Ask a Chef: Scotland's National Chef, Gary Maclean, shares his most romantic recipe for Valentine's Day

Gary MacleanGary Maclean
Gary Maclean
If you want to win someone’s heart, this dessert works like a charm

Apple Tarte Tatin

For Valentine’s Day, I just love a good apple tarte tatin, which is always made for two to share in restaurants. It is deceptively simple to make and only requires four ingredients. Once you understand the cooking cooling sequence and if you use the correct apples you will end up with a wonderful dessert.

Serves 6 to 8

8 Cox or Braeburn apples, peeled, cut in half lengthways and cored

75g sugar

75g unsalted butter, diced

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1 block of puff pastry, rolled out until its 1cm wider than the edges of the pan

Tarte tatinTarte tatin
Tarte tatin

1 Sprinkle the sugar on the bottom of a heavy based 25cm ovenproof frying pan and dot the butter on top of the sugar.

2 Place the apples on top with the rounded side down into the butter and the sugar. Some recipes ask that you caramelise the sugar first but I think it is better done when the apples are in the pan. I feel you get a much better caramel as it takes on the wonderful flavour of the apples.

3 Start the caramelisation process over a medium heat. As the caramel starts to colour and darken, reduce the heat with every shade until the finishing hue of a golden light mahogany is achieved. This will take approximately 12-15 minutes. You need to be brave at this stage as you want a nice dark caramel.

4 Remove from the heat and allow to cool.

5 Preheat your oven to 220°C/Gas Mark 7.

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6 Once the apples and caramel have cooled, place the puff pastry on top and tuck the edges around and under the apples.

7 Cook the tart in the oven for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to 200˚C/Gas Mark 6 and cook for a further 10 minutes.

8 Remove from the oven and allow the tart to stand for at least 20 minutes to give the caramel time to set.

9 To turn out, place the pan onto a low heat and gently warm the bottom up. Once you have achieved a little movement you can tip it out. Place a plate over the pan and hold it on top with your left hand. Carefully flip the pan over and voila.

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