Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine Recipe

Tarte fine caramélisée aux pommes

When I wrote about my enthusiasm for quick and easy puff pastry, I promised I would soon share the apple tarte fine I made with it, and that day has come.

A tarte fine — literally, “thin tart” — is a classic type of French tart assembled on a flat disk of puff pastry, with no raised borders. This means it requires no tart pan, a trait that will no doubt appeal to the minimalists and the ill-equipped.

The trick to a perfectly caramelized crust is to butter and sugar the parchment paper you will bake it on.

It is a type of tart I’ve always thought elegant for its understatedness. The filling is typically made up of just fruit, and moderate amounts of it, so as to remain super thin. And every bite is as much about the crust as it is about the filling, which makes it an ideal opportunity to showcase your new puff-pastry-making skills.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

Apple Tarte Fine: a Study in Simplicity

And indeed this recipe is a study in simplicity: a thin round of rough puff that caramelizes in the oven — the trick is to butter and sugar the parchment paper you will bake it on — to form a crisp, flaky, buttery frame for a rose-shaped arrangement of thinly sliced apples.

That’s it. Bake and serve.

It does just as well slightly warm or at room temperature, and you could also make it with pears if you wanted to, but the one thing I will advocate for is serving it on its own. No custard, no ice cream, no crème fraîche. Just the solo silhouette of the tarte fine on a plate.

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Have you made or tasted a tarte fine before? Does the gorgeous simplicity of it appeal to you as much as it does to me?

Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine

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Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Serves 6

Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine Recipe


  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons) high-quality unsalted butter, melted
  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons) blond unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 quick and easy puff pastry (you can substitute a sheet of store-bought, all-butter puff pastry, about 250 grams or 9 ounces, thawed if frozen, but it will be a lot better with the homemade pastry)
  • 3 small apples, about 450 grams (1 pound), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into circles
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with half the melted butter to form a 25-cm (10-inch) disk shape. Sprinkle that zone with half the sugar.
  3. Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine
  4. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until you can cut out a 25-cm (10-inch) circle using an upturned cake pan or plate as a template. (Stack up the scraps of puff pastry and keep well-wrapped in the fridge to make palmiers.)
  5. Transfer the pastry circle cautiously to the prepared sheet, placing it exactly on top of the buttered and sugared area.
  6. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping pattern on top of the pastry, starting from the outside and leaving a 1.5-cm (1/2-inch) margin. Brush the margin and the apples with the remaining butter, and sprinkle with a touch of salt.
  7. Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine
  8. Insert into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the apple slices feel soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.
  9. Caramelized Apple Tarte Fine
  10. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and place under the broiler for 2 minutes, watching closely, until the sugar is caramelized.
  11. Let cool and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature.


Slicing the apples into circles -- rather than half-moons -- makes it much easier to garnish the tart in a pretty pattern. To do that, you need to first peel the apples, core them with an apple corer, and then slice them crosswise from top to bottom. A mandolin slicer makes this super speedy and even.
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  • Barbara Hart

    Thanks Clotilde for this post. I just had to try immediately. At this moment, the dough is cooling. Caramelized apple tarte fine for dessert tonight!

    • I’m delighted Barbara, I hope you like it!

      • Barbara Hart

        For a first attempt it was quite well. Next time I will slice the apples thinner. I think that due to their weight there wasn’t so much lift. (The border without the apples was right.)
        And I love the suggestion to slice the cored apples. It is so much easier to put the circles in a nice and even pattern on the dough than wedges, like I used to do.
        Looking forward to the palmier recipe to use the left-overs.
        Thanks again, Clotilde!

        • Thanks for reporting back, Barbara! The palmiers recipe is scheduled for early next week. :)

  • guglielmo

    oh my god! you made me so so so so much hungry

    • Thanks Guglielmo! What bakery do you think makes the best one?

      • guglielmo

        well, I m more a “connaisseur” of paris brest (my preferred at la fabrique au gourmandise rue de l’admiral mouchez and if you cant go till there legendre in place verlaine … but I regrettably I couldnt yet try the jacques genin one and the one at bistrot paul bert).

        So about tarte fine, what I can say is that at la fabrique aux gourmandises thay do a pretty good one, and cheap too, and from day to day you can find tarte fine also with other fruits. (which allows you not to get bored :D )

        • Thanks for the recommendation! I worked for a while in that neighborhood — on rue Brillat-Savarin, which I liked the thought of — but never tried that pastry shop. Will have to next time!

