This Classic French Apple Tarte Tatin recipe is a pure pleasure to enjoy during apple season. Despite the scary name it is very easy to make, requires only one pan, simple ingredients and a tiny portion of your day. Enjoy this golden caramelized treat with the fragrant vanilla bean ice cream.

I made many apple tarte tatins before and was happy with the results. Until I discovered a new completely different Classic French Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe. Without the doubt, it became my favorite apple dessert.
I discovered this recipe in a new book of Mimi Thorisson “French Country Cooking.” This is her second book about French cooking. The most calming, charming and elegant cookbook I’ve ever owned. Fast enough it became one of my favorite cookbook in my collection.
I made many recipes from it from easy to more time consuming, and so far loved almost all. There is one recipe that I’m very grateful for and so glad Mimi included it is Apple Tarte Tatin. Thank you, Mimi, so much for sharing this special recipe.

Despite the fancy French name, this is a very easy dessert to make. By bad luck, this is one of the desserts full of myths on how hard and scary it is to make. It is nothing more than caramelized apples and tart crust. The “hardest” part of this recipe is the tart dough. And even this part you can skip by buying store-bought puff pastry or pie dough. Yet, I encourage you to make a homemade tart dough because it makes a significant difference in taste. Also much cheaper to make your own rather than buy.
For some reason, the tart dough recipe from this book didn’t work out for me, and I changed it to my favorite one. Maybe the quality of ingredients is different. Or maybe I’ve done countless tarts and figured out my best tart dough recipe and use it ever since.

Use only the best seasonal apples for this classic french apple tarte tatin recipe. I always favored the Golden Delicious apples for Tarte Tatin. They give an extra depth of taste and magnificent smell to it.
Mimi’s method is to caramelize apples along with butter and vanilla bean in one pan. This method eliminates making the dry caramel, which is harder and time-consuming process. You simply arrange all ingredients in a skillet and let bubbling and sizzling do the magic. Meanwhile, let the aroma of apples caramelized in browned butter fill your home.

Only a month ago I discovered this recipe and already made it three times. With all the confidence I can tell you this is a foolproof Apple Tarte Tatin recipe. It is easy to make and requires only ONE skillet. Your tiny effort will be rewarded with a delightful classic French dessert. I encourage you to conquer this classic french apple tarte tatin recipe. Make it once, and you will crave for more every time you finish it.


  • A straight-sided stainless steel skillet is the best option.
  • For my 8.5-inch stainless steel skillet, I used 9 medium Golden Delicious apples.
  • Use only the highest quality unsalted butter. It makes a huge difference in taste, smell and color of your apple tarte tatin.
  • I find Golden Delicious to be the best option for the Apple Tarte Tatin recipes. However, Jonagold, Honey Crisp, Cameo, and Cortland are good options as well.
  • I included both instructions on how to make the tart dough (shortcrust pastry) by hand and in a food processor.
  • Serve this deep golden brown Tarte Tatin as it is. Or my favorite way with the whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream.


For the tart dough:

    • 1 ½ cups (200 gr.) all-purpose flour
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ cup (50 gr.) granulated sugar
    • ½ cup (1 stick, 113 gr.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
    • 1 large egg, lightly whisked

For the apples:

    • ½ cup (100 gr.) granulated sugar
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seed scraped and reserved
    • 6 ½ tbsp. (90 gr.) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces + more for greasing
    • About 2 pounds (8-10 medium sized) apples (preferable golden delicious), peeled, cored, and quartered

For serving:

  • Whipped cream
  • Vanilla ice cream


To make the tart dough (shortcrust pastry) by hand:
In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, and salt. Using your hands mix the cold butter into flour mixture until you see small pea-sized chunks. Add an egg and mix by hand until the dough comes together and looks smooth. Shape the dough into a disc. Wrap tightly in a plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make tart dough (shortcrust pastry) in a food processor:
Combine flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor. Pulse couple of time to aerate the mixture. Add cold cubed butter. Pulse a couple of times until you see coarse pea-sized crumbs. Add an egg and pulse until everything just comes together. Invert the dough onto the surface. Knead the dough until it is smooth. Shape into a flat disc. Wrap tightly in a plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

To make caramelized apples:
Butter the 8.5 inches straight sided ovenproof pan generously. In a medium bowl mix sugar and vanilla bean seeds. Distribute sugar mixture evenly in the pan. Divide the butter on top of the sugar. Arrange apple slices with one cut side down in a circle motion pressing down the slices slightly.
On the stovetop heat the pan over the medium-high heat. Cook apples until you see bubbles. Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until the liquid turns beautiful golden brown (caramel) color, about 10 minutes. Immediately remove from heat.

To make apple tarte tatin:

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Generously flour the surface. Hit the dough couple of times with the rolling pin in different directions. This keeps the dough from cracking. Roll out the dough. With the sharp knife cut the circle slightly bigger in diameter than the pan. Arrange the dough over the caramelized apples. !Carefully tuck the edges of the dough between the apples and the pan on all sides.
  • Bake tatin in the oven until the dough turns golden brown color, about 45-50 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let it cool slightly about 5 minutes.
  • Prepare the large plate or cake stand you wish to serve apple tarte Tatin. Place the plate on top of the pan. Using oven mitts flip the pan.
  • Serve warm or cold with whipped cream or ice cream.

Excerpted from The Pure Taste : Apple Tarte Tatin by Maria