Iron Chef Shellie

Heaven-On-Earth Cocoa Tarte Tatin

Theme 4: Love Cookbook Used: Chocolate A Love Story Author: Max Brenner & Artwork by Yonatan Factor Last year for TCC love theme I cooked Hamsley and I a Valentine’s meal, complete with love heart shaped pasta and cupcakes. This year I didn’t know what to do, so I decided to express my love for...


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Heaven-On-Earth Cocoa Tarte Tatin
February 21, 2011

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Heaven-On-Earth Cocoa Tarte Tatin

Theme 4: Love
Cookbook Used: Chocolate A Love Story
Author: Max Brenner & Artwork by Yonatan Factor

Last year for TCC love theme I cooked Hamsley and I a Valentine’s meal, complete with love heart shaped pasta and cupcakes. This year I didn’t know what to do, so I decided to express my love for chocolate and apples… at the same time. I am a chocoholic and I love anything with apples (including toiletries). My parents bought me the Max Brenner cookbook a few Christmases ago, but I’ve never cooked from it. It does have some of the most fantastic artwork instead of photographs. There are some photos, but as a designer who only likes cookbooks with pictures, I found the quirky graphics as a great substitute (you can see some examples here).

I’ve loved the Max Brenner chocolate cafes since they opened. My favourite drink would have to be the hot chocolate with crunchy magic waffle balls; although they have recently taken the word “magic” out of it; it still tastes awesome, just has a less cool name. I love the chocolate pizza, chocolate fondue, and chocolate babka. I haven’t been for a while now, probably since I took my chocoholic Grandma there for a chocolate fix. I really need to make my way through the menu.

So chocolate and apples, together; what would that taste like?

I was a bit hesitant as I made the dough. I was still hesitant when the dough was baked. But once I tasted the dough and mushy caramel apples together, I wished I didn’t doubt that it wouldn’t work. I served my tarte tatin with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream instead of the suggested topping and it was the perfect afternoon tea, and the perfect combination for two of my favorite ingredients.  Will I make it again…. hells yes I will! The cocoa taste isn’t overpowering, so if you are expecting an intense chocolate hit, you won’t. The apples are lovely, soft and sweet and go perfectly on the doughy base.

Heaven-On-Earth Cocoa Tarte Tatin

Max Brenner

1.5 cups plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon caster (granulated) sugar
113g (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons ice water

86g (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup caster (granulated) sugar
4 to 5 Golden Delicious apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and tossed with fresh lemon juice


1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon icing (confectioners’) sugar, sifted
1/2 teaspoon amaretto
1/2 cup thick Greek-style yoghurt

Crushed walnuts, for sprinkling

1. Make the crust. Sift the flour, cocoa powder and salt together. Mix in the granulated sugar. Add the cold butter cubes and, using your thumb and forefinger or two knives, “cut” the butter into the flour mixture until you achieve a sandy texture.

2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture. Pour the egg into the well and incorporate the surrounding flour, adding ice water 1 tablespoon at a time until you achieve a smooth dough. Form the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and chill at least 2 hours and up to 1 day.

3. Preheat the oven to 205°C / 400°F.

4. Make the filling. Melt the butter in a 30cm (12-inch) oven-safe skillet over medium heat (I cooked the apples butter and sugar in a frying pan as described then transferred to a cake tin then rolled the dough over as my oven is too small to put in a skillet pan!). Add the granulated sugar and let caramelize until golden brown. Add the apples in a single layer, cored side up, and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes.

5. Roll the dough into a 30cm (12-inch) round about 1.9cm (3/4 inch) thick. Lay the dough over the softened apples, covering the fruit. Place pan, apples, dough, and all, in the oven and bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 20 minutes. Lower the heat to 175°C (350°F) and bake 15 minutes longer. Let cool about 5 minutes, then carefully invert over a serving platter.

6. Make the topping. Whip the cream, confectioners’ sugar, and amaretto into firm peaks. Gently fold the whipped cream into the yoghurt. Serve the tarte tatin immediately with generous dollops of the yoghurt topping and sprinkles of crushed walnuts.

Serves 8-10.

See what the other bloggers did for the “love” theme.


