apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

My husband likes to joke that every other comment on this site in the month of October is, “Help! I went apple picking and I brought home 20 pounds of apples and I don’t know how to use them up!” It’s not true, of course; it’s every five or six comments. We mostly have a giggle about it because we didn’t know how one could go to an apple grove and not realize that 20 pounds of apples is an impossible amount to munch your way through, no matter how enthusiastic of an apple-eater you might be. Furthermore, seeing as quite often, only one apple type is ripe at a time, you’re not likely even bringing a mix home that might sustain your interest from apple to apple, ad inifinitum. So, you know where this is going. Guys, we went apple picking last weekend and I brought home almost 15 pounds of apples! What do I do with them?

we went apple picking. send help.
peeled, cored, plus one for a toddler

I am kidding, mostly. I have a few ideas for them. The first 6 pounds went to the largest batch of applesauce, ever, half of which is in the freezer for my resident Applesauce Junkie. The next few pounds were munched on, happily. A few pounds are on the table in a bowl, though I think Ramona Quimby must have snuck in because I keep noticing single, tiny bites taken out of each (because the first bite is the tastiest). Next, well, this happened. And once this happens, I think you’re going to be glad you have a bunch of pounds of apples left, because this is the kind of stuff that calls for a repeat performance.

slicing the apples real thin

Are you taking submissions for your new favorite dead simple fall dessert? I understand that competition in this arena is pretty fierce. I’ve already shared Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls this month, and I don’t expect you to throw them over so quickly in the Winning October Bellies and Minds race. If it helps, you can relegate them to the breakfast category. Of course, that still leaves the Simplest Apple Tart. But every five or so years, well, I think there should be a new simple apple tart in town, and I think it should be this one.

rolling out the puffed pastry
fitted into baking sheet
fanning out the apple slices
apple slices, all fanned and pretty
sprinkled and dotted, ready to bake
from the oven

This tart is, in essence, a French apple tart, a simple affair involving puffed pastry, thin slices of apples fanned this way and that before they are dotted with butter, sprinkled with sugar and baked in the oven until they solder together into an puddled-apple-butter-caramel fusion that is entirely greater than the sum of its parts. The only places I take issue with these tarts is in their linear approach to apples (I prefer, and consider it futile to resist, the stunning look and fanning pattern of Lady M’s Apple Tapestry Tart) and in the finishing step, where a little jam (usually apricot or something chosen for its light color, but never its flavor harmony with the fruit below it) is melted to form a glaze that is brushed over the tart after it finishes baking. Apricot jam has no place on my apples. Surely, I reasoned, there are other ways to melt sugar into a glaze, maybe even a deeply cooked, caramelized one with coppery burnt sugar notes and a bit of sea salt and maybe if you let it bake into the apples for a few final minutes in the oven something really wonderful would happen and…

i like it when the sugar rumples
copper salted caramel, like a penny!
brushing the baked tart, gently

The result is a mosaic of fall apple bliss. Here’s where I’m supposed to say “You won’t believe how good just puffed pastry, apples, butter, sugar and salt can taste together,” but friends, I think you would believe me, that you do, you get it. And that is exactly why you have to make this this weekend.

apple mosaic tart with salted caramel
apple mosaic tart with salted caramel
apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

Two years ago: Cauiliflower and Parmesan Cake
Three years ago: Apple Cider Doughnuts
Four years ago: Meatballs and Spaghetti and Molly’s Apple Tarte Tatin
Five years ago: Pumpkin Bread Pudding
Six years ago: Wild Mushroom Galette

Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel

Puffed pastry is a wonderful thing to keep around in your freezer. It comes at all price points, but I do think that the best ones contain only butter, not shortening. DuFour is my favorite brand; it is an investment that you will be able to taste in every bite and this is the kind of tart where you’ll really be able to tell. If you buy some for this recipe, buy two. You’ll thank me next week, when you need to make it again.

Be ye not intimidated by homemade caramel. I promise, it can be so simple. You don’t need water, corn syrup, a pastry brush or exclamation point-ed nerve-wracking admonitions to not stir. You just put some sugar in an empty saucepan, turn the heat up and wait a few minutes. It will melt; it always does.

