Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe image

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe

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This gorgeous, caramelized apple tarte tatin recipe will have you drooling for a bite from start to finish! The scent of sweet caramel cooking in a skillet and then buttery pastry baking in the oven is enough to make anyone a believer in this classic French dessert recipe. 

What is the difference between a tart and tarte tatin?

If you’ve never heard of a tarte tatin, it’s basically an upside-down tart. What this means is that rather than lining a tart pan with pastry dough and filling it with whatever ingredients your tart calls for, you actually put the filling ingredients in a pan and top that with your pastry dough.

The idea is that when you finish baking the tart, you’ll flip the pan over and all will be right in the world; the baked crust will sit on the bottom and the filling ingredients will sit right on top, nicely as all normal desserts should. Ha!

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe portrait image

While this apple tarte tatin recipe is very similar to the French apple tart recipe I’ve shared here on the site, the apples in a tarte tatin are caramelized first.

In the French apple tart recipe, the apples are sliced thin and coated in raw sugar before layered on the puff pastry.

Both recipes are incredibly delicious and worth trying.

This apple tarte tatin does require a bit more work than the other apple tart, but if you saw my plum tatin cake, then you’ll completely understand why the French even bother with a tarte tatin recipe and what the advantage is here.

Basically, the fruit has a chance to caramelize by cooking in the warm sugar over the stove and while it’s baking in the oven, resting on the bottom of the hot skillet.

This is something that the apples just can’t do without hot caramel in the recipe, which is something the other kind of apple tart doesn’t have. 

What is the best pan for tarte tatin?

When you’re making a tarte tatin, it’s imperative that you use an oven-safe skillet. 

I typically use a 10-inch stainless steel skillet. Cuisinart is great for this, or if you can splurge, than something like this All-Clad one is fantastic. 

Quick Apple Tarte Tatin  Recipe

This classic apple tarte tatin is everything you want in a tarte tatin. The apples are tender and sweet with the taste of caramel, while the pastry crust is crisp, light, and flaky.

You can choose to make the crust with either pie dough or puff pastry. I typically use store-bought to keep this a relatively quick apple tarte tatin recipe.

Which type of crust you decide to use is dependent on what effect you’re trying to achieve. Puff pastry will give you an airier, lighter effect.

Apple Tarte Tatin recipe image overhead

The downside is that puff pastry, well, puffs, and also tends to come in a square shape, making the end look a bit rough around the edges, as displayed here.

That said, I personally love the lighter texture of puff pastry and think a bit of rustic flair is worth it. I do know that Trader Joe’s often sells puff pastry in a circular shape, which is worth looking into if you want to avoid messing with the pastry too much.

apple tarte tatin with puff pastry

Pie dough, on the other hand, comes in the perfect shape to go on top of a round skillet. While good pie dough is still pretty flaky and light, it’s not as light as puff pastry so you’re going to get a slightly more dense crust.

Either way, I’m sure you’re going to enjoy this apple tarte tatin. The flavor and juices of the sweet apples seep into the crust, giving it a lusciously caramelized taste that’s to-die-for!

apple tarte tatin slice with ice cream on top

Can I make tarte tatin the day before?

If you’re planning to make an apple tarte tatin a day in advance, I would choose to make the tart with pie dough. I find that pie dough lasts better than puff pastry (puff pastry really needs to be eaten same day). 

You can store the tart in a covered cake stand on the counter, then pop the tart into an oven on the warm setting so it has a chance to get deliciously warm again. 

Serve the tart warm with some vanilla ice cream and you’ve got some real dessert magic that will have you whisked off to a Paris bistro in no time!

