Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe - My Sweet Precision (2024)

Published: · Last Updated: by Heather · 29 Comments

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This apple Tarte Tatin recipe is a classic French dessert. It features delicious caramelized apples and a buttery pastry crust. In this post, I walk you through Julia Child's recipe step-by-step to ensure success! This is one of my favorite fall desserts and the finished product will easily be a show stopper at your next dinner party!

Jump to:
  • Why you'll love this recipe
  • Key ingredients and why we use them
  • Equipment
  • Frequently asked questions
  • More about Julia Child's recipe
  • Try these other apple recipes
  • Recipe
  • Comments

Why you'll love this recipe

Taste and Texture: Tarte Tatin consists of caramelized apple slices oven-baked in a skillet with the pastry on top. When done, it is turned upside-down, so the crust is on the bottom, and the apple slices remain in a design on top. The process of caramelizing the apples makes this dessert a delicious treat that is both sweet and tart.

Difficulty: This recipe is one of the easiest desserts I’ve attempted to make, but also has its distinct challenges. It’s easy because it’s baked upside down and the final presentation requires simply flipping the pan upside down! The tricky part is caramelizing the apples!

Key ingredients and why we use them

This apple Tarte Tatin recipe has a few key ingredients that I want to talk about a little more. Using quality ingredients is key to success with this recipe!

Apples: Apples are the star of this recipe. The best apples to bake with are firm enough to hold their shape during the baking process.I recommend golden delicious apples in the recipe below.

Butter: Cold butter is a must in this recipe. This is how you achieve that flaky and delicious crust that you want. I recommend using a quality brand of unsalted butter.

Cake Flour: This recipe uses a small amount of cake flour. Cake flour has a lower protein content and will produce a dough that is a little more tender. You don't want to omit this when making this recipe.


Perhaps the most notable part of this recipe is the pan I used to cook the tart. On a trip to Paris last fall, my parents visited E. Dehellerin. Tucked away on rue Coquillière not too far from the Louvre, this store has sold cookware for professionals and serious home chefs since 1820. Julia Child was a regular here purchasing kitchenware while attending school at Le Cordon Bleu.

Knowing that E. Dehellerin is famous for their copper, my dad purchased a Tarte Tatin pan explicitly made for this recipe. I was pleased to learn that not only does copper conduct heat faster, but it also does so much more evenly. This combination is perfect for temperature control when working with sugar at a high temperature. Thanks, dad!

Frequently asked questions

How to test if my tart is ready to be unmolded?

After you take your tart out of the oven, you can test whether it’s ready to be unmolded. Simply tilt the pan, and if the juices are runny rather than a thick syrup, boil down rapidly on top of the stove. However, be sure not to evaporate them entirely, or the apples will stick to the pan.

What if my apples stick to the pan?

If a few apples stick to the pan—which does happen—fear not! Simply rearrange the slices as necessary. This almost always happened to me, so it's pretty common.

What kind of apples are good for Tarte Tatin?

The best apples to bake with are firm enough to hold their shape during the baking process.I recommend golden delicious apples in the recipe below.

More about Julia Child's recipe

The following recipe is courtesy of Julia Child’s book The Way to Cook, published in 1994. A Christmas gift from my dad several years ago, this is a magnificent cookbook in which Julia distills her knowledge from a lifetime of cooking into one book. She states that this recipe is her fourth and definitive recipe for Tarte Tatin in the book.

Try these other apple recipes

Don't stop baking with this apple Tarte Tatin recipe! Check out some more of our delicious apple recipes linked below.

  • Apple Cinnamon Upside-Down Cake
  • Apple Praline Cake
  • Homemade Apple Pie
  • Apple Cake

Ourrecipe indexis a great place to search all My Sweet Precision recipes!


Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe - My Sweet Precision (8)

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe

This apple tarte tatin recipe is a classic French dessert. It features delicious caramelized apples and a buttery pastry crust. In this post, I walk you through Julia Child's recipe step-by-step to ensure success!

