Turnips and Coconut Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is a triumph that started as a mistake. In fact, like many things in the life of a cook, you’ll find that quite a few of the triumphs are the result of having to make a plan… when you run out of something or have to substitute something for another, quite often you end up with a better result. In the 1880s, the Tatin sisters made a beautiful apple tart that proceeded to fall out of its mould as they were lifting it out of the oven and while the master was waiting for his dessert. In order to salvage it, they slid it from the floor onto a tray, from the tray into a pan with butter and sugar. They recaramelized the apple side of the tart and then flipped it over to serve it and keep their jobs – and the Tatin was born.


Serves 4

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  • 6 large turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 2 tbsp. ground coconut
  • ready-made puff pastry, cut into a disc with a diameter of 30cm and about 1⁄2cm thick, kept on a plate in the fridge


Preheat the oven to 180°C. Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat, add the turnips and fry until slightly browned, toss about and deglaze with 300ml water, add the sugar and cook until all the water has evaporated, then, all to caramelise a little.

Remove from the heat, add sal, pepper and the coconut.

Take the pastry out of the fridge, place it over the turnips and use the back of a spoon to tuck the pastry edges in all around the pan, keeping it completely flat on top. (Should you decide to double up the recipe and use a larger frying pan, remember to increase the diameter of your pastry accordingly.) Place in the oven and bake for 25 minutes.

So far, so easy… the hard part is turning it out: the trick is to remove the frying pan from the oven directly to a medium flame on the stovetop. Gently rotate the pan over the heat to spread the caramel and loosen the turnips and pastry. Once you are sure the bottom is loosened from the base of the pan, invert a plate over the pan and swiftly flip the lot over – you need to be committed and confident now so that you don’t hesitate mid-air and allow the hot caramel to dribble out onto your wrist!

Ideal served with a rack of lamb.

Recipe courtesy of Franck Dangereux from The Foodbarn.