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe image

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe

Yield: 6
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Tender, caramelized apples flipped over a bed of buttery pastry, served with a dollop of creamy vanilla ice cream!


for the pastry dough

  • 1 sheet of pie dough or puff pastry dough, thawed

for the apple layer

  • 5-6 medium Granny smith apples
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 tsp table salt
  • vanilla ice cream to serve with, optional


  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Prepare the apples by first peeling all of them. Then cut the apples into thirds (or quarters if your apples are large), cutting around the cores and discarding the cores.
  2. Pour the sugar into a 10-inch skillet over medium heat, dispersing the sugar all over the bottom of the pan. Add in the water. DO NOT STIR. Let the sugar dissolve in the water and bubble until the mixture turns a light amber color. This will take about 6 to 10 minutes, so keep an eye on the sugar and lower the heat a bit if it seems like it's browning too quickly.
  3. Slide the skillet off the heat temporarily and sprinkle in the salt. Add the unsalted butter, and then move the skillet back over to medium-low heat. Use a wooden spoon to stir the butter in until it's melted. Your caramel may clump or seize; this is OK as it will dissolve again once it's getting hot again over the stove. The cold butter does this to the caramel.
  4. Add the apples into the caramel and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes, until the apples are tender. Be sure to stir the caramel and apples every minute or so.
  5. Meanwhile, roll out your pie dough or puff pastry dough to elongate it a bit to ensure it can cover the diameter of your 10 inch-skillet.
  6. Once the apples are tender, use two forks to help you flip each apple wedge over so that the cut side is facing up. Arrange the apples in a radial pattern.
  7. Center the pastry dough over the skillet and place on top of the apples to completely cover all the apples. Tuck the edges of dough into the skillet, under the apples, using a spoon.
  8. Bake the tart for approximately 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the tart halfway through. Once the pastry is golden, remove the tart and let it rest for a few minutes. Grab a serving plate that's large enough to cover the entire skillet and place it upside down on top of the skillet. Flip the skillet (and essentially the tart) over onto the plate. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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    1. Hi there! Yes, you could serve this with many other flavor ice creams. Butter pecan, fig, or even hazelnut would all be great. 🙂

    1. Hi Rhonda! You could follow the recipe with a regular skillet, and then when you reach the point where you’d add the pastry on top, you’d switch pans. So you would arrange the caramelized apples in a large cake pan (hopefully 10″ but 9″ would be okay too), pour the sauce from the skillet on top of the apples, then place the pastry dough on top of the apples and caramel sauce in the cake pan. Bake and flip the tart out just like instructed in the recipe card. 🙂

  1. Ahhh I have been dreaming of going to France! That’s so interesting that the portions were so big, I always thought that Europeans laughed in the face of our American portions 🙂 This looks delicious, I love how thin and delicate it looks! I can’t wait to try it!

    ♥ Lisa
    Strum Simmer Sip

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I totally thought the same thing. And the portions are definitely smaller when comparing them to those of big American chain restaurants, but it’s the 3-course layout that just makes it so overwhelming! Hope you get a chance to try the tatin! 🙂

  2. Apple tart tatin is my favourite summer dessert! I always go crazy for the caramelised apple – it’s soooooo good!! This looks so beautiful, I can already imagine myself enjoying this with a refreshing scoop of vanilla ice cream – pure bliss! I love your cake stand too, its so pretty – I need to get one!

  3. Oh, to go to France. It will happen, soon. We’re loosely planning now, so your tips couldn’t come at a better time! So don’t ask for a doggie bag, eh?

    Your tate tatin! Oh my goodness! It’s gorgeous and sooo mouthwatering. This is something I’ve not made, Beeta. I’ve stared at recipes and now yours, and dream about how incredible the caramelized fruit would taste with the contrasting pastry. Oh my! But I think you’ve pushed me over the edge with this one… I have some fresh plums and plenty of flour. It is time! Thank you for your inspiration and through instructions. I think the ice cream is obligatory. 😀

    1. Ooh, Traci, please let me know if you ever have any questions for the trip…I’d be more than happy to help! 🙂 And yes there’s no better time with lots of fresh plums and flour – I’m sure you will make a gorgeous tarte tatin! <3 Thank you so much!

  4. We were surprised about the no sharing portions when we visited Paris on our honeymoon. We had to make sure we were really hungry whenever we dined out 🙂 Love this apple tarte tatin! It looks absolutely gorgeous, Beeta!

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