This Tarte Tatin recipe is the best classic French apple tart made simple – caramelized apples in a sweet & buttery caramel sauce with a flaky pastry crust! Enjoy a slice of France from the comfort of your own kitchen with this timeless and authentic recipe, including pro tips and tricks for the PERFECT homemade Tarte Tatin!
On a recent trip to Paris we had the pleasure of enjoying a slice or two of one of France’s most renowned desserts – Tarte Tatin. Sitting at a table at the infamous Cafe de Flore sipping café au lait and savouring a slice of their delicious Tarte Tatin was an unforgettable experience – one we hope to repeat!
This Tarte Tatin recipe is one of our favourites and we’re thrilled to be sharing it with you today. If you love a good apple dessert or if you’re a fan of French food, this Tarte Tatin recipe is going to make your day!
If you’ve never heard of Tarte Tatin, it’s a classic French pastry made with apples caramelized in an easy homemade caramel sauce, topped with puff pastry, and baked to golden brown perfection. Once it’s baked, it’s turned out onto a serving plate upside down. Essentially, Tarte Tatin is an upside-down apple tart that we just can’t get enough of!
In a world full of apple tarts, here are all the most important things that make the classic French Tarte Tatin stand apart from the others:
- Upside-Down Caramelization: Unlike most apple tarts that are baked with the apples on top, Tarte Tatin is assembled upside-down. The apples are caramelized in a smooth, buttery caramel sauce at the bottom of the pan, creating a luscious, gooey, and slightly sticky texture.
- Caramelization of the Apples: The apples used in a classic Tarte Tatin are typically firm and tart varieties, like Golden Delicious or Granny Smith. When cooked in the caramel, they turn beautifully golden brown and tender, and they’re infused with the rich flavours of the butter and the sugar.
- Pastry Crust: Tarte Tatin is traditionally made with a simple buttery puff pastry. This complements the sweet and caramelized apples without overpowering them, keeping the flavours simple and classic. The pastry is usually rolled out to cover the caramelized apples and tucked into the edges, creating a delicious and rustic crust once the tart is flipped.
- Flipping the Tart: The signature moment of a Tarte Tatin is when it is flipped over after baking. The pan is inverted onto a serving dish, revealing the caramelized apples beautifully arranged on top of the golden crust.
- Simplicity: Classic and authentic Tarte Tatin recipes are minimalist in their approach, focusing on a few simple, high-quality ingredients. This simplicity allows the natural flavours of the apples and the caramel to shine through – something we LOVE about this classic dessert!
- Sweetness: The combination of caramelized sugar, butter, and apples results in a perfectly balanced sweetness that is not overly sweet but so satisfyingly rich and indulgent.
- Served Warm: Tarte Tatin is best served warm. The contrast between the warm, gooey caramelized apples and the flaky, buttery pastry creates an irresistible dessert experience.
- Cultural Significance: Tarte Tatin holds a special place in French culinary history and it’s considered by many to be a symbol of the country’s culinary heritage. Its rustic charm and delicious flavours have made their way into countless French bistros and patisseries and Tarte Tatin has become the epitome of classic French food, right alongside the croissant or the macaron!
If you’re looking for more dessert recipes that are both classic and rustically beautiful, check out this list of our favourites!
- San Sebastian Cheesecake
- Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp
- Easy No Bake Key Lime Pie
- Perfect Lemon Pound Cake
- Vanilla Bean Custard Fruit Tarts with Honey Glazed Fruit
- Grasshopper Pie
- Angel Food Cake
- Raspberry Pie
Like most classic desserts, the ingredients list for Tarte Tatin is short and sweet! Basic ingredients are all you need to create this classic French masterpiece!
- golden delicious apples
- granulated sugar
- ground cinnamon
- fresh or frozen puff pastry (thaw in the fridge before using)
While we love a good classic Tarte Tatin, these variations on the classic recipe are also delicious!
- Pear: A delightful alternative to apple, ripe pears are a delicious substitution. The soft texture of the pears pairs beautifully with the flaky pastry, resulting in a delectable Pear Tarte Tatin.
- Pineapple: Slices of fresh pineapple caramelized with a hint of rum, infusing the tart with delightful tropical flavours.
- Plum: Juicy plums caramelized to perfection, offering a vibrant burst of colour and flavour. The sweet-tart combination of plums complements the buttery pastry, making Plum Tarte Tatin a delightful seasonal treat to make with fresh, local plums.
- Banana: Caramelize bananas with brown sugar and a touch of cinnamon before baking – an ultra comforting dessert!
As with most classic desserts, you won’t need any special kitchen tools to make this delicious recipe! Some professional French chefs use an expensive Tarte Tatin pan, but here’s what we recommend using for this French apple tart recipe (affiliate links):
- a fruit and vegetable peeler
- a chopping board
- a sharp knife
- a cast iron skillet
- a whisk
- a silicone spatula
- a serving platter
Time needed: 1 hour
Follow these steps for the perfect French apple tart!
- Preheat your oven.
