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Apple Coconut Eunji Lee

Apple tatin with Lapsang Souchong Caramel, spicy cream, and coconut sorbet by Eunji Lee

Apple tatin with Lapsang Souchong Caramel, spicy cream, and coconut sorbet by Eunji Lee


Eunji Lee is one of the most successful Korean pastry chefs whose career continues to rise. Raised in France, she currently lives in New York where she has worked at New York’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant Jungsik and has been honored as a Rising Star Pastry Chef. In 2022, she fulfilled her all-time dream by opening her own patisserie boutique, Lysée.

Her great professional career is reflected in her first book, Plating Dessert, available in our online bookstore Books For Chefs. Throughout its almost 200 pages, the book includes exclusive recipes, as well as the meaning behind the design of each plate and this chef’s philosophy.

Below we share one of the recipes from the book, a reinterpreted Apple tatin. This is how Lee explains the creation process:

‘Tart Tatin is one of my favorite French desserts. I wanted to reinterpret it in my own way one day to make it new, and I did get to make it using apples that are in season in fall. It’s common to cut apples into big pieces for apple tatin, but I wanted to give it a more special shape. So, I came up with the idea of slicing apples thinly and rolling them up like a roll of tissue in order to create something soft and yet have a special texture by stacking them in many thin layers. I wanted to create a smoky flavor that goes well with the autumn apples, but I wanted to give it an indirect scent rather than directly, so I made caramel using Lapsang Souchong. (Lapsang Souchong tea leaves are placed on a smoked pine tree to dry; therefore, the smoky aroma is quite strong.) Apple is an ingredient that goes well with various spices, but while I was looking around the food ingredient warehouse wanting to use Korean spice, I found the fine red pepper powder from Korea and thought this was it. I thought adding a little bit of spiciness to the sweet apple would be fun, so I mixed the red pepper powder with crème fraîche, which is a perfect pair with tart tatin. Originally, feuilletage dough and apples are baked together in an oven to make tart tatin. But, for this dessert, I baked the dough and apples separately to preserve the crisp and flaky texture of the feuilletage. Feuilletage dough is baked over maple syrup and sugar, so that you can enjoy the caramel flavor even more. When eaten together, the smoky caramel, warm apple tatin as if it’s just out of the oven, and cold coconut sorbet goes well together, and you can feel a hint of spiciness at the end’.