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This classic French dessert features juicy caramelized apples topped with a crispy and buttery shortcrust pastry. This Tarte Tatin recipe is easy to make and SO delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Apple tarte tatin topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • It’s insanely delicious. The combination of apples, caramel, and butter is just dreamy! Topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream? It’s next level.
  • It’s easy to make and requires basic ingredients. You will only need apples, sugar, butter, and flour. Despite the minimal amount of ingredients, it yields the most amazing dessert!
  • Ready in just about an hour. Plus, since it can be eaten warm, you just need to let it cool down for about 30 minutes before enjoying it!

📘 What Is a Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin is a dessert that originated in France during the 1880s. It is basically an upside-down caramelized apple tart.

For the little story, the legend says that this tart was created accidentally by the Tatin sisters in a restaurant located in Lamotte-Beuvron, in north-central France. The elder sister, Stephanie, prepared an apple tart and realized that she had forgotten to put the pastry before putting it in the oven.

As the apples started to caramelize in the oven, Stephanie quickly placed the pastry directly on top of the apples. The Tarte Tatin was born.

Ingredients like apples, flour, butter, and sugar.

🍎 Ingredient Notes

To make this easy apple Tarte Tatin, you will need the following ingredients (full measurements in the recipe card):

  • Apples – I went with Braeburn, but any variety of cooking apples will work.
  • Butter – You can use store-bought butter or Homemade Vegan Cultured Butter.
  • Sugar – Preferably granulated white sugar. Since we will be preparing caramel, white sugar works best as opposed to coconut sugar or brown sugar.
  • Flour – I used all-purpose flour, but 1:1 gluten-free flour mix will work as well.

🥧 How to Make It

Caramel

This recipe starts with caramel. Heat the sugar and water in a light-bottomed pan until it melts. Once the sugar has melted, keep cooking until the sugar gets a golden brown color. Things are starting to smell delicious!

Next, remove the caramel from the heat and stir in the butter (feel free to use Homemade Vegan Butter), salt, and vanilla extract. Stir until fully combined and let it cool.

Note: you can make the caramel in a pan and then transfer it to the bottom of a tart dish or make it directly in an oven-safe skillet.

Caramel sauce in a pan.

Apples

Prepare the apples by peeling and cutting them into quarters. Remove the seeds and core.

To soften the apples and remove some of their juice, sauté for 5-7 minutes in a skillet with butter and a pinch of salt. You don’t want to cook the apples completely; just soften them.

Transfer the partially-cooked apples to a plate and let them cool until they are not hot anymore.

Arranging apple slices on top of caramel, in a pan.

Pastry

For the pastry, I went with a very simple combination of all-purpose flour, cold butter, salt, and ice-cold water.

Knead all of the ingredients together until it forms a dough. Then, flatten it into a 1/4-inch thick round. It should be large enough to cover your tart baking dish.

Puff Pastry VS Shortcrust Pastry

Even though nowadays restaurants tend to make Tarte Tatin with puff pastry, the traditional recipe calls for shortcrust pastry. I personally have a preference for shortcrust pastry as it becomes less soggy and holds better compared to puff pastry. It even stays firm and crunchy once chilled.

Assembling

To assemble your Tatin tart:

  1. Arrange the quartered apples tightly on top of the caramel. Using your hands, slightly press the apples with your hands to ensure there are very few gaps (apples will reduce during cooking).
  2. Place the shortcrust pastry on top of the apples and tuck the edges inside the dish.
  3. Using a knife, prick the pastry a few times and make a hole in the middle. It will allow steam to escape.
  4. Brush with melted butter and bake for 35-40 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

📔 Tips

  • Use firm-fleshed apples that will not melt during baking. I recommend Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jazz, or even Granny Smith if you want more sourness.
  • Keep a close eye on the caramel: you don’t want the caramel to turn too dark. Otherwise, it will have a bitter flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the butter as soon as the caramel has a golden brown color.
  • If you have a sweet tooth, add one tablespoon of sugar to the shortcrust pastry dough.
  • If using a cast-iron skillet: Once you have arranged the apples on top of the caramel, place the skillet back on the stovetop and cook the apples in the caramel over medium heat for 3-5 minutes (without stirring). This extra step will allow the apples to get a better caramelization. You can then top it with the shortcrust pastry and bake.
  • To make your tart shiny, brush it with apricot or apple jam right after flipping it.
  • Serve warm: This tart is best served warm, about 30-45 minutes after baking. The crust will be slightly crunchy, and the caramel still liquid.
  • While you can definitely tweak it to your liking, classic tart Tatin does not contain any cinnamon, raisins, or nuts.
Close up of apple tarte tatin topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

💬 FAQ

What to serve with Tarte Tatin?

This tart is delicious served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of coconut cream!

Why is there a lot of juice after baking?

Tarte Tatin always has some juice due to the caramel and the apples. The amount of juice you will get will depend on the variety of apples you choose (see the Tips). If you end up getting too much juice, just drain some of it carefully.

Can I make individual tarts?

Yes, instead of using a 9-inch baking dish, use four 4-inch dishes.

Why is my Tarte Tatin soggy?

