molly’s apple tarte tatin

[Psst! There’s a newer, more perfect version of this recipe over here.]

[Guest post by Molly] You remember Molly, right? This summer, she shared her secrets for awesome, dry-rubbed ribs. (I still dream about them, I really do.) Well, Molly also makes a killer apple tarte tatin, one of my favorite desserts and she was kind enough to come over to my apartment last week and demonstrate–you wouldn’t believe how amazing it smelled. Here she tells you how she did it, in her own words. Thanks Molly!

peeling the applescoring the apples

The beginning of apple season this year found me in Highlands, North Carolina. The Forest Service had just finished a new hiking trail, the trailhead just steps away from my parents’ cabin. Dad, Sophie the doggie and I hiked along the trail until it opened up into a rolling field with rows of huge old McIntosh apple trees–the remnants of an old farm, it seemed, with some abandoned garden flowers still blooming, even. The apple trees were long untended–even overgrown in places with blackberry brambles–but still sagging with delicious fruit. We stopped and filled our backpacks. If there’s anything my Dad loves more than food in general, it’s free food, so he was thrilled.

dicing the butterrolling out lid/base

Back at the cabin, I made a baked apple dessert and 2 quarts of applesauce. It was the end of a weekend of epic feasting, largely thanks to the efforts of Smitten AKA the Best Houseguest Ever. [Ed note: Aww.] So the thought of a Tarte Tatin, my favorite apple dessert, seemed gluttonous, as it contains more than two sticks of butter. I would have to save it for another time.

sizing the crustcombine butter and sugar

Several weeks later, I’m still up to my ears in apples here in NYC. The Greenmarkets are bursting with them, and even my humble neighborhood grocery, the Associated Supermarket on Avenue C, has piles of 5-pound bags of New York apples at bargain-basement prices. Jocelyn invited a bunch of us over for wine and cheese recently, and I had a date to impress. It was time to make the Tarte Tatin.

caramelizing the applesflip the apples over

Joy is the source for my Tarte Tatin recipe, except I make an all-butter pate brisée instead of their recommended combination of a half cup of butter and two tablespoons of vegetable shortening. And, more importantly, I use salted butter in both the apples and the pastry. When Deb tried my Tarte Tatin for the first time, the first thing out of her mouth (besides “MMMMM!”) was, “Salted butter caramel?” Right on. A savory element takes apple desserts (indeed, most desserts) from merely delicious to addictively scrumptious. As for using all butter instead of a combination of butter and shortening in the crust, I think the flavor is superior. As long as all your ingredients are very cold and you work quickly, your crust will be tender and flaky–no vegetable shortening is necessary.

ready for the lidtucking in the crust

I’ve tried this recipe using both cast-iron and stainless steel skillets. While many people seem to assume a cast-iron skillet is best for making Tarte Tatin, I’ve had superior results with this All-Clad stainless steel pan. I am lucky enough to have an array of vintage All-Clad, which belongs to my landladies, at my disposal in the apartment. I am not sure when it was manufactured, but our friend Alexis said that my pots and pans are heavier than the stainless currently produced by All-Clad under the same series name. Deb and I tested Alexis’ hypothesis on the Smitten Kitchen Digital Scale and found that mine did, in fact, weigh 2 ounces more than hers. My extra-heavy Magic Pan might be the secret to the perfect Tarte Tatin. I am loathe to make it with any other piece of equipment. Of course, I encourage all of you to try.

molly's apple tarte tatin

I admit, the recipe sounds kind of scary. Apples boiling in a cup of sugar and a stick of butter on the stove at HIGH heat for nearly 20 minutes?! One might think the caramel would burn, or the apples would stick. But have faith. If you wimp out and use lower heat, the apples will cook too slowly and they’ll start to disintegrate, and then they really WILL stick to the pan. (This happened to me once. I had to start over, and since I don’t have a garbage disposal, that meant figuring out how to dispose of a whole skillet full of blazing-hot sugary fruit. I couldn’t just switch to another pan–remember, this is the Magic Pan we‘re talking about!) Another rejoinder: don’t skimp on the caramelization time. If you don’t caramelize on the stovetop for long enough, your Tarte Tatin will come out of the oven a gritty, runny, inedible mess. You must watch the pan carefully, though, because about 10 or 15 seconds can mean the difference between perfect, deep caramelization and burnt apples.

