Foolproof Tarte Tatin Recipe (2024)

Recipe from Ron Paprocki

Adapted by Julia Moskin

Foolproof Tarte Tatin Recipe (1)

Total Time
1½ hours, plus 1 to 2 days’ aging time for apples
Rating
4(2,313)
Notes
Read community notes

Tarte Tatin isn't as American as apple pie, but it's a whole lot easier. With just four ingredients, it's all about the apples: the lovely taste and shape of the fruit are preserved by sugar and heat, with a buttery-salty crust underneath. This recipe from Gotham Bar and Grill in New York has a couple of tricks that make it easier to pull off than others: dry the apples out before baking; start by coating the pan with butter instead of making a caramel; use tall chunks of apple and hug them together in the pan to prevent overcooking. —Julia Moskin

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Ingredients

Yield:8 servings

  • 6 to 8large, firm-fleshed apples, preferably Braeburn, or use a mix of Honeycrisp and Granny Smith
  • 6tablespoons/80 grams salted butter, very soft
  • cup/135 grams granulated or light brown sugar
  • 1sheet all-butter puff pastry, about 8 ounces (store-bought is fine)

Ingredient Substitution Guide

Nutritional analysis per serving (8 servings)

242 calories; 10 grams fat; 5 grams saturated fat; 0 grams trans fat; 3 grams monounsaturated fat; 0 grams polyunsaturated fat; 39 grams carbohydrates; 4 grams dietary fiber; 31 grams sugars; 1 gram protein; 78 milligrams sodium

Note: The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Foolproof Tarte Tatin Recipe (2)

Preparation

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  1. Step

    1

    At least one day before you plan to cook the tart, prepare the apples: Slice off the bottom of each apple so it has a flat base. Peel and quarter the apples. Use a small sharp knife to trim the hard cores and seeds from the center of each quarter; don’t worry about being too neat. Transfer to a bowl and refrigerate, lightly covered, for at least one day or up to three days. (This key step reduces the amount of liquid in the tart. Don’t worry if the apples turn brown; they will be browned during the cooking anyway.)

  2. When ready to cook, heat oven to 375 degrees (or 350 if using convection). Thickly coat the bottom of a 10-inch heavy ovenproof skillet, preferably nonstick metal, with butter. Sprinkle sugar evenly on top.

  3. Step

    3

    Cut one piece of apple into a thick round disk and place in the center of the skillet to serve as the “button.” Arrange the remaining apple pieces, each one standing on its flat end, in concentric circles around the button. Keep the pieces close together so that they support one another, standing upright. They will look like the petals of a flower.

  4. Step

    4

    On a floured surface, roll out the puff pastry about ⅛-inch thick. Place an upside-down bowl or pan on the pastry and use the tip of a sharp knife to cut out a circle about the same size as the top of your skillet. Lift out the circle and drape gently over the apples. Use your hands to tuck the pastry around the apple pieces, hugging them together firmly.

  5. Step

    5

    Place the skillet on the stovetop over medium heat until golden-brown juice begins to bubble around the edges, 3 minutes (if the juices keep rising, spoon out as needed to remain level with pastry). If necessary, raise the heat so that the juices are at a boil. Keep cooking until the juices are turning darker brown and smell caramelized, no longer than 10 minutes more.

  6. Step

    6

    Transfer skillet to the oven and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until puff pastry is browned and firm.

  7. Step

    7

    Let cool 5 minutes, then carefully turn out onto a round serving plate. (Or, if not serving immediately, let cool completely in the pan; when ready to serve, rewarm for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven before turning out.) If any apples remain stuck in the pan, gently use your fingers or a spatula to retrieve them, and rearrange on the pastry shell. Cut in wedges and serve warm with heavy cream, crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

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2,313

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Private Notes

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Cooking Notes

Julia Moskin

Hi all, I'm reading your notes and emails and I notice that one problem seems to persist -- underdone apples.

Here's the solution: In Step 5, the apples and liquid should be cooking together very quickly, almost at a boil. On my stove, it only takes a medium flame to get the mixture bubbling furiously. But if your stove is different, increase the heat so that the apples cook and caramelize, and the liquid starts to boil off.

Good luck!

Bernice Glenn

You can also make it with a standard crust. Its more about the apples and their caramelization. See Jacques Pepin's recipe for an easier to prepare version, but with similar results.

Dan Epstein

Struggled for years with varying results for tarte tatin.. sometimes too watery, sometimes burnt. Tried something similar to Julia's method, but instead of refrigerating peeled apples I rolled them in sugar and then dehydrated for about 4 hours in a very slow oven (200). Result has been fine ever since.

Roy

I'm surprised at the suggestion of drying the apples. Seems an extra step that's unnecessary. I've followed Julia Child's method from "The Way to Cook" for many years and find it foolproof. I use an iron skillet, slice my apples with an apple corer/slicer contraption, and make sure the the juices have thickened sufficiently (by cooking them slowly at first then rapidly to reduce the liquid, basting all the while) before covering with dough and popping in the oven.

Heidi

I caramelized the apples in the skillet, covered with a lid for about 12 minutes.
I let the skillet and apples cool and then covered the apples with puff pastry and baked it according to the recipe.
It turned out superb.
Very easy
This is a keeper

mary

I find the plate from my microwave oven is ideal for flipping the tarte. The plate is flat, hefty and the right size.

Bodger

If I have quartered the apples as directed how do I manage the "button"?

