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How to make French Tarte Tatin


  • Author: Lisa
  • Total Time: 1 hour 50 mins
  • Yield: 8 1x


famously delicious French tart, featuring buttery caramelized apples on top of a flaky crust


Units Scale
  • Dough
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 9 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon)
  • 6 tablespoons ice water
  • Apples
  • 9 Granny Smith apples
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Equipment
  • Food processor fit with a blade
  • Waxed paper
  • Rolling pin
  • Large oven-safe skillet


  1. Make the dough Put flour, 1 tablespoons sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse to mix. Add chilled butter and pulse 15 to 20 times until butter is in pea-sized pieces. Remove the lid and pour in the ice water. Pulse until the dough starts to form clumps and will hold together when you press it. Transfer the dough to a large square of waxed paper on a work surface and form it into a ball, then flatten it into a disk. Cover with a second sheet of waxed paper, the same size, and roll it to the edges of the waxed paper, into a 12-inch circle. Chill it in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
  2. Make the caramelized apples Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Peel the apples. Slice them in half. Slice each half into 4 wedges, and trim out the cores. Put the apple wedges in the bowl and toss with the lemon juice. Set aside. Melt the stick of butter in a large cast iron or other oven-ready skillet. (I use a 12-inch skillet for this recipe. If you have a smaller skillet, proceed with the recipe as is, scooping out some of the caramelized apples before adding the dough on top, if they are overflowing. You will also need to trim more off the edges of your dough as you lay it on top of the apples.) Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir constantly over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the mixture turns a light caramel color, but is still grainy. Remove the skillet from the heat and spoon the apples on top. (Don't worry if it seems like too many apples. They shrink a lot as they cook) Return the skillet to medium heat and cook, tossing and stirring gently and constantly, with a wooden spoon, for 10-15 minutes. The apples will release their juices and everything will bubble and thicken and caramelize.
  3. Final steps before baking When you have a light caramel color and sticky thick looking bubbles, remove the skillet from the heat. Using a butter knife, gently nudge the apples into a pretty pattern, rounded side down. Pile extra apples on top. They will sink down as they cook. Remove your dough from the fridge and peel off the waxed paper. Lay it over the top of the skillet, trimming off any excess with a sharp knife or scissors. Let it soften enough to tuck down the edges between the apples and the side of the skillet. Poke four little holes in the dough for steam to escape. Place the skillet in the middle of the oven and bake for 30 minutes or so, until the crust is light golden brown.
  4. Remove the skillet from the oven. Run a knife around, between the crust and the edge of the skillet. Place a plate that is a bit larger than the skillet over the top of the skillet. Using oven mitts and a lot of determination to hold the plate and the skillet together, perform a quick flip. Carefully lift the skillet up and make any necessary repairs. Serve with a dollop of ice cream, whipped cream, or Crème fraîche and enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 50 mins
  • Category: Dessert
  • Cuisine: French