The upside: this recipe is a delight even for cooks who aren’t normally nuts about baking; the stovetop caramelization is a fragrant, fascinating process. Plus, the result is incredibly delicious, as everyone at Deb’s house on Thursday night will attest. [Ed note: Indeed, it was the very best part of Vice-President Debate Night!]

molly's apple tarte tatin

Two years ago: Classic Brownies

Deb and Alex went to Paris and all I got was this awesome tarte tatin! Yes, it’s true. Alex and I have flown the coop this week and are (hopefully) wandering around ancient cobblestone streets in a haze of wine and butter. Comment responses will be slow–if at all–this week, but I have fortunately been cooking up enough of a storm that you should never be left without your smitten kitchen fix!

Molly’s Apple Tarte Tatin
Adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 stick plus two tablespoons cold salted butter (5 ounces), cut into cubes and chilled in freezer
1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
1 1/2 cup flour
3 to 6 tablespoons ice water

7 medium apples (I’ve had good results with Granny Smith, Gala, McIntosh…use your favorite, but make sure they are very firm, fresh and flavorful.)
1 stick (4 ounces) salted butter
1 cup sugar

Prepare Crust: I always use the food processor for this. Pre-mix the flour and sugar in the food processor container, and cube the butter on a plate. Then put the dry ingredients and the butter in the freezer for a while. This will get everything, including the blade and container, nice and chilled. The colder everything is, the flakier and more tender your crust will be. Prepare about 1/3 cup ice water and refrigerate.

After you’ve chilled everything for at least 20 minutes, add the cubes of butter to dry ingredients and pulse until the largest pieces of butter are no bigger than tiny peas.

Add the ice water a little at a time, processing just until the dough starts to come together into a mass. (it won’t quite be a “ball,” and it won‘t look smooth–you don’t want to overprocess it!) Turn out onto well-floured surface and pat together into a ball. Don’t handle the dough too much, or the warmth of your hands will start to melt the butter. Flour the top of the dough and use rolling pin to quickly press and roll the dough out into a 10 to 11-inch circle. Keep turning the dough as you do this to make sure it doesn’t stick to the rolling surface. Throw more flour underneath the dough if necessary. Check the crust to make sure it’s just big enough to cover the top of your tarte tatin pan. Move the crust onto a piece of parchment paper or onto a floured rimless baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Prepare filling: Preheat oven to 375° F.

Peel, core and quarter the apples. Don’t cut them into smaller pieces than quarters–the quarters shrink considerably during cooking. You can squeeze a bit of lemon on them, but it’s not necessary.

Over low heat in a heavy, ovenproof skillet measuring 7 to 8 inches across the bottom and 10 to 11 inches across the top, melt the stick of butter. Remove from heat, add the sugar and stir until blended.

Shake/tap the pan so the butter-sugar mixture distributes evenly across the bottom. Arrange apple quarters in pan, first making a circle inside the edge of the pan. Place them on their sides and overlap them so you can fit as many as possible. Then fill the center of the pan; you may have some apple left over. Keep at least one extra apple quarter on hand–when you turn the apples over, they may have shrunk to the extent that you’ll need to cheat and fill in the space with an extra piece. This one piece won’t get quite as caramelized as the other pieces, but don’t worry–it will still cook through and no one will notice.

Return your pan to the stovetop on high heat. Let boil for 10 to 12 minutes or until the juices in the pan turn from golden in color to dark amber. Remove from heat. With the tip of a sharp knife, turn apple slices over, keeping them in their original places. If necessary, add an extra slice of apple to keep your arrangement intact. Return to the stovetop on high heat once more. Let cook another 5 minutes and then remove from heat.

Place the crust on top of the apples and brush off excess flour. Tuck edges under slightly, along the inside of the pan, being careful not to burn fingers. You can use your knife.

Bake in oven until the top of the crust is golden-brown in color, about 25-35 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool on a rack about 30 minutes.

