Easy Tarte Tatin Recipe

I realize this puts me in the minority, but I am someone who longs for fall, and the new crop of apples that comes with it.

Returning to the Batignolles farmers market after our vacation, I was elated to spot crates of bright red Akane apples — the first to appear in late August — and promptly filled a bag with them, my mouth watering at the thought of the crisp, acidulated wedges I would soon sprinkle with cinnamon (I use fresh cinnamon from Cinnamon Hill) and use to scoop up my lightly salted, crunchy almond butter.

But these apples are pretty good for baking, too, and on the first of the chillier, windy days that followed the altogether wonderfully warm summer we’ve had this year, I decided to call upon the comfort of a simple tarte tatin.

Beyond a good, tasty crust that’s both tender and crumbly, a winning tart tatin starts with a nice layer of buttery salted caramel.

I’m sure some cooks feel intimidated by the idea of this dessert but truly, there is no need to be. I would argue that it is, in fact, the most forgiving of tarts: the dough can be patched up as necessary if you can’t quite roll it out in one go — since the fruit bakes underneath it, you don’t have to worry about it being leak-proof — and there is no risk of it turning soggy since it is directly exposed to the heat of the oven.

Beyond a good, tasty crust that’s both tender and crumbly, a winning tart tatin starts with a nice layer of buttery caramel on which to arrange the apples at the bottom of the pan. This is easily done as well, if you trust your eyes and your nose to alert you to its doneness (the goal is golden brown and irresistibly nutty). I then sprinkle that layer of caramel with some salt, because well, what’s buttered caramel without salt?

I also peel the apples in alternating stripes, not just because it’s half the work (though it is) but because I think it’s pretty and I like a bit of skin on my cooked apples.

Mini Cookbook of French Tarts

Perhaps the last step that needs demystifying is the flipping of the finished tart, in order for the crust to return to the bottom and the apples to the top. I admit this is a manoeuvre not to be taken lightly, but an assertive gesture and a good pair of oven mitts will do the job quite nicely. I actually enjoy the thrill of it — will it flip, will it stick? oh, the sense of adventure! — and feel safe knowing that any stubborn apple wedge that might remain stuck to the pan can be scraped off carefully and returned to its rightful place with no lasting consequence.

Some people like their tart tatin at room temperature, others prefer it slightly warm. You can still bake the tart earlier in the day then; you’ll just warm it back up in a low oven. As for accompaniments, I am partial to crème fraîche or thick yogurt, but I won’t begrudge you a scoop of vanilla ice cream if you promise it isn’t the artificially-flavored, tooth-achingly sweet kind.

Join the conversation!

How does tarte tatin rate on your favorite fall desserts list? Have you ever tried baking one yourself, and how did that go?

Tarte Tatin

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Easy Tarte Tatin Recipe

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Serves 6 to 8.

Easy Tarte Tatin Recipe


    For the crust:
  • 200 grams (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
  • 25 grams (2 tablespoons) unrefined blond cane sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 120 grams (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, cold and diced
  • 1 large organic egg yolk
  • For the apple filling:
  • 75 grams (5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon) unsalted butter
  • 75 grams (6 tablespoons) unrefined blond cane sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 4 large organic apples, about 800 grams (1 3/4 pounds)


  1. First, prepare the dough for the crust. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and yolk, and rub them in with a pastry blender or a fork until you get an even, coarsely sandy consistency.
  2. Tarte Tatin
  3. Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface. Add 2 tablespoons cold water and knead briefly to gather the dough into a smooth ball. If necessary, add a touch more water. Put the dough on a plate, cover with an upturned bowl and refrigerate for 1 hour or overnight.
  4. Tarte Tatin
  5. Now, prepare the caramel coating. Put the butter and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Allow them to melt together until the mixture becomes golden brown and smells irresistibly nutty and caramel-y, swirling the pan around from time to time but not stirring.
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  7. Pour the butter caramel into a round 25-cm (10-inch) cake pan (don't use one with a removable bottom) and spread more or less evenly with a spatula. Sprinkle with the salt.
  8. Tarte Tatin
  9. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F).
  10. Peel the apples in alternating stripes. Core, cut into eighths, and arrange in the pan, rounded side down, starting from the outside.
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  12. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface to form a 30-cm (12-inch) circle. Lift the dough up and transfer it over the apples. Tuck in the side, patch up as needed, and pierce three holes for ventilation.
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  14. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the crust is golden brown and the apple juices are bubbling from the sides. Transfer to a rack.
  15. Tarte Tatin
  16. Allow the tart to cool for 5-10 minutes. Run a knife all around to loosen the crust. Top with an upturned serving plate and, wearing oven mitts and long sleeves, flip the whole thing so the tart lands crust side down on the plate. If any piece of fruit sticks to the pan, just scrape it off gently and place it back where it belongs.
  17. Serve warm or at room temperature, with a dollop of crème fraîche.

