Tarte Tatin

October  5, 2014
Photo by Erin McDowell
Author Notes

This is one of those simple desserts that is so impressive and craveable. Feel free to substitute a round of frozen puff pastry instead of the homemade pie crust. —Erin Jeanne McDowell

  • Makes one 9-inch tarte
  • Pie Crust
  • 2 1/2 cups (12 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cubed
  • 6 tablespoons (2 to 3 fluid ounces) ice water, or more as needed
  • Tarte Tatin
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (3 ounces) granulated sugar (bonus points if you have vanilla sugar!)
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons fleur de sel
  • 4 large baking apples (like Honeycrisp, Braeburn, or Granny Smith), peeled, cored, and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 splash Chilled heavy cream, for serving
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F.
  2. Make the pie crust: In a large bowl or in a food processor, combine the flour and salt. Add the butter and toss to coat. Cut in the flour or pulse in the food processor until the butter resembles the size of walnut halves.
  3. Add the water and mix to combine. The dough should come together easily but not be wet or sticky. Wrap the dough and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  4. Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick. The size of the rectangle isn’t important, but the thickness is. Once the dough is rolled out, visually divide it into thirds. Fold the first third of the dough (on the left) toward the center. Fold the second third of dough (on the right) over the first piece, like you’re folding a letter. Then fold the finished piece of dough in half -- it should make a square. Wrap the dough and chill if for about 30 minutes.
  5. Repeat the folding process a second time. Wrap and chill the dough for another 30 minutes. Roll out the dough to 3/4 inch thick. Use a plate or a cake pan to cut the dough into a 9-inch circle, then transfer the circle to a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill for at least 20 minutes more.
  6. Prepare the skillet: Coat the bottom of an oven-safe 9-inch skillet with the room temperature butter. In a small bowl, mix together the sugar, cinnamon, and flaky salt, and sprinkle that into an even layer in the base of the pan.
  7. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice. Arrange the apples, round side down, into the prepared skillet. Transfer the chilled dough round on top of the apples, and press around the edges to seal.
  8. Bake the tarte tatin until the crust is golden and caramel bubbles up on the sides, 35 to 45 minutes.
  9. Cool the tarte tatin for 5 minutes inside the pan, then invert the whole thing onto a large platter. (It should release easily.) Serve with a drizzle of chilled heavy cream.

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I always have three kinds of hot sauce in my purse. I have a soft spot for making people their favorite dessert, especially if it's wrapped in a pastry crust. My newest cookbook, The Book on Pie, is out on November 10th, 2020.