Apple Tatin with modern twist!

When it comes to fall in New England, I think: Apples! Apples! Apples! I have lived in the Boston area since September 2007, and I am still so amazed by how beautiful the foliage in New England can be. Here in the Northeast, every season has its character and color. Spring is green to me. Summer is yellow. Fall is orange. Winter is light blue with sparkle! Every year, my family and I celebrate the beginning of fall by apple picking. There are many lovely farms with apple orchards in New England. Here are a couple of my all time favorites:

Verrill Farm

Verrill Farm doesn’t open for the public for fruit picking on daily basis. They do host special events to celebrate seasonal fruit almost every month. Don’t miss the apple dessert contest on September 15th! Since it’s conveniently located in Concord Mass, it can get very crowed whenever they host an event. The early bird gets the worm. If you want to pick the fruit, be there AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE! Last time when I went strawberry picking, I was there when they opened the gate! Later on the entire strawberry field was filled with people. They also offer Hay rides, Pony rides and petting zoo on September 15th. You can mark on your calendar now!

Parlee Farm:  

Parlee Farm is open to the public for fruit and flower picking all year around. Check out the picking season webpage. Their blueberries are absolutely delicious! My children especially love the area for small animals. Young children can feed and pet the animals. I remember some bunnies were too chubby that they could hardly move! Both my girl and I were amused by the scene of chubby bunnies being too lazy to get their food!

Lookout Farm

Lookout Farm is very convenient for those who live in metro West. The farm is quite big and they offer mini trains to take guests to different areas. I have been there to pick apples, peaches and pears. My favorite is their peach. It’s soft, juicy and aromatic. There is a well-equipped children’s play area and small animal barn. They also offer face painting, hayrides and pony rides during weekends.  

Cider Hill farm: ​​ 

Plan a full day trip to Cider Hill farm. Pick some fruits, pet the animals and don’t miss their fresh made apple cider donuts! After picking the fruit, you can head to Newburyport to check out some local gourmet seafood restaurants, such as Brine Oyster, Crudo and Chop Bar 


Photo: Valrhona School in Brooklyn

Every year I make rustic apple tarts to celebrate fall. This year, I have an amazing recipe to share from an amazing chef! I just went to Valrhona School in Brooklyn for an Entremets & Travel Cakes workshop. It is a workshop for professional cooks to learn from master chefs. 

The master chef who taught this workshop was Chef Reid. Chef Reid was Top 10 pastry chef in United States from DESSERT PROFESSIONAL MAGAZINE. He is an incredible chef and entrepreneur. On the Chef side, he works with extremely precision in every single step when he creates a pastry. It was my first time to use micro scale to measure ingredients. Every measurement had to be absolutely precise. Chef Reid is very detail oriented. For example, when I was making the red fruit confit, I thought since I will macerate the fruits, it probably wouldn’t matter if I used a good strawberry or a bruised one. Chef Reid caught me right away. He told me only use the good ones and set the bruised ones aside. He doesn’t cut the corner when he creates the pastry. He constantly reminds us, “sometimes you want to save one or two minutes, and you end up spending so much more time to fix the mistake later.”


Photo: Valrhona School in Brooklyn

A successful chef has to be outstanding on both the skill set side and the business side. The staff of Chef Reid’s baking team expanded from 5 staff to 28 staff within a short period of time. He has got apprentices from all over the world. From my observation, he is an excellent mentor. There are professional cooks at different levels at our class. Some have many years of experience, and some of us are relatively young. He was able to correct us in a very positive way. He also strikes to pay his employees fair wage for their labor. In the food industry, it is very common for apprentice volunteer to work for famous chefs for free or very little money. I personally don’t think it is a good system. After all, those who work in the food industry have bills to pay as well. Offering competitive wages and compensation is definitely one way to keep the talents.

Last but not least, I can’t tell you how amazed I was to see Chef Reid elevate the everyday pound cake to the higher level. I absolutely love his twist of traditional Apple Tatin. He created an apple tatin pound cake and gave this rustic pastry a modern look. His cake doesn’t just look amazing, but tasted insanely delicious. The texture was dense, moist and smooth. It the kind of cake that once you start, you can’t stop eating the whole cake. 

The secret of his cake is the unique way he makes his cake better. He taught us to use food process to create an emulsion. I was taught to use a mixer to make pound cake batter at the culinary school. It was impossible to create a smooth emulsion using the mixer. I guess that’s why the pound cake I made at school wasn’t as delicate as the ones Chef Reid made. The cake batter he made was smooth, shiny and pipable, almost like a Pate a Choux dough (To learn about Pate a Choux: please see my blog post HOW TO MAKE ECLAIRS AT HOME: MY EASY-TO-FOLLOW RECIPES  and HOW TO MAKE GOUGERES: MY FRENCH CHEESE PUFF RECIPE 


Photo: Valrhona School in Brooklyn

Chef Reid’s Recipe for Apple Tatin Pound Cake

(This is an original recipe by Nathaniel Reid, Chef/Owner of Nathaniel Reid Bakery) Be mindful! You may get addict to this cake! 

To Make Caramel Braised Apples


  • 300 g sugar
  • 200 g glucose
  • 400 g apple cider
  • 20 g apple cider vinegar
  • 750 g Gala apples

How to make it:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 345 F.
  2. Peel, quarter and core apples.
  3. Make a caramel with the sugar and glucose.
  4. Deglaze the caramel with the warmed apple cider, apple cider vinegar, and butter.
  5. Recook to 225F.
  6. Add the apples and bake until for tender.

To Make the Caramel Pound Cake


  • 345 g sugar
  • 414 g butter
  • 3 ec vanilla
  • 69 g honey
  • 414 g whole eggs
  • 8 g sea salt
  • 414 g all-purpose flour
  • 12.5 g baking powder
  • 4 g vanilla extract

How to make it:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 325F.
  2. Make a caramel with sugar and vanilla bean.
  3. Deglaze caramel with the butter.
  4. Add honey and let cool to room temperature.
  5. Slowly incorporate the eggs to make an emulsion in the butter.
  6. Sift dry ingredients together.
  7. Fold them into the egg mixture and then add the apples.
  8. Place the cake batter into mold.
  9. Let rest overnight.
  10. Bake the cake until it’s golden.

To Make the Syrup


  • 200 g apple cider
  • 200 g sugar
  • 50 g Calvados
  • 1 ea Vanilla bean
  • 20g lemon juice

How to make it:

Bring all ingredients to a simmer

To Assemble the Cake:

  • Brush the cake with the Calvados syrup.
  • Brush the cake with apricot glaze
  • Sprinkle oats on the top of the cake
  • Arrange caramel braised apple on top

If you find yourself in St. Louis, don’t miss the opportunity to sample Chef Reid’s amazing pastry at Nathaniel Reid Bakery in Kirkwood, MO! Click here for more information.

Don’t want to travel all the way to St. Louis? Make an appointment with me and learn how to make this beautiful Apple Tatin at home! 


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