Run a sharp knife along the inside edge of the pan. Place a plate or other serving dish on top of the pan and quickly flip over the whole shebang so the Tarte Tatin drops down onto the plate. The pan will still be hot, so use potholders and be careful! Don’t burn yourself or drop stuff! If you are feeble and clumsy, get someone stronger and more coordinated than you to do this. Peek under the edge of the pan to see if the Tarte came out. You may need to bop the bottom of the pan with your potholder-encased fist for this to happen. If there are any pieces of apple left behind in the pan or otherwise out of place, carefully put them back where they are supposed to be. Voila! A beautiful TREAT!

This keeps well for about a day at room temperature; if you have to refrigerate it, warm it up slightly before serving for optimum enjoyment.

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99 comments on molly’s apple tarte tatin

  1. ur mur gurr. Molly this looks fantastic, and I am sooo with your dad on the free food thing! we love us some scrumping in the country! I even found loquats and mulberries the other day in my hood in Sydney (ok, admittedly a pretty green city) yay! free food!

  2. wow. i need an excuse to make this. the hot flipping is a little scary, but nothing i haven’t done before. i alway feel like a failure when things don’t come out perfectly. luckily, i still feel okay about eating them.

  3. That looks AMAZING. I tried Tarte Tatin many years ago before I really learned to cook, and finally had to give up. I don’t think I had the right pan – I’ll have to give it another shot now that I’m better equipped!

  4. Awesomely beautiful, and I can almost smell it! You are so right about the pans — the old ones are much better! *grumble* they don’t make ’em like they used to */grumble* Thanks for the lovely post!

  5. Sweet cracker sandwich! I can’t even see the pictures here at work (stupid firewall blocks them) and I already know I HAVE to make this. Even if I’m the only one that eats the damn thing. (My husband? Doesn’t like FRUIT. The man’s insane.) Besides, any recipe that includes the instructions “bop the bottom of the pan with your potholder-encased fist” is on my to-do list for sure. I need to find more ways to include the word “bop” in my everyday life.

  6. OOOO, I made your mom’s apple cake twice in the last week and sent many folks to your blog for the recipe. I can’t wait to try this too, on my way home I stopped by the local orchard and bought 2 bushels of apples. I see many tarts in my future (Mr Chiot’s is super happy about this).

  7. Debra,
    If you’re not careful, you may turn into the apple lady!

    I think your mom’s Jewish Apple Cake for Rosh Hashanah last week was the most downloaded recipe on the internet! I made it, my sister in law made it, my neighbor made it, and everyone posted back to you!

    I am not even attempting this tart tatin, I will leave it to the experts! It’s beautiful!

  8. Deb,
    I hope you are having a wonderful time, but how can you not in Paris. It is one of my favorite places.

    I am going to give this a try, due to excessive apple picking the past few weeks. I made the apple cake last week for my kids and it was a huge hit.

  9. Jessica

    Looks incredible – must try. Molly, my only question is whatever will you do when you move out and leave the magic pan behind? :-)

  10. I actually rushed home and made it. The pate brisee was easy (though I undersized it a bit) and the hardest part of making the whole thing was peeling the apples (i.e., nothing about it was hard). A bit of the crust stuck to the pan, so it wasn’t as pretty as yours, but good lord, is it tasty.

    I’ll just have to make more to practice. Yes. that’s it. Thank you!

  11. Betsy

    This is one of my favorite desserts and I’ve never made it. I’m sure your recipe will be great–anything that comes from here is!! Thank you, Molly.

  12. Job

    Molly, it looks exactly like my tarte! One difference is that i use a puff pastry base (or topping! depends on the phase in which you’re looking at it) what makes the crust more crusty. And i use regular butter instead of salted, but i’ll definitely try it because i’m a sucker for salted caramel!

    Not to make you jealous but Le Creuset makes special tarte tatin pans

    I own one and it’s great for baking the tarte, because it’s designed for easy flipping over. You could use a pan with a detachable handle.

  13. Janet

    Ah, Deb, you’re in Paris!! Ill be there for all of November *ducking* and can’t wait. I expect to come back way heavier than when I left, and that’s perfectly fine with me.

    I was peeling apples yesterday for a crisp and discovered that my regular ol’ vegetable peeler does a fine job, and I don’t cut my fingers that way. Just a thought. The recipe looks delish!

  14. Lucy

    Hrm. Tarte tatin is one of my favorite desserts, but for some reason I’ve never made it. You may have inspired me to take a crack at it. Looks yummy!