Dorogaya

I see many problems with this recipe. I have made this dessert from 6 or 7 different recipes, with varying degrees of success. The most important lesson is: Technique is everything! For a truly foolproof, stunning, AUTHENTIC tarte Tatin, see Daniel Boulud's instructional video on the Panna Cooking website. He uses Honey Crisp apples, a vanilla bean, and breaks the process into steps which explain why each step is critical. Truly worth watching, even if you choose a different recipe in the end.

MFH

I didn't have time to let the apples sit for a day or two, so I cooked them in the caramel for longer without the dough on top to evaporate some of the liquid and it worked perfectly.
This might also alleviate the "undercooked" apples people have experienced.
Delicious!!

Roger

How about using a basted to get the excess juices out of the pan before flipping the tartin? Reduce them in a small pan and use the reduction as a sauce.

MFH

You actually want to make sure the caramelization starts on the stovetop. I successfully cooked it without the crust/dough for about 15 minutes and watched the sugar begin to brown and smell caramelized. Then I added the dough and cooked for a few more minutes so that it settled on top of the apples and then followed the oven instructions.

Ashley

I've made it lots of times with an old cast iron skillet! For the flipping part, try taking a large plate, a slightly bigger than the skillet, and put it on top of the skillet face-down like a lid. Then get a firm grip with both hands of both the pan and the "lid," with one hand at the pan's handle and the other at the opposite little "assist handle" (I use 2 oven mitts and hold it kind of like a big sandwich), and just turn it over - never a problem. Good luck!

marymc

what does it mean the apple slices
stand upright?

Nancy

Remember the first instruction to chop the bottoms off the apples? That's how the wedges can stand upright.

DL

I'd love to see a quick video of this one.

ethan stein

I ended up reading all the suggestions about getting the apples dried and cooked through. I just watched the heck out of them and made adjustments on the fly. I ended up with the apples perfectly cooked and colored! Everyone was super impressed. BUT, the crust was soggy. Anybody have any thoughts?

Bibi

Am I using quartered apples, or am I slicing them a bit thinner? Thanks!

MAinCC

Read the notes. Use Julia Childs method.

Margy Sommer

I learned Tarte Tatin in 1982 from a French chef at a hotel I was working at, it is the most beautiful flavorful Tarte tatin, the trick to the tarte tatin I learned is to cook the apples sugar and butter tightly nestled in the pan until the juices start to thicken, this brings out the pectin, it should be a thick light caramel, you have to rotate the pan a bit. Then let it cool a bit before topping with pastry, I sometimes top mine with almond paste. rest to room temperature, heat and invert

Nick K

Followed directions except I made a hole in the middle of the puff pastry lid. Came out beautifully. A keeper.

Judy

Like others, I skipped drying the apples, and in step 5 I brought my cast iron to a simmer/low boil for 40 minutes without the top crust. The apple juice cooked down and slowly turned light brown for the first 30 minutes. The last 10 min I watched it like a hawk until the sauce had just turned dark brown. Cooled for 10 minutes while it shrank a bit. Added crust, baked 45 min. Reheated after dinner for flipping and presenting. Gorgeous and tasted divine. Making for Thanksgiving for sure!

Joyce

Great easy recipe for a first time attempt at Tart Tatin. I've read reviews and I seemed to have had a problem not mentioned by others. On the stove, after adding the puff pastry, the pastry ballooned like the foil on Jiffy Pop! I put in the oven, hoping it would collapse a bit, but it didn't. I ended up with a delicious puff pastry "bowl" full of nicely cooked apples. No complaints, and it was very good with a bit of vanilla ice cream.....maybe I inadvertently "sealed" the edges to the pan?

GDS

Add some butter and sugar on top of dough to carmelize and make crunchy.

Mimi

I've tried numerous other tatin recipes and have always been disappointed. Mine turned out great. I made a half recipe using honey crisp and granny smith in a seven inch Lodge cast iron pan. When assembling the puff pastry, I added two vent holes. It cooked at 350 for 45 minutes on a sheet pan for safety sake. There was no overflow. No problem turning it out either. I'm converted.

molly mu

Foolproof it is NOT!

molly mu

Failed to mention that the view would be upside down so that when laying out the applels that must be considered. First time making tarte tartine so guidance woulld have been helpful.

kb

This is the second time trying this “foolproof” recipe and so far it did not turn out…first time I cooked the apples on the stove at a high heat and burnt the sugar se I d time I didn’t turn the stove up as high and the apples never caramelized (use 2/2 white sugar and brown). Any suggestions?!?!

John F

The apples were way too watery. I think I will follow the suggestion down thread of dehydrating the apples at 200°F for a couple of hours after rolling them in sugar.

Ferne Arfin

The tarte was beautiful, tasty and a real crowd-pleaser. And Granny Smith apples performed beautifully. BUT - as I was trying this for the first time, it would have been nice to know that during the stove-top cooking part of the recipe, while the caramel is being made, pretty much out of sight, steam from the boiling sugar and butter would blow up the puff pastrty like a balloon. It did settle in the oven, but first I had to adjust shelves of an already preheated oven.

Ellen

I found this soooo easy and quick to prepare and get in the oven. Reading the comments I wonder if I got lucky with the apples. I did cook on stove top so it was at a vigorous boil and liquid was starting to brown slightly. Used crisp Granny Smith apples. I cooked in convection oven in a cast iron skillet. It was a hit!

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Foolproof Tarte Tatin Recipe (2024)
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