Easy Tart Tatin

  • I don’t think you’re in the minority at all when it comes to wishing for fall! As much as we all love summer, there’s something so happy and fresh about fall. It just brings a warm and cozy feeling. And this tarte tartin certainly helps. It’s lovely!


    • I’m glad I’m not alone! I also always loved the back-to-school spirit with fresh notebooks and good resolutions. :)

  • Annabel Smyth

    I love autumn fruit, but don’t love autumn – I love the long, long days of June!

    All the same, we will be touring France in October, and I’m looking forward to eating tarte tatin (I’m a good cook, but baking isn’t my forte, so I tend to rely on other people’s) when we are there.

    • You know, I hardly ever order tarte tatin when I eat out because I’ve been disappointed too often — undercooked or overcooked, flimsy or soggy crusts, etc. “On n’est jamais mieux servi que par soi-même !”

      • Annabel Smyth

        C’est bien vrai, mais faute de mieux…. Perhaps I shall try one when we get home again…. only I seriously can’t make pastry so have to rely on bought. Even my 5-year-old grandson makes better pastry than I do!

  • rachelsloan79

    I also love autumn, if for no other reason than that the autumn farmer’s market holds so many treasures: apples, plums, squash, mushrooms, cobnuts, the last tomatoes… and tarte tatin has always been high on my list of favourite autumn/winter desserts. I’ve made it from the recipe in your first cookbook and from David Lebovitz’s rather different red wine variation in Ready for Dessert and have had success with both!

    • I missed that red wine version in David’s book, I’ll look it up! It could work well with pears, too, I imagine.

  • Caroline Schurman-Grenier

    So I’ve never made a tart tatin, I mostly enjoy eating them.
    My favourite dessert is still apple crumble. There’s just nothing like it.


    • I love apple crumbles too! So easy yet so rewarding. Do you have a favorite recipe?

      • Caroline Schurman-Grenier

        My mom’s special recipe :)

  • Aisha Marie

    I love Autumn! It’s something to do with the colors of the leaves,,, the apples,,, the pumpkins! The chill in the air. I love it all.
    I really like your idea about peeling the apples in alternating stripes. I have been doing this with zucchini and eggplant, but for some reason had never thought of it with apples.
    Thanks for a great post. Excuse me now. I think I hear some apples in my kitchen calling me….

  • Maggie Unzueta

    I’ve always wanted to make a tarte tatin, but it’s rather intimidating. You make it look so easy. Must print your recipe. Wish me luck!

  • Jackie D

    Tarte Tatin is, hands-down, my favorite dessert. A couple of years ago, I begged my husband to find one for me for my birthday (which is, thankfully, in early October, aka apple season). He had a heck of a time finding a chef able to make it, and frankly, it wasn’t that great. Ever since then, I’ve been making my own and they are so much easier to make than they look. And even if it doesn’t look perfect, it will ALWAYS taste divine. Especially with some creme fraiche. I think I feel a birthday coming on . . .

  • I made tarte tatin once and it was amaaazing. Must try your recipe!


  • Cookies Fromhome

    It is on the top list of my favorite desserts,but i never made it by myself,saw your blog love to try this.

    Cookie Gifts

  • Amy2015

    I’m so happy I discovered your website Clotilde!You are awesome! I made this recipe yesterday and I really love this. Absolutely divine!

