Named for things that please me (“me gusta” in Spanish) and rhymes with balabusta (Yiddish for “good homemaker”).

Upside Down on April Fools’ Day

It’s an upside down day, so MyMEGusta is looking at things that we take for granted that are, well, upside down.

{Pineapple Upside Down Cake

{Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Pineapple upside down cake is the most obvious. But look at all the things we flip before serving, or I preparation, like pancakes.

Sticky Buns

Sticky Buns

Sticky buns, if done the classic way, start with a layer of sugary caramel on which the spiraled, cinnamon laced dough bakes. At the end, flip and the little rolls are soaked in delicious sweet sauce.

The French favorite, caramel custard (crème renversee au caramel) is another upside down treat. One of the few eggy dishes liked by myMEGusta, this is simply a baked custard, like the sticky buns, with the caramel on the bottom. When finished and overturned, voila!

Starting the Crème Caramel

Starting the Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel

Crème Caramel



Crème Caramel Ready for the Oven

Crème Caramel Ready for the Oven

But the glory of all upside down food is the Tarte Tatin, classically made with apples (use granny smiths or some other firm type), but now frequently showing up on menus made of pears, and, in the summer, tomatoes as a savory, not sweet dish.

 tarte Tatin Ready to Flip

Tarte Tatin Ready to Flip

Tarte Tatin Ready to Serve

Tarte Tatin Ready to Serve


Named for the Tatin sisters, Stephanie and Caroline, who ran the Hotel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, in the late 19th century, this pie has the crust on the bottom, and the baked apples are soaked in that wonderful caramel sauce (and a very buttery caramel, if it is authentic).

Among the myths surrounding the tarte Tatin are that it was created by mistake when one of the sisters accidentally burned the crust, and flipped it over to hide the evidence. Another is that they didn’t invent anything at all, fruit cobblers and this type of upside down dish being typical of the Sologne region (“tarte solognote”). And, by the way, the sisters never called it by its current name; that came after their deaths when the tarte became wildly popular at chi chi places like Maxim’s in Paris.

No joke, there is no such thing as a bad tarte Tatin, but the best are not too sweet, are served right from the oven, so the crust is still crispy, and come with a dollop of crème fraiche, or whipped cream if that’s all you have, stateside.

And, don’t forget about Tarte Tatin a few months from now when your farmers market – or garden – is overflowing with tomatoes!

Tomato Tarte Tatin

Tomato Tarte Tatin


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2 thoughts on “Upside Down on April Fools’ Day

  1. Janett Edelberg on said:

    Love this post! My former husband loved pineapple upside down cake so this has brought back a flood of memories. Also I was watching the Barefoot Contessa the other day and she did a tartin with plums that looked very easy and very yummy.

  2. Bea Crumbine on said:

    Dear Mary Ellen,

    Well written, as always.

    …and how I love these! Making pineapple upside down cake was one of my childhood treats…and creme caramel in Manila, London, and Lisbon — always delicious.

    I’ve never tried to make a Tarte Tatin, but remember a French friend making one in Portugal and making quite a fuss about how difficult it was! Let’s try it together one day!

    Your Sous-Chef, apron in hand

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