Print Pin Comment

5 from 3 votes

Prep Time: 40 minutes minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes minutes

Chill Dough Time: 2 hours hours

Total Time: 3 hours hours

Yield: 8


  • 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet or copper tarte tatin mold


Pastry Dough

  • ¾ cups flour
  • ¼ cup cake flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter chilled and diced
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable shortening chilled
  • ¼ cup ice water

Tart Tatin

  • 6 golden delicious apples cored, peeled, and halved
  • 1 lemon zested and juiced
  • 1 ½ cups granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • whipped cream or vanilla ice cream optional as accompaniment


Preparing the Dough

  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, place the flours, sugar and butter. Pulse 5 or 6 times in ½-second bursts to break up the butter. Add the shortening, turn on the machine and immediately add the ice water, pulsing 2 or 3 times.

  • The dough should look like a mass of smallish lumps and should just hold together in a mass when a handful is pressed together. If the mixture is too dry, pulse in more water by droplets.

  • Turn the dough out onto the work surface and with the heel of your hand, rapidly and roughly push egg-size blobs into a 6-inch smear. Gather the dough into a relatively smooth cake, wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least 2 hours (or up to 2 days).

Preparing the Apples

  • Quarter, core, and peel the apples; cut the quarters in half lengthwise.

  • Toss in a bowl with the lemon and ½ cup of sugar, and let steep 20 minutes so they will exude their juices. Drain them.

Caramel Glaze

  • Set the frying pan over moderately high heat with the butter, and when melted blend in the remaining 1 cup sugar.

  • Stir about with a wooden spoon for several minutes, until the syrup turns a bubbly caramel brown – it will smooth out later, when the apples juices dissolve the sugar.

Arranging Apples in Pan

  • Remove from heat and arrange a layer of apple slices nicely in the bottom of the pan to make an attractive design.

  • Arrange the rest of the apples on top, close-packed, and only reasonably neat. Add enough so that they heap up 1 inch higher than the rim of the pan – they sink down as they cook.

Preliminary Stovetop Cooking

  • Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for the next step, placing the rack in the lower middle level. Set the pan again over moderately high heat, pressing the apples down as they soften, and drawing the accumulated juices up over them with the bulb baster – basting gives the apples a deliciously buttery caramel flavor.

  • In several minutes, when the apples begin to soften, cover the pan and continue cooking 10 to 15 minutes, checking and basting frequently until the juices are thick and syrupy. Remove from heat, and let cool slightly while you roll out the dough.

The Dough Cover

  • The dough cover. Roll the chilled dough into a circle 3/16 inch thick and 1 inch larger than the top of your pan. Cut 4 steam holes, ¼-inch size, 1 ½ inches from around the center of the dough. ween the apples and the inside of the pan.

  • Working rapidly, fold the dough in half, then in quarters; center the point over the apples. Unfold the dough over the apples. Press the edges of the dough down bet

Bake and Serve

  • Bake and serve. Bake about 20 minutes at 425 degrees F. Bake until the pastry has browned and crisped.

  • Being careful of the red-hot pan handle, remove from the oven. Still remembering that the pan is red-hot, turn the serving dish upside down over the apples and reverse the two to unmold the tart. Serve hot, warm, or cold, with the optional whipped cream or ice cream.

Notes and Tips

After you take your tart out of the oven, you can test to see whether it’s ready be unmolded. Simply tilt the pan, and if the juices are runny rather than a thick syrup, boil down rapidly on top on the stove. However, be sure not to evaporate them completely or the apples will stick to the pan. If a few apples stick to the pan—which does happen—rearrange the slices as necessary.


Serving: 1slice | Calories: 466kcal | Carbohydrates: 72g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 12g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 45mg | Sodium: 72mg | Potassium: 187mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 55g | Vitamin A: 602IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

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Did you make this recipe?! First, let me say THANK YOU for giving it a try!

Please leave us a rating and feedback in the comments section at the bottom of this post. I always love to hear your thoughts and ideas on what went well — and didn't — with a recipe!

Happy Baking!

Apple Tarte Tatin Recipe - My Sweet Precision (2024)


How do you keep tarte tatin from getting soggy? ›

This may be more of an issue with apples than with pears. Some bakers suggest cutting the fruit and placing it in the refrigerator overnight to dry out and prevent this. Another reason the dessert may become soggy is if it sits out too long. Tarte tatin is best enjoyed warm as the crust will get soggy as it cools.