          • guglielmo

            the boulangerie is quite new (they just opened when I moved to paris at beginning 2012… so I was there for their first and second birthday (2012/2013). If you pass by give them a chance (and if it is period I suggest also their galette de rois). BTW Have you got a preferred place for parisbrest? I always willing to try new ones! in search for the perfect one

  • Katie @ Butterlust Blog

    what a beautiful tart – and while I do have a tart pan, I love that it’s not required for the recipe!

    • I’m just like you! I have tart pans but appreciate not needing them. :)

  • Madonna Ganier-Yancey

    That tarte is beautiful. I love apple desserts, especially tarte tatin (and most especially your recipe for tarte tatin with salted butter caramel). I’m going to try this for our next dinner party. I like the simplicity of the recipe, and I always have a bowl of apples sitting on my kitchen counter.

  • Well it’s safe to say I’m so hungry now. Great photos and recipe.

  • This is spectacular Clotilde!

  • Annemette

    I love tarte fine! The
    first time I had one was in Paris
    with my Taiwanese friend. It was her first attempt on European style cooking
    and her mother in law taught us – our only common language was French (which
    for my friend and me was rather limited at the time) but with the help of lots
    of laughter and a dictionary (and google to find pictures when we couldn’t find
    the words…) we made it and had an amazing afternoon. I am so going to make
    this again soon, recalling my wonderful time in Paris

  • This looks great Clotilde! Quick question: Do you slice the cored apples crosswise or lengthwise?

  • I’ve eaten these before when I’ve been in France and they always look so beautiful – I even bought one of those contraptions that core, peel and slice your apples for you so I could try making them myself but they never look as nice. I’ll definitely be trying your technique out and hopefully mine will look just as delicious!

    • I’ve often been tempted by that utensil, but I just use a vegetable peeler, apple corer, and a mandoline, all of which I already own. :)

      • If you can create these great results with your veg peeler, corer and mandoline I’d stick with them!

        • Thanks Helen! The only challenge of my method is that it only works with smallish apples, as my mandoline slicer is too narrow for the bigger ones.

  • Such a delicate and intricate looking tart. So temptingly easy to make. I’ve been wanting to make another batch of that pastry, now I have the perfect excuse!

  • s0sullivan

    I just made a variant – not having apples I used nectarines. So beautiful

  • LaCoccinelle

    Hi Clotilde
    Gill Catterall here. I use a different name on Disqus.
    I love these thin fruit tarts and apple is the best. Once a year I eat at the local duck farm, when they do a repas for about 100 people, and they serve apple or prune tartes fines. The first time I had no choice as all the apple tarts had gone by the time the serving plate got to me and the dark prune tart did not look inviting. The prunes had been cooked and then mashed. I was pleasantly surprised, it was delicious and now when I eat there, I always choose the prune one.

    • That sounds absolutely lovely, and I’m thinking an apple tarte fine with a thin layer of mashed prune underneath (you can buy that in a jar here) would be wonderful. Thanks for the inspiration!

  • La tarte fine aux pommes est mon dessert préféré mais je n’ai jamais la patience de faire une aussi jolie présentation!

    • C’est vraiment plus facile que ça en a l’air — j’espère que vous essaierez !

  • Tamsin

    I made this yesterday to take to dinner with my mum, brother and granddad. It was enjoyed by all present and such a simple recipe. I was taught a similar recipe for individual tarts when I lived in Annecy but I’ve never put butter and sugar under the pastry – the caramelized base is delicious!

    • Thanks Tamsin! I agree — the caramelized crust is what elevates this from pretty good to memorable.

  • YesGrrrl

    This looks stunning! I don’t have any experience making my own puff pastry but am inspired to try.

    May I ask, how thin do you roll it out?

    • I’ve never measured precisely, but I would say about 2 mm, or 1/10″.

  • Tama Trotti

    Clotilde – I love this tarte! So easy to make, even the pastry was simple. Adding the sugar and butter on bottom is heavenly. Mine didn’t come out as pretty as yours, but tastes fabulous. Thanks for sharing. Is it okay to link your recipe on a blog post with of course credit to you?

    • I’m so pleased to hear that, and I would be delighted if you wanted to link to the recipe from your blog. Will you share the link when the post it up?

  • Tama Trotti

    Clotilde, Here you go:
    P.S. Love your French Market Cookbook by the way – have made many of your recipes.