Note: The caramel glaze is not like a caramel sauce you would put on ice cream. Those will have more cream in them, to keep them thin. I was going for a firmer one, soft only when melted, and with as clean of a color as possible (not muddied by extra cream). For a traditional salted caramel sauce, use this recipe. For a slightly thinner salted caramel syrup (amazing on pancakes or crepes), use this.

Serves 12 (It should be sliced like this earlier version, not the final one I hastily photographed here.)

Tart base
14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight
3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small bits

Salted caramel glaze
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Heat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Ideally you would use a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan, as I do here. A smaller pan will make a thicker tart (and you might need fewer apples). In a larger pan, you can still fit a 10×15-inch tart, which I think is the ideal size here.

Lightly flour your counter and lay out your pastry. Flour the top and gently roll it until it fits inside your baking sheet, and transfer it there. Try not to roll it any bigger than you’ll need it, or you’ll have to trim, which means you’ll have to sprinkle the trimmings with cinnamon-sugar and bake them into cookie-sized segments for snacks. And that would be terrible.

Peel the apples and cut them in half top-to-bottom. Remove the cores and stems (I like to use a melon baller and/or a pairing knife). Slice the apples halves crosswise as thinly as you can with a knife, or to about 1/16-inch thickness with a mandoline. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, fan the apples around the tart in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles — each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4-inch of the previous apple will be visible — until you reach the middle. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of sugar then dot with the first two tablespoons butter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are brown and the edges of the apples begin to take on some color. If you sliced your apples by hand and they were on the thicker side, you might need a little more baking time to cook them through. The apples should feel soft, but dry to the touch. If you puffed pastry bubbles dramatically in any place during the baking time, simply poke it with a knife or skewer so that it deflates. This is fun, I promise.

Meanwhile, about 20 minutes into the baking time, make your glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 3 minutes. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color, another minute or two. Off the heat, add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until you have a lovely, bronzed caramel syrup, just another minute, two, tops. Set aside until needed. You may need to briefly rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

After the tart has baked, transfer it to a cooling rack, but leave the oven on. Using very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan to mess up their design as little as possible, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze. You might have a little leftover. Whatever you do, do not spread it on a sliced apple for a snack. Trust me.

Return the apple tart to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let tart cool complete before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain, with coffee or tea, if you’re feeling grown-up or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, if you’re feeling particularly indulgent.

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453 comments on apple mosaic tart with salted caramel

  1. Last week the acupuncturist told me I should be eating an apple a day. I assured her that I bake apple cakes all the time. Clearly, that’s not what she meant. For the first time, like, ever, I actually have puff pastry in the house. And of course, apples from the CSA I’m supposed to have daily. Looks like a plan for this evening is falling into place. Also, hooray for Ramona Quimby references!

  2. Kristen E

    Dude, are you SERIOUS? I literally have two tart shells in the oven and a lemon sabayon in progress (well, the lemon juice has been squeezed and butter diced). Why oh why didn’t I check this site FIRST before I started baking? Next week. Oh yes, next week.

  3. angela

    You’re lucky. Here in Wisconsin we had an early warm spell, then a cold snap that decimated the apple crop. They are still selling them in the farmers’ market, but none of the farms had U-Pick this year. Such a bummer.

    I’m making your applesauce right now for my five month old’s first food! It smells delicious. I just made the roasted apple cake for a friend’s birthday, and now I’m wondering if I should make this tart as well – it’s beautiful.

  4. Pretty. While I’m not fond of American-style apple pie, a French apple tart is among my favorite desserts. Makes a terrific breakfast with a coffee, too. Dufour turns out stellar puff pastry, but if anyone can’t find it, check out White Toque, which also is made with butter. And then there’s Trader Joe’s puff pastry, which uses butter, but for some reason, it also contains a bit of sugar. Great for desserts, not so much for savory items. But Trader Joe’s is the most affordable. Stock up because it’s now a seasonal item. Who knew there was a puff pastry season?

  5. Laura

    I actually came to your site this morning because I went apple picking and bought too many apples! So thanks for this… it looks divine!

  6. Pam

    Deb, you are the apple queen, (and carmel godess) I make your apple granola bake all the time and if I happen to have some of your homemade carmel sauce in the fridge at the same time…well carmel isn’t just just for dessert any more. This looks fantastic!

