While I love creating beautiful cakes and darling confectionaries, it’s simple desserts like this Julia Child French apple tart (tarte aux pommes) that truly make me happy. It’s the uncomplicated combination of butter, sugar, and fresh fruit that’ll overwhelm your senses and reach the very deepest part of you.
This rustic apple tart recipe carries the sweet scent of sliced apples glazed with fig preserves and will make anyone appreciate the art of baking with fruit.
I think this easy French apple tart is such a fantastic dessert when you’re looking for simple entertaining recipes. It’s the first dessert I think of when someone asks me for an easy French recipe.
It doesn’t matter what level baker you are or how fancy you like to get in the kitchen, this French apple tart will impress without a ton of effort.
If you’re looking to go the quick and easy route, you can make this French apple tart with puff pastry bought at the store. That makes this dessert a total cinch.
If you’re all about getting your hands a little messy, feel free to make your own pastry at home.
Regardless of whether you go the homemade route or store-bought route, just be sure you’re using puff pastry instead of pie crust. The puff pastry is a bit lighter, which is what we’re going for with this French apple tart recipe.
For the apple topping, you can use any kind of apple that you enjoy.
My love for apples is pretty evident here on the blog. I’ve got recipes like Chicken Normandy (which is a dish of chicken and apples), apple-glazed pork tenderloin, a frangipane French apple tart, and even apple jam!
Apples are wonderful for this tart because they bake really nicely, are naturally sweet, and they’re not super juicy, a.k.a. they won’t make your pastry soggy.
For this particular French apple tart recipe, I tend to use Gala apples or Honeycrisp apples. If you wanted, you could do a mix of sweet and tart apples like you might with a classic apple pie recipe.
A couple of points to take note of when you’re assembling this tart:
- If you assemble this French apple tart recipe as instructed below, your pan is likely to get pretty messy from the apple juices that run off the tart during the baking process. Make your life easy by using a sheet of parchment paper underneath the tart for easy clean-up and to protect your baking sheet.
- When the juices run off, they’ll quickly turn dark and burn early in the baking process – don’t fret. Your actual tart is fine and should continue baking.
- If you want to prevent any run-off of the apple juices, you can assemble this French apple tart a little bit differently. Instead of layering the apple slices all the way to the very edges of the tart, you can leave a thin (about 1/2″ to 1″) border bare along the edges of the puff pastry square. This will create a border wall around the apples that prevent the juices from running off the tart edges.
Perhaps one of the most beautiful aspects of this French apple tart recipe occurs after the tart comes out of the oven. Once the tart is fresh out of the oven and still warm, a simple brushing of fig preserves (or apricot preserves, marmalade, etc.) on top of the tart gives it a glamorous, shiny appearance.
Brushing sweet fruit preserves over desserts is an age-old technique many bakers and pastry chefs use to give their desserts that professional, glossy appearance. The technique works really well for this dessert makes this French apple tart a total show-stopper!
After I set the tart down at the table, I’ll usually cut up the tart into smaller squares for my guests. You can serve this French apple tart as is, or you can serve each square with a scoop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream for an indulgent touch.
French Apple Tart Recipe
- 1 sheet of puff pastry
- 1 1/2 large crisp apple peeled and sliced thinly
- 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup fig preserves
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place a large sheet of parchment paper over a baking sheet. Unroll your puff pastry sheet (or if you've made your own, roll it out on a lightly floured surface to 10 1/2" by 15 1/2”). Use a fork to pierce all over the puff pastry.
In a large bowl, very gently toss the apple slices with the lemon juice and brown sugar. Layer the apple slices on the puff pastry square however you prefer, diagonally or straight down. Just make sure you slightly overlap the apple slices.
Bake the tart for approximately 40 minutes, until the edges of the apples and puff pastry begin to brown. The apple juices that stream off the tart will burn quickly on the parchment paper - do not worry, this is OK.
Immediately loosen the tart from the pan using a metal spatula. Transfer the tart to your serving plate. Warm up the fig preserves in the microwave for about 30 seconds. Use a pastry brush to brush the fig preserves all over the tart. Enjoy warm or room temperature.