There are two main reasons. 1) You used puff pastry. Puff pastry can be used to make tarte tatin, but in that case, it must be served immediately. Do not let it sit for too long, or the puff pastry will absorb the moisture of the apples. 2) You didn’t drain the excess juice. After baking, very carefully drain the excess caramel juice by tilting the pan at a 45° angle over your sink. Keep your hand on the shortcrust pastry to prevent the tart from flipping. Next, you can flip the tart completely over a serving plate.

Is Tarte Tatin healthy?

While it’s a fruit dessert, it contains large amounts of sugar, butter, and flour, so I would not consider it a healthy dessert.

How long does Tarte Tatin keep?

This tart is best served warm, right after baking. It will, however, keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

Can Tarte Tatin be eaten cold?

Definitely! While Tarte Tatin is delicious warm, it’s also great served chilled! Personally, I even prefer it chilled.

Slice on apple tarte tatin on a plate.

This Tarte Tatin makes the perfect Fall dessert! The apples are almost candied, perfectly juicy, and so tender!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Apple tarte tatin topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
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Recipe

Classic Apple Tarte Tatin

5 from 1 vote
Author: Thomas Pagot
This classic French dessert features juicy caramelized apples topped with a crispy and buttery shortcrust pastry. This Tarte Tatin recipe is easy to make and SO delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
Prep Time : 30 minutes
Cook Time : 35 minutes
Total Time : 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 10 servings
Calories 285 kcal

Equipment

9-inch cast iron skillet or round baking pan

Ingredients
 

Caramel

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vegan butter
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from half of a vanilla bean

Apples

Shortcrust Pastry

Instructions
 

Caramel

  • Add the sugar and water to a light-bottomed pan or directly to your oven-safe skillet. Heat over medium heat until the sugar starts to bubble and melt. 
  • Keep heating until the sugar turns into a golden-brown caramel. At this point, immediately remove from heat and stir in the butter, salt, and vanilla extract to stop the caramel from turning darker. Stir until fully combined and transfer to a 9-inch tart pan (or leave the caramel in the iron-safe skillet if you used that).
  • Let cool while you prepare the apples and the shortcrust pastry.

Apples

  • Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Remove the core and seeds. Heat the butter in a non-stick skillet over medium heat.
  • Once melted, add the quartered apples and cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring regularly. You want the apples to be just slightly softened, so do not overcook them.
  • Transfer the apple to a plate and let them cool for at least 10 minutes.

Shortcrust Pastry

  • Add the flour, salt, and cubed cold butter to a mixing bowl. Using a pastry cutter or your hands, mix the butter with the flour until it has a sandy texture. Add one tablespoon of cold water and mix again until it forms a dough. If the dough looks too dry, add more cold water, one teaspoon at a time, until it's not crumbly anymore.
  • Place the dough on a piece of parchment paper. Slightly flour the dough and flatten it into a 1/4-inch thick round using a rolling pin. The round should be slightly larger than your tart dish. Transfer the rolled-out dough to the refrigerator while you arrange the apples.

To Assemble

  • Preheat oven to 400 °F (200°C).
  • Arrange the quartered apples tightly into the tart pan or skillet over the layer of caramel. You want the apples to be packed as they will slightly reduce in volume during baking. Using your hands, slightly press the apples to make sure there is little to no gap between each.
  • Cover the apples with the rolled-out shortcrust pastry and tuck down the edges into the pan. Brush the pastry with melted butter and prick it a few times using a knife. Make a small hole in the center of the pastry to let the steam escape during baking.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown. Let the tart cool for 35-40 minutes. To remove some of the juice: very carefully drain the excess caramel juice by tilting the pan at a 45° angle over your sink. Keep your hand on the shortcrust pastry to prevent the tart from flipping. Next, you can flip the tart completely over a serving plate.
  • Serve warm as is or with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of coconut cream. This Tarte Tatin will keep for up to 4 days in the refrigerator and can be enjoyed chilled or at room temperature.

Notes

  • Use firm-fleshed apples that will not melt during baking. I recommend Braeburn, Honeycrisp, Jazz, or even Granny Smith if you want more sourness.
  • Keep a close eye on the caramel: you don’t want the caramel to turn too dark. Otherwise, it will have a bitter flavor. Remove from heat and stir in the butter as soon as the caramel has a golden brown color.
  • If using a cast-iron skillet: Once you have arranged the apples on top of the caramel, place the skillet back on the stovetop and cook the apples in the caramel over medium heat for 3-5 minutes (without stirring). This extra step will allow the apples to get a better caramelization. You can then top it with the shortcrust pastry and bake.
  • To make your tart shiny, brush it with apricot or apple jam right after flipping it.
  • Serve warm: This tart is best served warm, about 30-45 minutes after baking. The crust will be slightly crunchy, and the caramel still liquid.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 serving | Calories: 285 kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.7 g | Protein: 2.3 g | Fat: 10.2 g | Saturated Fat: 6.2 g | Cholesterol: 26 mg | Sodium: 71 mg | Potassium: 234 mg | Fiber: 5.3 g | Sugar: 30.9 g | Calcium: 6 mg | Iron: 1 mg
Course : Dessert, Sweets
Cuisine : French
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About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

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5 stars
Yuuuuumy! 😉