  • james

    Clotilde, this was terrific. I’ve always been frightened of pastry but your recipe is easy and worked well. Tasted great too. We can’t buy butter pastry so have to make our own. The top browned nicely but the pastry on the bottom was undercooked. Is this because of cooked temerature? I think my oven might be a bit off. Love your blog.

    • Congrats James, I’m glad you had good success with the recipe!

      If the top browns well but the bottom is undercooked, it is likely that your oven is “top-hot”, i.e. that the heat is uneven. There are two possible fixes: you can either a) slip the parchment paper on an oven rack rather than a baking sheet, to promote a better circulation of the hot air, or b) cover the top of the tart with foil for part of the baking time, to prevent it from baking faster than the bottom.

  • james

    Thanks for the hint Clotilde. I tried again with a baking sheet over the tart and the second attempt was even more delicious but still had a layer of raw pastry between the apple and the gorgeous crispy bottom. Could it be that I am cooking it too fast? 30 minutes seemed just right to do the rest perfectly. thanks for your help. I’d love to get this right as it is such a fabulous dish.

    • Thanks for the update, James. It really sounds like your oven is heating more from the top than from the bottom. What I suggest then is to parbake the pastry, i.e. slip it into the oven without the apples first, for, say, 5 minutes. You will then arrange the apples on top, and bake for the remaining 25 minutes. Let me know how that sounds!

  • Maria Tregub

    Tried it yesterday with store-bought pastry – sorry for cutting corners – :) – came out beautiful! And thanks for a great tip – to cut apples into circles – making pattern with circles is MUCH easier. I did not use the very top and bottom slices of the apples – there were eaten as a snack while we sliced – :)

    • I’m so glad Maria! And I agree about the apple circles, they do make it much easier to create a pretty pattern. Re: the top and bottom slices, snacking on them is a great idea, but I usually just slip them underneath the others so they don’t show but still get eaten.

  • james

    I’ve cracked it. I blind baked the pastry as you suggested and also put a 30mm thick piece of granite on the middle shelf. I put the tart straight onto this (with the baking paper) and it came out perfectly. Cooked all the way through. Thanks so much..this is now my party piece!

    • Oh, I’m so pleased to hear that, James, and what a clever solution you’ve found!

  • Ursula

    Yesterday my 9-year old daughter had a homework assignment to read a recipe in French (she attends a French Immersion school here in the US), and she elected to read – and then make – this one. I’ve made a hundred apple tarts before, as my husband loves them, so wasn’t expecting anything new, but both the technique of folding the pastry to create layers, and caramelizing the tart made the final product so much better! I doubt I’ll do them any other way from now on.

    • I’m so pleased, Ursula, thank you for letting me know, et bravo à votre fille !

  • Guest

    This looks great, Clotilde! Quick question: do you slice the cored apples crosswise or lengthwise?

  • neil reiter

    everything looks and tastes great except for one problem — once we start to cut the tart (we use a sharp steak knife), the apples slide off the top all together. any suggestions on how to correct this? thanks!

    • I personally use my large chef’s knife to cut this tart, and use a firm downward movement (no “sawing”) to slice right through the layer of apples. If that doesn’t work with the sharpest knife you own, consider using kitchen scissors — I use those often for things that are tricky to slice.

  • arrxx

    This was “magnifique”. I had some all butter puff pasty in the freezer so it was actually tres facile. Two of us ate the whole thing. Next time I’ll do the centre as your photo. If you have a mandoline it makes slicing the apples thin very fast and easy.
    It tasted simply of apples (and butter). My guest declared it “just like a patisserie”.

  • I made this yesterday (with frozen puff pastry) and it was excellent, Clotilde. Like some others who have posted, I have made many fruit tarts, with various crusts, and this was excellent. I was hosting my book group and our book was set in France, so I prepared a French meal including a (quick) cassoulet and this tart. The simplicity–basically apples, butter, sugar, and puff pastry–allowed the taste of the apples to shine. I did have a minor problem with the caramelizing, even though I watched it carefully….a bit of judicious and gentle scraping did the trick, and it looked lovely. Wish I’d taken a pic! Everyone loved it, and I have none left. 😢 I don’t have an apple corer so halved the apples and sliced them.

  • Middle Aged Gay

    I’ve made this twice now, and it’s EXCELLENT!!! I’ve received several compliments! …though I must confess, I made a rectangular version so I didn’t haven’t to cut the pastry sheet : ) …one of these days I’ll make the pastry dough myself!

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