Je l’aime à l’envers – Tarte tatin aux artichauts, oignons caramélisés, et manchego

Who said tarte tatin is made with apples and is a dessert? Even though tarte tatin IS a traditional French dessert made with apples (most French restaurants do serve it on their menu with a scoop of vanille ice cream), we have tons of savory versions as well. Traditional tarte tatin comes from Sologne region where Caroline Tatin and a few nuns owned a restaurant in early 1900 (which still exists and is still called Restaurant Tatin). Their main clients were hunters, and a Sunday during hunting season while making an apple-based dessert, Caroline let the dessert burn, so she had the wonderful idea to add some extra dough and put it back in the oven…needless to say that was a huge success among hunters, and since then became a famous dessert. Out of a mistake, came out a wonderful dessert!

Basically tarte tatin is an upside down tart, now of course, you can play around with its ingredients and the savory versions are really a wonderful alternative to regular tarts.

The toppings and in this case, the artichokes are caramelized due to the juices of the ingredients falling down on the bottom of the dish. For the puff pastry, you can either make it, or buy sheets. I found some decent puff pastry that is not too greasy and remains fluffy and crunchy, so if you have time (about extra 2 hours) and have well mastered the art of puff pastry making, you can make it. In my case, it really depends on the time I have. Today I had little time to make it, so hello Whole Foods. The ingredients for the crust are for about 2 tarts, usually when I make puff pastry, I keep extra and use it when I have lots of guests.

For the ingredients you can use your imagination, this combination is well balanced and delivers a nice harmony of flavors.  The sweetness of the onions allied with manchego and artichokes texture make it a delicious tart.

Ingredients for 3-4

For the puff pastry

  • 8.8 oz (or 250 g) flour
  • 6.5 oz (or 185 g) butter
  • 4.4 oz (or 125 g) water
  • 0.17 oz (or 5 g) salt

For the toppings

  • 3-4 medium size artichokes
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 3 tbs dry white wine
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • manchego cheese, sliced (enough to cover the surface of your dish)
  • 1 tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • salt and pepper


For the puff pastry

In a working surface,  place flour in the middle, add salt, then add water gradually, mixing with the flour to form a ball.  Cross top of the ball with a knife and place in a plastic wrap to rest for about 30 minutes. Remove wrap and lay in a flat surface, spread it out with your hands to form a cross shape dough. With a rolling pin roll it flat and place soft butter in the middle. Bring sides of the dough towards the middle and flatten out with rolling pin. Fold again using same procedure about 6 times. Place in the refrigerator for 30-45 min after the second round and again after the fourth round.

For the tart

Start trimming the artichokes. Heat olive oil in a pan, add garlic, stir and add artichokes. Add wine, salt and pepper and cover with a lid, cook at medium heat until the artichokes are tender. Remove from pan and set aside.

In the same pan, heat olive oil, add onions. Cook at medium heat and let them caramelized. It will take about 15-20 minutes. Add balsamic vinegar, and let it reduce for about 1 minute. Add thyme, salt and pepper.

In a deep dish pan, place artichokes in the bottom to cover the surface of the pan. Add onions, then add manchego covering the surface of the onions.

Roll the puff pastry and place it on top of the ingredients. There will need extra pastry about 2 inches extra (your sheet will be 2 inches larger than the dish, the puff pastry tends to shrink while cooking). Make sure your ingredients are holding into place and using your hand firmly press on the puff pastry.

Cook in a pre-heated oven at 370-375F until the top of the puff pastry is nicely golden. Remove from the oven and turn upside down using a plate and serve immediately.