  15. Susan

    This recipe is very, very similar to Julia Child’s recipe. She uses the 2 Tbsp of shortening in the crust though and cools the pan almost completely before turning the tart out. This looks wonderful and the pictures of it cooking stovetop take alot of the fear factor out of the prep. These directions are much better than Julia’s! Thanks, Molly!

  16. Ooooh, I love how this looks baking in the pan. And I can’t even imagine how amazing it made your house smell. Might have to try for myself just for the aroma of it :)

  17. Ok Miss Molly, that looks absolutely fabulous. Here in Nova Scotia, Canada, I have to boast we have THE best apples this time of year ;) Gravesteins are fabulous for cooking, but the Macs right now make my mouth water just thinking.
    (When I was about 4 months pregnant, I hadn’t gained a pound, apple season came and I gained 10 pounds, changing nothing except a 5 a day apple binge). I am definitely trying this.

    Now I have a Browne-Halco heavy (HEAVY) cast iron skillet, and umpteen different Paderno’s to choose from…. but my paderno stainless steel pans are most definitely too small. I guess it will have to be cast iron and all fingers crossed that it turns out as lovely as yours!


  18. I just made this for dessert and it is off the charts delicious! Warm, tender apples, crip, buttery pastry, rich, dark caramel…mmm…it’s not as lovely as yours, but every bite tastes like autumn. Thank you, Molly!

  19. MFM

    The tart was very tasty, but I did note that the cooking times for my cast iron skillet were significantly less than the recipes. Much to my sadness this meant that I got a slightly burned taste to the sugar. For the first round of boiling the apples, at five minutes I started to think the sugar was getting beyond the amber color in the photo, but figured (because the recipe required minimum 10minutes) that maybe it was just the light. I caved and took it off the heat at 8 minutes. Too late! Lesson learned. In my next tart (which will be soon because I have to perfect this), I will time the recipe by the color of the sugar/butter, not by the recipe time.

  20. Lee

    like another poster, i was totally thrown off by the suggested time for caramelizing the apples. maybe i have a super-powerful stovetop, but my apples were burned to a smoking black mess in about eight minutes and i had to toss the whole thing. so sad. like MFM, i would also advise people to go by the color of the caramel and not the cooking time indicated here.

  21. Molly

    Oh dear, smoking black mess. That sounds awful. Yes, you definitely have to use the color of the caramel as your indicator, not the clock. The cooking time can depend not only on your stovetop, but also on your pan. There was an interesting article in the New York Times recently that suggested cast-iron pans can actually lead to burning when used on the stovetop (as opposed to in the oven, where they are great). Here’s the URL:

  22. Molly

    Also–the other downside of using the cast-iron skillet is that its dark color makes it harder to gauge the color of the caramel.

    Job–I want to check out that the Le Creuset tarte tatin pan.

    What oh what will I do when I move out of my apartment and have to leave the Magic Pan behind?? Maybe I will beg my landladies to sell me their vintage All-Clad lineup…

  23. I made a Pomegranate Apple Tarte Tarin about a week an a half ago – my recipe called for less butter, less sugar, way more apples – and while it tasted magnificent, it did not look nearly so elegant as this. I’ll have to give this one a shot next.

  24. June

    Holy Deliciousness! My boyfriend and I made this last night and it’s almost nearly all gone. I like this better than apple pie! It’s the perfect combination of buttery, sugary, apple-y magnificence!!!!!!!!!!!! The crust is sooo flaky and tender toooooo… the best crust I’ve ever made!

  25. Edward

    Would it be possible to use the broiler of your oven to cook the top side of the apples rather than flipping them over? Or does that throw the timing off too much, while waiting for the oven to cool down?

  26. So I finally tried it. It was, according to my guests, “incredible.” The crust in particular seemed to draw quite a bit of attention. We ate almost the entire thing before I could get a picture…Wonderful recipe.

  27. I made this with the last few fall apples in my crisper. Beautiful and delicious. Oddly enough, I think I did not cook the apples long enough (they were tender, but not as caramelized as the photos). I think the difference was high altitude, and I should have known better, but just wanted to throw that out there for anyone in the same situation. Thank you for this recipe. I had such a good time trying it.