21 comments on “Heaven-On-Earth Cocoa Tarte Tatin
  1. Chanel

    What a beautiful tarte tatin! I love Max Brenner, especially the Italian thick hot chocolate 😀

    February 21, 2011 at 7:12 pm
  2. Michelle

    When I read this post, I feel a bit better. It’s probably the chocolate talking to me with its indirect endorphins. Had a rough day today. Sigh.

    February 21, 2011 at 7:50 pm
  3. Celeste @ Berrytravels

    Sounds yum! I’m not a big fan of Max Brenner anymore but your post has perk my interest in the cookbook!

    February 21, 2011 at 9:25 pm
  4. Allan

    that is gorgeous!!! that last one i tried… failed miserably. it ROSE too much LOL. maybe your instructions will make it work better haha

    February 21, 2011 at 9:36 pm
  5. Mez

    That looks absolutely delicious. I’m keen to give the recipe a go!!!

    February 21, 2011 at 9:53 pm
  6. Kayla @ Fitter Than Choc

    Oh my! Lucky us! How can we not love Max Brenner? This looks awesome. I probably can’t eat a lot of this because of my food sensitivities, but I’m certainly bookmarking this and making this for the next house party 🙂 Especially when you have such good review about this:)

    February 21, 2011 at 10:03 pm
  7. kristy @ ksayerphotography

    Chocolate and apples? Yummm! This weekend I actually said my next baking challenge was going to be a tarte tatin and this looks perfectt!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:01 am
  8. Lacey @

    Look so delicious! Great photos, too. We’d love for you to share your recipe at!

    February 22, 2011 at 7:22 am
  9. Esz

    Thats so totally killer – I’m going to make that for sure.

    I made a cherry and choc pie a few weeks ago using cocoa in the pastry. I used Jamie Olivers sweet short-crust recipe and it was really good. Nice and buttery.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:51 am
  10. Jennifer (Delicieux)

    Your tarte tatin is seriously beautiful Shellie. I’m tempted to lick my screen! And Max Brenner, what is there not to love?

    I love your plate too. Gorgeous.

    February 22, 2011 at 7:53 am
  11. Ashley Ng

    Urgh, when I saw your instagram pictures of this I died! I’m an absolute sucker for tarte tartin, but to add chocolate to that…? I never thought of it. Genius! Looks so good, I haven’t baked for a while but I think this may change that soon… 🙂

    February 22, 2011 at 10:18 am
  12. leigh

    God I love apple tarte tatin, and your version looks lovely.

    February 22, 2011 at 10:22 am
  13. Hannah

    Looks gorgeous! I’ve been hesitant about fruit and chocolate most of my life (I’m more a straight-up chocolate girl), but am slowly coming around to the tastiness. Your creation looks wonderful!

    February 22, 2011 at 11:17 am
  14. penny aka jeroxie

    Mouth watering photos! And mouth watering tart. Actually I prefer this with ice cream too!

    February 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm
  15. Heidi - Apples Under My Bed

    Heaven on earth indeed! This looks utterly sublime! omg yes please. Doughy base goodness…
    Heidi xo

    February 22, 2011 at 4:37 pm
  16. Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella

    That looks killer Shellie! And I get like that with some recipes. Sometimes I swear they won’t work! 😛

    February 22, 2011 at 4:45 pm
  17. Conor @ HoldtheBeef

    Love the chunks of apple. When I have apple in something, I want it chunky, dammit!

    February 22, 2011 at 6:20 pm
  18. Honey @ honeyandsoy

    OMG! So much for being proud of my very healthy dinner… I am going foraging for chocolate STAT! Thanks for sharing this recipe- heaven on earth alright!

    February 22, 2011 at 8:44 pm
  19. Thanh

    I like Max Brenner too, although it is a bit pricey.

    I thought the chocolate would overpower the apples, but as it doesn’t, I can see how the flavours may work together.

    February 23, 2011 at 7:51 pm
  20. Emma @CakeMistress

    I’ve been tempted by this cookbook before and have hesitated to buy it, but as a self-confessed chocoholic I don’t think I can restrain anymore. That tart looks super-delicious!

    March 3, 2011 at 10:50 am
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Shellie Froidevaux

All content on this site is by Shellie Froidevaux - aka Iron Chef Shellie. Her skills include recipe development, food styling in her kitchen studio, lifestyle and travel photography, restaurant photography on location, styling and shooting social media for her clients and photography workshops for people who really want to change their game :)

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