you start off by peeling and coring the apples, which you then cook in a caramel sauce, and transfer to a baking dish. Afterwards you cover it in dough, bake for 20 to 25 minutes, and once cooled, you can invert it and serve it.

The classic recipe is great as it is, but there are many ways to elevate the flavors: You can use different fruits, add spices like cinnamon and ginger, or serve it with ice cream. Jacques Pépin, however, believes the key to making an even better tarte tatin lies in the apples themselves.

Jacques Pépin's tarte tatin tip involves skipping a step

Look up any recipe for tarte tatin, and you'll notice that they all start the same way: with peeling the apples. Jacques Pépin's recipe, on the other hand, is a little different. Instead, as he demonstrated in an episode of "Essential Pépin" (via YouTube), he cores the apples, but leaves the skin on. Though he joked that he chooses to do this because he's lazy, he clarified in his cookbook "Jacques Pépin Celebrates" (via KQED), that leaving the apple unpeeled improves the texture of the dessert. "I cook the apples with the skins on to give them a crustier, chewier texture," he wrote.

In the episode, he also mentioned that he stays away from Macintosh, Macoun, and Stayman apples because they're too soft and make for a mushy tarte tatin. To further improve the texture, aside from using the right apples, Pépin adds almonds and apricots. The resulting pastry is a tasty twist on the original, best served with rum-flavored whipped cream.