I've tried making pear and apple tarte tatin a couple of times, using different recipes, and the result is always the same.

When I take the pan out of the oven and flip it over, the pastry is moist, and the thick caramel has turned very runny.

I've tried reducing the amount of butter used, and using different types of sugar, but nothing seems to have an effect...

Is there a way to keep everything "dry" ?

  • 3
    Tarte Tatin? Caramelized apples under puff pastry? Dec 21, 2012 at 3:12
  • So you want crisp pastry (no soggy bottoms) and thick caramel with well cooked fruit? Dec 21, 2012 at 9:14
  • Runny caramel in a tarte tatin is already asked and answered: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/26153/… But no mention of soggy pastry there Dec 21, 2012 at 13:13
  • 1
    What variety of apples are you using? Different varieties of apples are used for baking than for eating, turning into sauce, etc. as they have varying water content, firmness, etc.
    – John Feltz
    Jun 28, 2018 at 15:15
  • Do you add a slit in the pastry when you put it in the oven to allow the steam to escape?
    – Gamora
    May 5, 2020 at 11:44

5 Answers 5


The reason, I think, that most recipes don't leave a thick caramel and it all goes 'runny' is that it's designed to go into a sort of caramel-y sauce when turned out.

Since in most conventional recipes you par-cook the fruit in the caramel then top with the pastry and bake, the fruit releases a lot of moisture into the caramel and making it runnier. Therefore, if you cook the apples separately (boiling them, say) then drain, add to the caramel and cover with pastry and bake, much less juice should leak out of them.

I would keep the caramel recipe the same as in the recipe but just follow the steps above. I don't think the type of sugar will make any difference other then flavor (although soft brown sugars do have more moisture in them).

Also, since everything except the pastry is cooked, try baking the pastry conventionally (in the oven) then grill it for a few minutes to increase the heat on the pastry directly to avoid it becoming soggy.

  • I have just tried doing it this way, must have the wrong apples. Had just about as much juice again after draining and making a seasoned caramel, so I made another base and just popped the whole thing into it. Not sure if this will help but it was the only way I could think of salvaging it after already spending double time and using more ingredients.
    – user47591
    Jun 23, 2016 at 0:23

I think sebbidychef has a good point, you should try the draining. But it's not only the amount of juice that causes your problem. Acid makes caramel runny. So you should also try sweeter fruit - riper pears, sweeter types of apple.


Gordon Ramsey peels the apples and leaves them in the fridge a day before so they dry out. They don't look so good then but the caramel hides it.


According to this website, the reason you get too much liquid is that the apples haven't reached a sufficient temperature for the pectin in the apples to jellify. I just now made a tarte tatin which was more liquid than it usually is, and the only difference compared to my normal procedure was that the apples came directly from the fridge; whence they started out at a lower temperature. So it is plausible that the explanation about temperature is correct. I usually let my apples heat up in the caramel in the pan for up to 5 minutes, so that the apples get warm, before putting the pan in the oven.



There are recipes that suggest you cook the apples with butter in the pan before adding the sugar. That way the jui

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