  28. Delia

    First time I made this with a mixture of granny smith and macintosh because that’s what I had in the house. I noticed that the granny smith worked much better, they caramelized best and the taste was superior too. The macintosh became a soft mush while the grannies maintained shape. But it was very tasty overall! Hubby and friends loved the salty caramel plus butter taste and flaky crust. Thanks for posting this recipe! I will make it for many years to come.
    Oh, I used a cast-iron le creuset type pan and nothing stuck, I turned it over easily and it was flawless.
    I even took pictures of this one they are here
    and you can see the difference between the green and red apples and their progress throughout. In final picture of cake the grannies are the nice looking ones, darker in the front.

  29. artgeek

    This looks fantastic and it is my wife’s favorate desert…. Unfortunately high hopes turned into a fire alarm, all the windows open and a dinner with only vanilla ice cream for desert (the fennel ice cream is fantastic by the way). Withing 7 minutes the sugar had burned and it was spewing smoke. I am using and electric top but did not quite top it out, is that the issue? I would love to make this work.

  30. sweet tooth sarah

    phew! i’m glad to read that i wasn’t the only one to burn this. i used a non-stick pan and it was actually going great until i turned the apples to cook on the other side and had the not-so-good idea to cook them for 6 minutes instead of 5 (they were not as browned as i expected) at exactly 5 minutes and 30 seconds the syrup turned black and i ended up having to toss most if it. to top it off, it happened with the in-laws over for company…. but some haagen daz vanilla saved the day along with the scraped off bits of apple that my husband salvaged. i will definately try this again though – i can tell this is a winner!!

  31. Becky D

    I made this, and it came out perfectly, but I think the sugar did something funny to my cast iron pan. As in, it left rust spots. Any ideas? Does this happen to anyone else? Thanks.

  32. Kate C

    Oh yum. I just made this in a non-stick skillet and it turned out great without any sticking. I was pretty convinced I’d burnt it, but it ended up delicious (although I did fill my kitchen with smoke). I replaced half the sugar with brown sugar, so it was hard to see the color change, but it was still delicious. I’ve been reading your blog for a while now (though I don’t think I’ve commented before, I have turned some foodie friends and relatives into regular readers), and have never had a bad result from one of your recipes. Anyhow- congrats on the little one, and thanks for all the tasty recipes!

  33. Heidi in DF

    I’ve made this 3 times in the past month or so. Once with store bought puff pastry and it turned out fine. Then I decided I’d try making phyllo pastry because I’m married to a Greek and have a terrific Greek cookbook from my sister-in-law and I’m crazy…not so great because I made waaaay too much phyllo so it didn’t get baked all the way through and also because I put too many apples and pears and lots of the caramely goodness bubbled over onto the oven floor :( Then last week for my birthday I made it once more with the right amount of phyllo and was a big success with my coworkers (sometimes you just gotta take baking for your birthday into your own hands).

    I love this recipe because it’s so simple and I get to use my cast iron skillet! Thanks for another winner :)

  34. midori

    Deb, Molly,
    Thank you so much for the incredible recipe. I just got the tarte tatin out of the oven, flipped it, and ate it.. it’s amazing. :) I made mine in a heat proof glass bowl and it worked really well I didn’t pay attention to the cooking time of the apples though, but used some sense instead ;) I’m definitely gonna make it again. By the way, I’m new here and this is the first recipe I’ve tried from your website. Deb, you’re my new star. :)

  35. tanya

    Fantastic recipe!

    I’ve tried many Tarte Tatin recipes, but this one is the only one that works: the apples are permeated with caramel flavor and the caramel itself is just the right color and consistency.

    I make this in a 12inch iron skillet and use more apples than Molly, but leave the proportions the same. I’ve made it twice: the first time the apples were a bit overcooked. So the next time I let the sugar cook in butter and almost melt before putting the apples in. This resulted in apples that were completely saturated in caramel but held their shape. Also, the second time I left the skin on, which added to the texture. Finally, I always slice a few apples relatively thin (about 1/5 inch) and when the caramel and other apples are ready to go in the oven, I cover them with these uncooked slices and then with crust, so that when the whole tarte is ready, there is some crunchiness to it (that’s Jacques Pépin’s trick).
    My favorite apples to use in this recipe are Granny Smith and Styman Winesap.

