the tarte tatin – my French apple tart

by Sharon Santoni

french apple tart


OK, so I know I came back from the holidays with all sorts of good and very good resolutions about eating well and exercising, and keeping on good form for this busy autumn …. but now and again, well you know, just sometimes, there has to be an exception!

So when we invited friends around to dinner over the weekend, a glance at the garden, and the apple trees laden with fruit brought me to a quick decision – a tarte Tatin, or a French upside down apple tart would be on the menu.

dahlias and apples on a table

This has to be one of the most traditional French desserts, and oh, so easy to make, especially if you have an old pan that lost its handle years ago like I do.

To make a tarte tatin for 6-8 people, you will need a portion of good quality short or sweet pastry, about 8 apples, some butter and sugar, and a heavy duty pan that can be used first over the heat and then in the oven.

First pre-heat your oven to 180°C, or 350°F or gas mark 4.    melt three large knobs of butter (about one third of a cup, or 80 grams) in the pan, and sprinkle half a cup, or 100 grams of sugar all over.  Turn off the heat.

Peel, core and halve the apples, until you have enough to lay them overlapping, and cover the base of the pan.  Gently turn up the heat, but not too high.  You want the butter and sugar to melt and start to caramelise .

Don’t have the heat too high, otherwise your caramel will get too dark and bitter.   At this stage I use two forks to turn each piece of apple gently every few minutes, so that all of the fruit has soaked in the caramel.  Bear in mind that the tart will be served upside-down, so you want the most presentable side of the fruit facing the base of the pan.

While the fruit is cooking, roll out the pastry to the right diameter so it will slightly overlap the edges of the pan.   When the fruit is evenly cooked and the caramel a golden brown, then simply lay the rolled-out pastry over the top of the fruit and pop into the oven until the pastry is cooked.

Once you remove the pan from the oven, I find it is best to wait about 5 minutes, then turn the tart upside down onto a shallow serving platter.  This tart is best served just warm, possibly with a little ice cream, although I prefer mine without.

The variety of apple can make a big difference to the flavour of this tart, ideally you want a sweet apple with plenty of natural perfume.  Hope you enjoy!

apples and dahlias on a table

first picture thanks to google images


Karena September 8, 2014 - 2:50 pm

Sharon, this is my idea of a perfect Autumn dessert, with vanilla bean ice cream of course!

The Arts by Karena

Nancy September 8, 2014 - 2:57 pm

Sounds so yummy! I will have to try…..

Lorrie September 8, 2014 - 3:03 pm

Good resolutions just flew out the window upon reading this. I remember your Tarte Tatin from several years ago that I tried. Delicious! Time for another one, methinks.

Vicky from Athens September 8, 2014 - 4:05 pm

Thanks so much for another recipe that is sure to please family and friends. I’ve never failed to serve a real crowd pleaser when I served one of your dishes! Keep them coming!

Peggy Braswell September 8, 2014 - 4:08 pm

yummy + must go now + have to make a tantin french apple tart.

Madonna/aka/Ms. Lemon September 8, 2014 - 4:14 pm

I love the complexity, yet the simplicity of your food. I love the dahlias also.


Colleen Taylor September 8, 2014 - 4:35 pm

Oh my, this not only looks delicious but sounds even more so. Thank you for the recipe! X

Angelina September 8, 2014 - 4:36 pm

This looks and sounds delicious!!

Bebe September 8, 2014 - 4:38 pm

You have managed to demystify a recipe that is so often presented as a very detailed, very precise scientific experiment. Brava! This is country food. I’ll bet whoever first made it did so about the way you do. Simple, simple, simple.

Thank you…

Debbie September 8, 2014 - 4:58 pm

Thank you so much for the recipe, Sharon! I bike to our local farmer’s market where beautiful apples are coming in this time of year. I was trying to think of a distinct and unique dessert to serve with tea for my ladies group. I have been the only one of them to visit France and I can’t wait for them to taste your tarte tatin! Of course I always make a new recipe for myself before serving to others. I will be making my first tarte tatin this weekend. My daughter has started her studies in Grenoble this week so, I am excited to make this for her when she gets back home. 🙂

therese September 8, 2014 - 5:01 pm

Bon soir cette Tarte a était créé dans ma région en Sologne, a la Motte beuvron n loir et cher. Les fleurs sont belles.
Bonne semaine

Miss Diane September 8, 2014 - 9:36 pm

Je n’ai encore jamais fait de tarte tatin mais à regarder la vôtre, j’ai bien envie de m’y risquer, surtout que nous avons de très belles pommes au Québec. Merci pour la recette et les photos sont magnifiques|

Gina September 9, 2014 - 12:33 am

apple season is just the best!

ann hodgkins September 9, 2014 - 5:17 am

True comfort food. I may have to ty this once the weather has cooled a bit. I am not a baker but this recipe may change that. I usually do baked apples in the winter.
Thank you for your lovely pictures and sharing your recipe.

Doré @ BurlapLuxe September 9, 2014 - 5:43 pm

So inviting to cozy up to you for an invite for a slice 🙂

It’s a wonderful French Fall over her.



Doré @ BurlapLuxe September 9, 2014 - 5:45 pm

So inviting to cozy up to you for an invite for a slice

It’s a wonderful French Fall over her.



Madeleine September 9, 2014 - 8:44 pm

Thanks for sharing the recipe. One of the apple trees I planted when I bought my house 6 years ago is a French apple – Pomme de Neige. I’m hoping for an abundance of fruit next Autumn so that not one, but many tarte tatin can be on the menu!


Anita Rivera September 10, 2014 - 11:07 am

Bonjour Sharon!

J’adore ces tartes! Je voudrais en preparer une ce week-end!

Lovely Sharon, how wonderful you all celebrate automne out there in my beloved France. We are still having a bit of summer here, though I’m back in the classroom teaching French!

Thank you kindly for coming for a visit and for leaving a message. I wish you a super and most lovely fall day in France!



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Trudy Way October 9, 2014 - 1:05 am

I just had this tarte at a friend’s home today. It was the most delicious desert I’ve ever had! By the time I got home my friend had emailed me your website and I immediately went to find the recipe. I can’t wait to try it out.

Beautiful website. A visit to the guest cottage is on my wishlist!!


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