You’ll need to bake your Tarte Tatin at a high temperature, so preheat your oven to 200℃ (400℉).
- Peel and halve your apples.
Be sure to peel the apples well and evenly, and slice them in half.
- Thaw and prepare the puff pastry.
From your sheet of puff pastry cut out a circle one inch larger than your pan.
- Make the caramel.
Add the sugar and water to an oven safe pan and melt them over low to medium heat. Be careful not to burn your sugar! It should have a light auburn colour. Once the sugar has melted add the butter in small cubes and mix well with a silicone whisk. Remove from heat, add the cinnamon and mix again.
- Add the apples.
Place your apple halves cut side up in the caramel.
- Add the pastry.
Place your puff pastry disk on top of your apple halves, careful to not burn yourself on the hot pan. With a silicone spatula, tuck the edges of the crust under the apples.
Bake at 200℃ (400℉) for 30-35 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown and baked through.
- Let it rest before flipping.
Let the tart rest for 5-10 minutes and flip on a large serving platter, being careful to not burn yourself with the hot caramel sauce.
- Let it rest again.
Rest the pie a little more so that the puff pastry can soak in the caramel. Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
What is special about Tarte Tatin?
Tarte Tatin is so special and unique because it’s classically French and it’s made upside down and inverted unlike most apple tarts.
What’s the difference between a tart and a tatin?
A tart is baked fruit-side up and a tatin is baked upside down and inverted before serving. In a tatin, the fruit is baked in its sauce, creating a deliciously caramelized flavour.
What type of apples are best for making Tarte Tatin?
Use apples that can handle the heat, like Golden Delicious or Granny Smith. They won’t turn into mush while being caramelized, giving your Tarte Tatin the perfect texture.
What is the best type of pan to use for making Tarte Tatin?
A 12-inch cast-iron skillet is a go-to for even heat distribution. Any oven-safe skillet or frying pan with straight sides will do the trick.
How do I achieve the perfect pastry crust for Tarte Tatin?
Buttery and flaky is the name of the game! Whether you’re using puff or shortcrust pastry, make sure it’s rolled out just right to cover those caramelized apples like a warm blanket.
How do I prevent the caramel from burning?
To avoid burning, keep a watchful eye and cook it on low to medium heat until it turns a golden brown colour. Patience is key!
Is Tarte Tatin traditionally served with any accompaniments or toppings?
Tarte Tatin doesn’t need much company, but a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream is a classic pairing that takes it to the next level.
How do I flip the Tarte Tatin without making a mess?
Place a plate or serving dish over the pan, then quickly flip it over. Let gravity do the rest and you’ll have a beautiful upside-down Tarte Tatin!
Can Tarte Tatin be made in advance and reheated?
Tarte Tatin can be made in advance, inverted onto an oven-safe serving plate, refrigerated until ready to serve, and then reheated in the oven for a few minutes just until warmed through.
How should I store leftover Tarte Tatin?
Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an airtight container and warmed before serving.
Can I add nuts or spices to the Tarte Tatin for additional flavour?
Absolutely! Sprinkle some toasted nuts or a dash of cinnamon over the caramelized apples before covering with pastry. It’s like adding a secret flavour explosion.
How do I know when the Tarte Tatin is fully cooked and ready to be taken out of the oven?
Keep an eye on the pastry – once it’s golden brown you’ll know it’s done.
Can I use a different fruit instead of apples for Tarte Tatin?
Absolutely! While apples are the classic pick pears, pineapples, and plums, all make mouthwatering Tarte Tatins.
We hope you love this classic French apple tart recipe as much as we do! Let us know in the comments below, what’s your favourite French food? We’d love to know!
Watch the video below to see exactly how we make this recipe. You can find many more deliciously simple recipe videos on our YouTube channel!
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- Preheat your oven to 200℃ (400℉)
- Peel and halve your apples, set them aside.
- From your sheet of puff pastry cut out a circle one inch larger than your pan.
- Add the sugar and water to an oven safe pan and melt them over medium heat. Be careful not to burn your sugar! It should have a light auburn color.
- Add the butter in small cubes and mix well with a silicone whisk. Remove from heat, add the cinnamon and mix again.
- Place your apple halves cut side up in the caramel.
- Place your puff pastry disk on top of your apple halves, careful to not burn yourself on the hot pan. With a silicone spatula, tuck the edges of the crust under the apples.
- Bake at 200℃ (400℉) for 30-35 minutes until the puff pastry is golden brown and baked through.
- Let the tart rest for 5-10 minutes and flip on a large serving platter, being careful to not burn yourself with the hot caramel sauce.
- Rest the pie a little more so that the puff pastry can soak in the caramel.
- Serve as is or with vanilla ice cream and enjoy!
Storage InstructionsStore this Tarte Tatin in the fridge in an airtight container for 3 to 5 days.
Reheating InstructionsReheat a slice of Tarte Tatin in the microwave, the toaster oven, or in the oven just until heated through.
Notice: Nutrition is auto-calculated, using Spoonacular, for your convenience. Where relevant, we recommend using your own nutrition calculations.