    So far, I have not had any problems with burning or excessive smoke (knock on wood). But I do turn the fan on whenever I make this.

    Thank you, Molly and Deb, for yet another great recipe and excellent technique tutorial.

  36. nathan

    I can’t believe one of the readers used a non-stick pan! The smoke was from the non-stick coating. You can’t heat a no-stick pan up like that. It’s very toxic

  37. Thanks, deb & molly! I made this for a recent dinner party … for real, live French people no less! It got rave reviews and even a round of applause. As far as they were concerned, it was super authentic. Cheers!

  38. Harry Sherman

    So far I am 0.5 for 2 on this one (second one almost made it). I find that the trickiest part is the caramelization of the second half of the apples. Looks amazing, thanks for the great recipe. I’m off to try it a third time.

  39. This also works well as a recipe for apple crumble… I was too lazy to make pie dough, so I just stopped at the adding ice water step, and then put the crumbly almost-dough on top in the manner of a cobbler. Thanks, Molly and Smitten Kitchen!

  40. Vanessa

    Oh. My. Gosh. This is by and far the easiest, quickest path to apple pie ever. I will admit that I cheated and used Trader Joe’s premade pie crust (hey..its all natural, at least)

    After crock pot brisket to oven (this method is seriously superior, thank you Deb!) and buttermilk mashed potatoes, and wilted spinach, and homemade brown sugar ice cream….pie crust was just not on my list of things to get all over the countertop.

    Ginger gold apples were absolutely divine for this. The tart flipped without any trouble and the apples came out positively silken and saturated with gorgeous caramel. Thank you thank you thank you!

  41. LauraJJ

    This was absolutely fantastic! I made it for my Son’s 33rd birthday cake. He loved it!
    My other son said it was the best thing he had ever tasted. They are spoiled, and love everything I make. But, even I LOVED it, so that was key.Making it again for football Sunday tomorrow!

  42. Molly,

    I must have read/researched 17 or 18 recipes for tarte tatin before i made it last weekend for my in-laws’ 60th anniversary dinner. i also watched the French Chef episode–Julia Child is hilarious and so likeable, but i did not want to make the tarte her way….thanks Julia, and thanks Molly. it was clear from your directions and pix that you knew what you were doing. It was a huge hit that night, and tonight my 17-yr-old daughter is making it right now.

  43. Yalda

    Thank you so much for this recipe. I prepared it for the first time last night, and it was absolutely perfect. I used a Le Creuset pan – not the actual Tartin dish but the 10 3/4 inch enameled skillet part of a multi-use set. Kind of like this one but bigger:
    I think enameled cast iron is the way to go because it gets super hot and distributes heat evenly for perfect caramelization, and nothing will stick to it when you flip. I can’t wait to make this again. There are some beautiful apples in our local farmers markets and I’m sure I’ll be buying them up so I have an excuse to throw this together again.

  44. Sengkelat

    I’ve made tarte tatin from this recipe several times now, always to rave reviews. It’s the perfect dessert with home made vanilla ice cream. I always use a 10″ Calphalon teflon frying pan, and never have any problems with burning or sticking. I know it’s ready when I catch the first, faintest whiff of acrid smoke, and from there it comes off the stove and goes into the oven. The most recent time I made it I didn’t wait for that smoke and the caramel was a tiny bit runny, so when inverted it didn’t have a smooth top, but instead the apples appeared as individual peaks. It was still delicious. Thanks so much for the recipe, and more so the helpful additional instructions!

  45. Scazza

    Molly, can you post the series name, domensions, info, maybe even a link to a buyable version of the pan you use? Or email it? That would be awesome.