  • Madonna Ganier-Yancey

    I don’t eat sweets often, but when I splurge, tarte tatin is my favorite indulgence. And my favorite recipe is one you posted several years ago for tarte tatin with salted butter caramel. My other splurge was using a birthday gift card to buy an Emile Henry tarte tatin dish. In red, of course. I’m going to try your suggestion of peeling the apples in alternating stripes. I like for my splurges to look pretty while I’m devouring them.

  • Karen

    Hi Clotilde, that cake plate of yours looks gorgeous…can you please share the brand and model? I’ve been searching for one here in France but just couldn’t find any that fancies me. thanks!

  • Susan

    Hi Clotilde, I want to take advantage of the autumn apple bounty in Toronto and making a tarte tatin has been on my baking wish list for a while. I will have to buy a tart dish but wonder how to choose amongst Ikea (which is not near me) and Le Creuset (French cast iron – love!) and everything in between. I have a small kitchen and prefer to buy things that are multipurpose.
    Also, I have seen recipes using puff pastry…what do you think of those?
    Thanks for your help!

    • I make tarte tatin in an ordinary cake pan, NOT nonstick, NOT with a removable bottom. Of course, if you can afford the Le Creuset pan, it will be wonderful, but any old cake pan will do!

      As for tartes tatin with puff pastry, let’s say there are two schools of thought and I don’t belong to the puff pastry one. ;) I think puff pastry doesn’t offer enough structure to make a good tarte tatin — the crust becomes flimsy and limp.

      • Susan

        I remember tarte tatins with a denser crust, such as the one you have here, and I can’t imagine flipping puff pastry very easily.

        I love the look of enamelled cast iron but it’s definitely a splurge. (And it’s heavy!) I was curious whether there was any advantage to it but am happy to find that you have success without it.

        Thank you!

        • Samantha George

          I have the Le Creuset tarte tatin pan and love it (lucky me, it was a gift!). In our house, it’s definitely not a single use item. I use it for quiche, deep-ish dish pizza, roasting seeds/nuts, Julia Child’s chicken breast in mushroom and cream sauce, etc.

          It’s a great multi-use pan, and I love that it can easily go from stove top to oven. I don’t have a lid specifically for it, but I use on that goes with my cast iron skillets. I know Le Creuset is spendy, but it’s really worth the investment (my LC French oven is another favorite, well-used piece), because you’ll use it for years to come.

          • Thanks so much for sharing, Samantha. It does look like a handy format, and I second the recommendation for this type of well-crafted, enameled cast-iron pan. They will outlive us for sure! ^^

          • Samantha George

            I agree, they’ll outlive us all! Two of our cast iron skillets are actually a third generation hand me down from my housemate’s great aunt, ^she^ got them from ^her^ mother.

            I ended up in this conversation today simply because I’m making this recipe (and last night I made Portuguese Beef Stew in my LC French oven), and couldn’t resist happily recommending Le Creuset.

          • They must feel so special!

          • Samantha George

            They do.

            It’s taken me a couple of years to condition one of our skillets to even approach the clean, smooth cooking/baking surface of the one we inherited from the roomie’s great-aunt. And most of that was due to the different forging methods that are now in use. The vintage pieces have been polished, the newer ones have lost the final step in the process. So I’ve been dealing with a pebbly surface in the newer one, trying to emulate the cast of the old one. http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/11/the-truth-about-cast-iron.html

          • Thanks for sharing this! Would love to see a picture if you have one.

  • Heather

    Hi Clotilde,
    I recently had this at Buvette in Paris and can’t wait to try your recipe…
    Buvette puts some kind of slightly sour, very slightly sweet cream on the top- Do you have any idea what this is? Creme fraiche with some mix-in, maybe? Thank you!

    • I’ve never had the tatin at Buvette so I can’t say, but it’s likely to be based on crème fraîche. Could it simply be crème fraîche sweetened with a touch of sugar?

      • Heather

        Ah, ok! Thank you, Clotilde! I can’t wait to try this tatin- definitely before the official apple season :)

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