Apple Tarte Tatin: the Easy Recipe for Caramelized Apple Tarts for a Timeless Dessert!

Total time: 10 min prep/ 20 min bake
Difficulty: Low
Serves: 4-6
By Cookist

Forget fancy fruit arrangements, the Tarte Tatin is all about caramelized apples peeking through a golden puff pastry crust. This iconic French dessert is surprisingly easy to make, despite its impressive look.  Think warm, gooey apples with a buttery, flaky crust… pure fall bliss on a plate.  The Tarte Tatin is perfect for showing off your baking skills (or lack thereof) at any fall gathering. Made with only puff pastry, apples, honey, and cinnamon sugar, it’s not only easy to make but is affordable too! It's an ideal dessert to impress guests at a fall potluck, yet simple enough for a cozy weekend treat.

What Is Tarte Tatin?

The Tarte Tatin is a classic French dessert that takes the humble apple and elevates it into a show-stopping treat.  This upside-down tart features caramelized apples nestled beneath a flaky puff pastry crust.  Once baked, the tart is flipped over to reveal the apples, usually presented in a pretty pattern. Buttery, sweet, and with a touch of tartness, it's a textural and flavor explosion in every bite.

The origin of Tarte Tatin is a bit of a mystery. It is believed to have been created in the 1880s by Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, two sisters who ran a hotel called Hôtel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. One story claims Stéphanie forgot about apples caramelizing in a pan and simply covered them with dough to save the dish. Another tale suggests that she simply assembled the tart upside down in a rush.


  • Opt for apples that hold their shape well when baked, like Granny Smith, Braeburn, Cortland, Gala, or Jonagold. Avoid Red Delicious as they tend to become mushy.
  • If you want to make a large batch, place the apple slices in a bowl of cold water with a splash of lemon juice to prevent browning.
  • Don’t feel like powdered sugar? Top the apple tart tatin with a cream cheese glaze: Drizzle with a mixture of 4 ounces of cream cheese, room temperature, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (or powdered sugar), sifted 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and 3 to 4 tablespoons milk
  • The pastry should be completely thawed so it’s pliable enough to roll out but still cold. The best is to leave it to thaw overnight in the fridge instead of leaving it on the kitchen counter at room temperature. If the pastry is too warm, it won’t puff enough. To make sure you get a nice puff, place the formed flowers in the fridge for half an hour.

What Kind Of Apples Should I Use?

Choose firm apples that hold their shape when baked, like Granny Smith, Braeburn, or Cortland. Avoid soft varieties like Red Delicious. For a touch of sweetness, consider Honeycrisp or Fuji.

My Apples Get Mushy. How Can I Prevent This?

Pre-cook the apples by simmering them briefly in butter and sugar before layering them in the pan. This will soften them slightly but help them retain their shape.

Can I Make Tarte Tatin Ahead of Time?

Yes! You can assemble the tart and refrigerate it overnight. Bake it before serving for a warm and delicious dessert.

How Do I Keep My Apple Tarte Tatin From Getting Soggy?

Firstly, pre-cooking the apples is crucial. Sauté the apple slices in a pan until they start to soften and their moisture reduces, which helps to prevent excess liquid from soaking into the pastry. After cooking, thoroughly drain the apples on paper towels to remove any remaining moisture before placing them on the honey circles. Ensuring that the apple slices are layered evenly and not too thick is also important, as this allows for even baking and prevents sogginess. Additionally, make sure the puff pastry is golden and crispy before flipping and serving. If needed, bake the tarte a bit longer than the recommended 20 minutes. Lastly, serving the tarte tatin immediately after baking helps maintain the crispiness of the pastry.

What's The Best Way to Serve Tarte Tatin?

Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or crème fraîche for a contrast of textures.

More Apple Recipes You Will Love

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Apple Pie Cupcakes

Custard Apple Cake

Apple Roses

Upside-Down Apple Cake

How to Store Apple Tarte Tatin

Store the tarts in the fridge for up to 3 days. Keep them in an airtight container.


1 roll puff pastry
2 apples
60g (¼ cup)
Brown sugar
100g (½ cup)
Ground cinnamon
1 tsp
Egg wash
powdered sugar and almond flakes for serving

How To Make Apple Tarte Tatin

Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F. Core the apples, then peel.

Halve the apples, then slice them thinly.

Spread around 1 tsp of honey in a circle on top of the parchment sheet.

Layer apples on top of the honey, slightly overlapping. Repeat the process to create six apple tart rounds.

Make the cinnamon sugar by mixing cinnamon and sugar.

Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top of the apples,

Roll out the puff pastry and cut out six circles that are slightly bigger than the apple circles you have on the parchment.

Place pastry on top of the apples, slightly pressing on the edges of the dough to seal the filling.

Brush with egg wash and bake for 20 minutes.

Once baked, flip right away.

Serve topped with almond flakes and powdered sugar.

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