  46. Scazza

    I’m going to make it today in my Le Creuset round french oven which is the right dimensions across. Hopefully that won’t add more heat to make everything cook faster. Checked to make sure that one of my plates fits nicely inside for the turning over at the end. I’ll let you know how it goes…

  47. Scazza

    Well I really wanted this recipe to work, but sadly it did not on my first try. Next time I’ll try the cast iron and not be dissuaded by the comments, I’ll just watch the heat. My theory is that the french oven distributed heat too far away from the bottom, so the apples wouldn’t caramelize before being turned. Then I waited for the sauce to brown, a total of 29 minutes before going into the oven, though since it browns in the oven this was kind of unnecessary I think (there wasn’t really any specifics as to how dark the sauce should be before going in. I tried for “dark amber” which was the last description, but it was probably darker). The dough had been waiting in the fridge and was a pretty hard disc when it was taken out. Checking at 25 minutes the sauce was a beautiful color but the dough still raw; took forever to get golden, 1h 5 minutes. Tried turning up the heat, but really I had to take it out, it was getting ridiculous. Totally sad, completely solid, black, brick. Scraped off what I could which was nice-ish tasting. Seemed a bit salty, but can’t really judge by this.

    [BTW I found the pan on their website: All-Clad 10″ Stainless fry pan.]

  48. Monica

    I’ve made this twice now, last weekend and again tonight. I used my cast iron skillet, brown sugar instead of granulated and honeycrisp apples. It’s delicious and my husband is absolutely in love with it.

    I find it turns out better and caramelizes better using just 1/2 a stick of butter and half a cup of sugar.

    Thanx for another great recipe! :0)

  49. Nadia

    Finally made this now that I’m a proud owner of a 10-inch cast iron skillet, and it didn’t work out because the apples were over-caramelized before I even put them in the oven. I should have watched the last 5 minutes when the butter when suddenly from light brown to dark, bordering on the sticky (reminded me a lot of past marmalade-making failures). Next time I’ll watch the caramelizing stage more carefully and cut the apples slices even bigger. The pastry is lovely though it took closer to 40 minutes to become golden brown.

  50. Nina

    Love the pastry, but the filling – forget it. Managed to squeeze only five apples into my skillet, then watched the caramel flow over onto the stove in an endless stream.

  51. Malcolm

    Hi, this is the most comprehensive and appealing recipe I’ve seen for tarte tatin – thanks from New Zealand. (Oh, and love your blog.)

  52. Linda

    I have made this recipe countless times since I found it on your wonderful site.
    I use puff pastry when I don’t have time to make the crust. I bake it for the same time as your crust. The most recent version was a ginger pear with salted pistascio
    under the crust in a 13″ bottom pan. MAGIC, thanks so much.

  53. Made this today with home grown Granny Smith apples and a few modifications. I used the vodka pie crust on your site but made it with brandy instead. Also I used coconut oil instead of shortening in the crust. I used a cast iron skillet and did not have the burner on high until the last few minutes. I used a medium heat for most of the cooking. I think cast iron might heat up to much on high on some gas stoves, maybe that is why some readers had problems with it burning. When I added some extra apple pieces after turning the ones in the pan over, I made sure they had syrup on both sides. I think the syrup helps the apples to stick to the crust, making it easier to remove from the pan. Finally, it had cooled too much after sitting for 1/2 hour and was sticking to the pan, so I heated the whole thing again on the stove just until I could see the whole tart move when I shook the pan, so I knew the apples would not stick. It was fabulous, absolutely perfect. Served it with whipped cream mixed half and half with greek yogurt and maple syrup for sweetening (kind of like a creme fraiche). Looking forward to the leftovers with a cappucino for breakfast!

  54. Rene

    I have made this but added a 1/4 teaspoon of dried lavender from my garden (dried or fresh in summer) to the boil part then sprinkled a few on top afterward. It has a certain addictive taste and cuts the sweetness.

  55. Sengkelat

    I think this is my favorite apple dessert in the world. So good.

    Having made it quite some number of times now, I’ve seen a pattern with the crust: It comes out best when I don’t have time to chill the ingredients so much. When I leave the butter in the freezer for a long time, the flour-butter-water mixture simply refuses to form a dough, and I have to work it for ages and ages to get it to be anything other than crumbly powder. Then the crust is flaky, but hard.

    If instead I chill everything in the freezer except the butter, it comes together nicely and the crust is tender.

  56. Mimi Wan

    I just made this and for once, it turned out lovely! I cheated and used frozen puff pastry but this was super easy! I had apples, butter (but not salted) and sugar. I squeezed a bit of lemon and added my own salt. Delicious. Thank you for posting!

  57. Beth

    Sorry, this was an immediate failure! High heat? It was burnt and horrible within mere minutes! I’ll leave this recipe to all of you folks who can afford to throw out expensive food.