What is unusual about tarte tatin? ›

Named after the woman who invented it, the Tarte Tatin (tart tah-TAN) is a famous French "upside-down" caramelized apple tart or Tarte aux pommes (caramélisé). Basically, the apples are underneath the dough – topsy-turvy indeed.

What fruit is traditionally used in tarte tatin? ›

The tarte Tatin (French pronunciation: [taʁt tatɛ̃]), named after the Tatin sisters who invented it and served it in their hotel as its signature dish, is a pastry in which the fruit (usually apples) is caramelized in butter and sugar before the tart is baked.

What can I use instead of a tarte tatin tin? ›

You could use a cast iron ovenproof pan but as these are sturdier in construction than a tart tatin pan it will need to be preheated in the oven for slightly longer than the thin metal pan. We would suggest giving it 10-15 minutes in the oven before using.

Can I make tarte tatin in a pyrex dish? ›

In a 24cm diameter and 5cm deep Pyrex cooking dish (to follow the cooking process of the caramel and apples), scatter the diced butter and sugar.

When to flip a tarte tatin? ›

Bake for about 30 minutes until the pastry is golden, then remove from the oven. Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then place a plate, slightly larger than the pan, on top and then, very carefully, using oven gloves, invert the tart on to the plate. Best served warm, with crème fraîche.

What is the best pan for tatin? ›

Many French cooks have a pan that is designed specifically for making this dish. The Copper-Core Petite Brasier the perfect pan for making a Tarte Tatin. It is about 1/2-inch wider than traditional pans and can hold close to 5 pounds of apples. A perfect Tarte Tatin is unforgettable but its success is in the details.

Does a tarte tatin need to be served immediately? ›

The best way to eat it is 1-2 hours after cooking, when it is still warm and the pastry is crisp. You can cook the tart a day in advance, keep it in the mould and reheat it at 150°C for 20 minutes.

What is the difference between a galette and a tarte tatin? ›

In order to release from the pan without damage, tart crusts will often be a bit more shortbread-like, as opposed to the flakey pie dough typically used for crostatas and galettes. But, like crostatas and galettes, these can go either savory or sweet, and we certainly do not discriminate here.

Is tarte tatin best hot or cold? ›

It was originally made with apples, but today you will find it made with all kinds of fruit - pear, plum, and apricots. I like to eat it when it has cooled down, but not cold. It is better when the pastry is crisp and the fruit filling is warm. The tarte Tatin is a French apple pie upside down, as the name suggests.

Can tarte tatin be made in advance? ›

You can make this a few hours in advance of a dinner party and serve it at room temperature, or warmed in a 300°F oven for a few minutes. Top it with ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream.

Does apple tarte tatin need to be refrigerated? ›

Storage. Please refrigerate immediately and remove 15-20 minutes before you are ready to eat so that it can be tempered to room temperature.

What does La tarte tatin mean in english? ›

Meaning of tarte tatin in English

a sweet dish of apples that have been cooked in sugar and butter until they are brown, covered with pastry, baked and then turned upside down: My friend chose the tarte tatin served with whipped cream. She tucked into an enormous slice of tarte Tatin.

Can you make tarte tatin in a stainless steel pan? ›

Choose a pan: a copper tarte tatin mold will be perfect (here's a link to a good one), but you can also use an iron skillet (as long as it doesn't smell like salmon or something) or even a heavy stainless steel (like All-Clad) or non-stick sauté pan.

How to get tarte tatin out of pan? ›

Allow to cool to room temperature for 1 hr before running a knife around the edge of the dish and inverting it onto a large serving plate that is deep enough to contain the juices.

How do you keep tart pastry crisp? ›

Some people like to paint the surface of the pastry base with lightly beaten egg white after the beans have been removed and before returning the dish to the oven as the egg white cooks onto the surface of the pastry and can act as a slight sealant to help to keep the pastry crisp.

Why is my tart soggy? ›

A soggy bottom crust happens when the wet filling of your pie soaks into the raw pie dough beneath before it's had a chance to set, causing it to become sodden and gummy. This is particularly problematic with both fruit pie and custard fillings because they have high moisture content.

Why are my butter tarts soggy? ›

If your butter tarts unfortunately turn out too soggy, it's likely your filling was too watered down or your pastry was rolled too thin. Next time, make sure your pastry is only rolled out to a 1/4-inch-thickness.

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