This Apple Tarte Tatin is the finest and easiest version of the classic recipe that I’ve ever made. Buttery caramelized apples and a substantial flakey crust come together in a delightfully decadent slice of heaven.
Table of contents
Why this is the best and easiest Tarte Tatin Recipe
- This is a simplified recipe that doesn’t sacrifice taste or quality. Everything is cooked in one pan from beginning to end.
- The caramel sauce is built in the pan with the apples. You don’t need to fuss with caramelizing sugar.
- The apples are cut into thick quarters. Thicker apples are easier to turn and flip in the caramelizing sauce.
- This recipe uses flakey pie dough instead of puff pastry. Pie dough makes a tart with a more substantial crust that doesn’t crack or crumble when flipping the tart. The sturdier dough is also a better match for the rich filling than a lighter puff pastry.
- Because the pie dough doesn’t get soggy, the entire tart can be made several hours ahead and reheated just before serving.
- Pie Dough – I prefer Tarte Tatin made with flakey pie dough as a substantial base for the tart. You can use puff pastry if that’s your preference.
- Apples – Use a firm and tart apple that won’t fall apart when cooked. Granny Smith is a good option that is available in most grocery stores.
- Butter – I use unsalted butter for all baking. If you use salted butter you can skip the salt listed in the recipe.
- Lemon Juice – A little lemon juice helps balance the flavor of the caramel and apples. Lemon juice also prevents crystallization in the caramel.
- Rum – Remember, alcohol enhances other flavors. You can leave the rum out if you don’t do alcohol.
How to make Apple Tarte Tatin
- Whip the whites to full peak. Whisk in the yolks and vanilla.
- Sift the over the batter and gently fold it in.
- Fold just until all the flour is incorporated. Do not overmix.
- Pipe the cookies onto the prepared baking sheet into 4″ long x 2″ wide “fingers”.
- Lightly sprinkle the tops of the cookies with powdered sugar.
- Bake until light brown and spongy about 10-12 minutes. Cool completely.
- Cook the custard over medium/low heat, stirring constantly, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Pour the custard into a clean bowl, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
- Sandwich the ladyfingers with the preserves.
- Cut a ladyfinger sandwich in half, lengthwise.
- Stand the ladyfingers on end, with the cut side to the outside of a glass trifle bowl. Continue cutting and arranging the ladyfingers until the entire perimeter of the bowl is lined with a “striped” pattern.
- Use half of the remaining uncut cookies to the line bottom of the bowl. You can break them up to fit pieces into any gaps between the cookies.
- Sprinkle a ½ cup of the sherry over the cookies on the bottom and sides of the bowl. Pour half of the custard into the bowl. Arrange the remaining cookies over the custard and sprinkle with the remaining sherry.
- Pour the other half the custard into the bowl.
- Top the trifle with whipped cream and refrigerate at least 6 hours (preferably overnight) before serving.
- Roll the pie dough to a 12″ or 14″ round (2″ bigger than the pan you’re using). Sprinkle the dough with flour and fold into quarters. Wrap and refrigerate the dough while you prepare the apples.
- Melt the butter in an oven safe skillet. I prefer using cast iron. The recipe works in either a 10″ or 12″ skillet.
- Once the butter is melted add the sugar, lemon juice, salt and rum.
- Once the sugar is melted, begin arranging the apple quarters in concentric circles to fill the pan. You probably won’t fit all the apples initially.
- As the apples cook and shrink, tuck more apples into the pan.
- Flip the apples to brown on the other side.
- Cook until the apples are nicely caramelized and are crisp-tender.
- Remove the pan from the heat and lay the dough over the apples.
- Fold the edges of the dough.
- Use the tip of a paring knife to tuck the dough between the apples and the pan.
- Bake the tart until the crust is golden brown. Wait 5 minutes for the caramel to settle. At this point you’re ready to serve or you can hold the tart for 5-6 hours at room temperature. Re-warm in a 300F oven before serving.
- Place a serving platter over the warm tart and flip the tart onto the platter. Serve warm.
How to work ahead
- The pie dough can be made ahead and refrigerated for 2-3 days or frozen for up to a month.
- The dough can be rolled, wrapped and chilled for 2-3 days.
- You can bake the tart early in the day that you plan to serve it. Hold the baked tart at room temperature until 20 minutes before serving. Rewarm in a 300F oven then serve warm.
How to serve Tarte Tatin
A perfect Tarte Tatin doesn’t need any accompaniment since it has a built-in sauce. But a dollop of whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream is a perfect finishing touch. You can also serve a slice of this tart with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream or Buttermilk Ice Cream for an extra special treat.
Tarte Tatin will keep at room temperature for 2-3 days. You can enjoy leftovers at room temperature, but for the best flavor and texture I recommend re-warming the tart. Left over slices can be individually wrapped and frozen for up to a month. Defrost and warm before eating.
More Apple Tart Recipes
If you love this recipe as much as I do, I’d really appreciate a 5-star review.
Tarte Tatin Recipe
- 1/2 recipe Perfect Pie Crust (see note)
- 4 oz unsalted butter (see note)
- 6 oz granulated sugar (¾ cup)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- ¼ teaspoon table salt (see note)
- 1 tablespoon rum (optional)
- 3 pounds apples (peel, cored and cut into quarters)
- Preheat the oven to 375 °F. Roll 1/2 recipe Perfect Pie Crust to a 12" round and refrigerate it while you prepare the filling.
- Melt 4 oz unsalted butter over high heat in an oven-safe 10" or 12” skillet (I like to use cast iron). Reduce the heat to medium and sprinkle 6 oz granulated sugar over the melted butter. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice, ¼ teaspoon table salt and 1 tablespoon rum. Swirl the pan to mix the ingredients.
- Once the sugar has melted, arrange apple pieces in concentric circles in the pan. Fit as many as you can in a single layer. You won't fit all the apples in the pan initially. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown. As the apples shrink, tuck more pieces into the pan. If spots of the pan are caramelizing faster gently shimmy and swirl the pan to mix the caramel. Use the tip of a paring knife to flip the apples and brown the other side. Cook until all the apples are browned and crisp-tender, another 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat. Lay the pie crust over the apples. Fold the edges of the dough and use the tip of a knife to tuck the edge of the dough between the apples and the pan.
- Bake until the crust is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and cool 5 minutes to allow the caramel to settle.
- Run a knife or spatula around the edges of the tart to make sure it's not sticking. Place a serving platter over the pan and, using oven mitts to protect your hands, flip the tart onto the platter and remove the skillet. Use the tip of the knife to transfer any apples that stick to the pan back onto the tart
- Serve warm.
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