Tarte Tatin – CrossFit Series




In 2009-2010, I was cooking for a wealthy family from Argentina. They would come to Aspen for 30-60 days at a time, but this was during the Mad Cow Disease scare and Argentina was affected. They didn’t want to return their kids to school there, so they stayed in Aspen and hired tutors. Due to their extended stay, my work window was also extended and I got to know the family really well. I’d cook lunch and dinner for them 6 days per week and leave Pastel De Papa for them on my day off. They were actually the ones who taught me about Pastel de Papa, which has become one of our top selling Ice Age Meals.

You’re probably wondering how this relates to today’s article, huh? Well, hold on to your britches, cuz here goes…

Due to the father’s family’s prestige, he had been exposed to French and Italian Chefs all through his upbringing. One of the French Chefs would prepare Tarte Tatin and, which ended up being Matias’s (the father) favorite dessert. One day, he requested that I make it. So, I did some research and tested it out. Not only did he enjoy it, I fell in love with it as well. It’s been in my Culinary Quiver ever since and I enjoy it today as much as I did at first taste.

I shot this video with @MarzMedia in 2013 and it aired on CrossFit.com as part of the Holiday Sweet Cheats Series. I share it with you today so that you can display an awesome amount of affection for your mother this Sunday.

If you’re wondering about my take on desserts, it’s this:

“Eat Paleo foods in Zone portions for the majority of your meals. Work out hard 3 out of every 4 days. And, when it comes to dessert, step up to the plate with confidence that you’ve earned your ice cream.

Have a great day, guys! If you make this, please post to IG and tag #PNtartetatin

Your Pal,

Paleo Nick

(Coaching my little Georgia Bulldog last night…)

Tarte Tatin

Ingredient List:

  • 12 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup unsalted butter (preferably grass-fed)
  • 2 sheets puff pastry, thawed in refrigerator overnight or on the counter (turn regularly) for 40 minutes
  • Enough flour to prevent puff pastry from sticking to work surface
  • Vanilla ice cream, as desired
  • Whipped cream, as desired
  • Fresh mint tips, rinsed

Preparation Instructions:

  1. Smear butter onto the bottom of a 14-inch cast iron skillet and sprinkle sugar overtop.
  2. Arrange apple quarters in a spiral pattern, starting in the center and keeping in mind that the design pressed into the butter and sugar will be face up when the taste is finished.
  3. If you run out of room for the apples, slice the remaining pieces and place them in the nooks and crannies on the top.
  4. Place skillet over medium-huigh heat and cook for about 20 minutes, moving the center of the flame to a different area of the pan every 5 minutes to ensure caramelization.
  5. Once the caramel is bubbling through the apples turns golden brown (approximently 20 minutes), transfer the pan to an oven preheated to 425F and cook for 20 minutes.
  6. While apples are in the oven, prepare a “patchwork quilt” of puff pastry.  Be sure to flour the work surface liberally and keep dough as cool as possible. If you have it rolled out before the apples have cooked for 20 minutes, fold it in parchment paper and store in refrigerator.  the quilt needs to be large enough to cover the top side of the skillet.
  7. After the skillet has been in the oven for 20 minutes, remove it and place the puff-pastry quilt over the top. Cut away square corners and leave parchment attached if it is sticking to the dough. It will come off easily after a few minutes of baking.
  8. Return the skillet to the oven and bake for 20 additional minutes. The pastry will puff up substantially during this time.
  9. When the top is golden brown, remove tarte from the oven and allow it to rest for 15 minutes.
  10. Place a cutting board or sheet pan over the top of the skillet and invert taste onto the board/sheet pan. Transfer any bits that have stuck to the pan to the top of the tarte, making sure to invert them so they match the fancy design on the top of the apples.
  11. You can reserve the tarte whole and cut at time of service or cut and serve immediately (highly recommended).
  12. Serve with vanilla ice cream, freshly whipped cream and mint tips as desired. Earn your ice cream with a workout.

“Keep It Paleo!”

Zone Breakdown:

Carbohydrates: (120)

For every apple we get about two blocks of carbs.   Sicne we have 12 apples, we get 24 carb blocks from it. Additionally we have 1 cup of sugar, where 2 teaspoons equal one block. Since there are 48 teaspoons in a cup, that gives us another 24 carb blocks from sugar.


Our fats come from our butter. 1/3 of a teaspoon equals one block, so again, given we have 1 cup, that’s 48 fat blocks.

Finally we have puff pastry.   There is a high carb and fat content so therefore we have 34 carb blocks and 9 fat blocks per sheets. Since we have two sheets we have 72 carb blocks and 18 fat blocks.

Balancing Act:

We have a total of 120 carb blocks, and 66 Fat blocks. This is a two to one ratio of carbs to fats.


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