  58. I’ve made this recipe again and again, and now that my crisper is once more full of apples, I thought I’d let you know how much I love it. I’m fairly confident this is the most scrumptious tarte tatin recipe known to man (this coming from a girl who spends quite a lot of time visiting family in France). It just goes to show–the most delicious recipes often spring from just a few, stellar ingredients. (And patience, always patience.)

  59. Kristi

    Thanks for the info. I used a few different recipes to make mine. I tried making puff pastry from scratch, but it didn’t work out. But the apples look pretty. I used smaller pieces than suggested here, but maybe next time.

    I added spices to the apples and pumpkin spice candy corns to the caramel mixture. I might have waited a few more minutes before taking it out of the oven, but otherwise it looks divine!

    Can’t wait to try it!!! Thanks for the final steps of the recipe!

  60. Leslie

    Made this in my mother-in-law’s kitchen as we waited for Hurricane Sandy to arrive and leave us without power. It was everything I hoped for. Finally, I know how to make the beautifully caramelized tarte tatin like the beauties that used to grace the bar at Au Gamin de Paris. It does take some experience with sugar caramelization, and then nerves of steel to get the timing right. But oh, when you do!

  61. CristineD

    Thank you Deb for this recipe, it is simple to make, and it is a succes, delicious, the apples (Granny Smiths) were soft but still had some bite to them! Instead of the proposed crust I had some flaky pastrie to roll on top and it was wonderfull, everyone loved it!
    Yes, the cooking apples in caramel on the stovetop seams risky, but it makes to whole difference! Loved it!

  62. Arlene

    Hi Deb….Can I make the crust tonight, refrigerate it and then make the tart tomorrow in the AM? Or….is it best to do everything at the same time?

  63. K

    This is my absolute go to recipe for tarte tatin! I made this once with the crust recipe published here, and the other time with premade puff pastry. The crust was absolutely superior with a flavor and texture which did not deteriorate with age. The puff pastry got chewy after a couple of hours, which was unfortunate. I’ll stick to the recipe next time. Thanks so much for sharing!

  64. Patricia

    HELP! Hi, I just made Molly’s crust for the tarte tatin – but wondered about the ration of butter to flour. After I followed all the directions accurately up to the point, though the mix did not look right (not crumbly/pea-sized pieces etc). I added 3 tblsp of ice water, and it did not come together in the food processor, and just did not look right. I have made a lot of crusts in my life, based on my mother’s version of a crisco crust, so I was quite certain that more butter was required in this one. I added about 3 more tablespoons of butter, mixed again and it looked considerably better. You might want to check your proportions. I haven’t baked the pie yet and am worried about it – its for a special dinner tonight. Any feedback before I run out of time to put another dessert together would be great! Thanks, Pat

    1. Made this again for Thanksgiving. I was making pies anyway so I used half of the usual pie dough recipe found here
      before remembering that the tarte tatin has its own crust recipe. Regular pie dough worked fine, of course, and it all turned out perfectly. I cooked the apples 7 minutes, flipped when the sauce wasn’t yet brown, then 7 minutes again. This dish makes me question whether gas stoves really put out more heat than electric, because if I followed this recipe and kept it on High for 10-12 minutes, it would absolutely be burned on my electric stove.
      Anyway, the dish is a delight, as always.

  65. Mary

    I made your butterscotch sauce a few days ago and was wondering if I could use it in this recipe in lieu of the butter-sugar mixture. Would the sauce burn because of the cream? Would it make a difference if I poured the sauce in the pan and then refrigerated it until firm prior to baking? Thank you!!

  66. 2016 and this recipe is still gaining new fans. Google images led me to your recipe, and I can’t wait to try it with the copper tarte tatin pan (that Santa forgot to give me) when Amazon delivers. Nothing like a little shopping therapy (and tarte tatin done proper) to cheer up a cold January day!

  67. Heather C

    Perhaps my Thermador is a bit enthusiastic, but I followed the cooking times/directions and I had Blackened Apples from Hell. My caramel was not lovely amber but a tarry mess. Those that didn’t disintegrate and survived the heat were delicious however.

    Will be trying your other apple-is things because you’re generally spot on with your recipes.