  7. Catherine

    I wish this had been up yesterday. I went apple picking last weekend (15 pounds) and needed to bake something for Grandparent’s Day at my kids’ school. Oh well, more for me. Yum!

  8. Sara McH.

    Is the sentence before “Two Years Ago” supposed to end at “friends, you have”? Are we supposed to imagine you running off to eat more apple tart before finishing a sentence? Because that’s a ringing endorsement! :)

    This looks excellent. I love that you feature so many apple desserts that focus on the apple flavor, not drowning them in sugar. I’m looking forward to trying this!

    1. deb

      Last couple sentences — Whoops! All fixed now. Officially a first, guys. I was so eager to share this (before my son got home from preschool and all hope of finishing anything would be lost) that I posted it before I’d finished writing it. I will now turn in my food blogger credentials for reevaluation. :)

      Pastry brush — I have this one. Some people might remember that I have a strong aversion to silicon cooking products; I don’t like them. This (and a few scraper spatulas) is my exception. I kept losing bristles in my food — really gross to find later — plus I wanted a heatproof one. It doesn’t brush as smoothly as a paintbrush-type pastry brush, but I promise if you buy this, you will use it often. Oh, and it gets completely and totally clean, no smells. Real brushes never get that squeaky clean.

      Mandoline — I always vote for buying the cheapest one you can bear to use. Unwilling to make an investment of one, I bought this one 6 years ago and it’s all you will ever need (and all I have ever seen in restaurant kitchens).

  9. ah! romana quimby! everytime i take the first bite of the apple i think of that story. then i have a strong desire to make applesauce. beezus quimby, you’re so clever.

  10. Helena

    Looks great – and I usually feel that dessert with fruit in it is a waste of calories better spent on chocolate. What kind of apples do you recommend?

  11. Absolutely beautiful. You’ve layered the apples so delicately. So pretty! Thank you for sharing. I’m going to make a 2 apple version – I have exactly 2 apples in the fridge that need eating up! :)

  12. Morgan

    Oh my goodness, this looks incredible! I made puff pastry for the first time a few weeks ago, and I’ve been looking for an excuse to make more. I think I’ve found it. Thank you for sharing this. I think I’m going to make it tomorrow.

  13. Kira

    “…with the salted caramel glaze. You might have a little leftover. Whatever you do, do not spread it on a sliced apple for a snack. Trust me.”

    Is that because it’s one of the best ways you’ve ever had caramel with an apple and once you do it you can’t stop? Or is it because it’s so delicious but unhealthy so you don’t want to start getting into a bad habit if you are trying to watch your caloric intake? Or does it just ruin you for other caramel/apple combos? Or is there another, not delicious reason for not pairing the caramel with the apple? Just had to ask as I am most likely making this over the weekend (having the same apple picking problem – there are just so, SO many apples…) and wanting to know why I, and mainly my boyfriend, should avoid doing this. :)

    Love everything on your site and thank you for not only having fantastic recipes but for also having so many apple recipes (I’ve already made the apple pie cookies, which I may have to make more to my “figure’s” detriment, and the apple pancakes) for this time of year! I cannot wait for your cookbook!

    1. deb

      Kira — It is because I did it. I had some leftover from last week’s audition of this recipe and went into the fridge looking for almond butter to spread on my apple and ran into the caramel first and ruined my life. Okay, I’m being melodramatic. But I wish I never knew how evil and delicious they are together.

      Molly — Pshah. She totally meant an apple tart with salted caramel. FOUR APPLES you could fit in here. But then you’d have to make it last four days.

  14. Deb the layers and swirls of apples are truly apple artwork! It’s just absolutely gorgeous. I could get dizzy (in the best way!) looking at all those swirls and whirls of apples. And salted caramel or caramel anything is the best. I bet the pairing of it with this dessert is just perfection!

  15. Ina has a French apple tart. I made one three (!) years ago for our housewarming. I promptly ate half of it.

    I found apple jelly for the glaze, which worked fine, but caramel? Makes so much more sense.

  16. SO glad to see this here today! Saw the photos on Flickr last night and it looked so amazing, I was hoping I wouldn’t have to wait long for the recipe. Looks amazing, can’t wait to make it.

  17. Alexa

    I don’t have a mandoline or wicked knife skills, but I do have an apple peeler/corer/slicer. The slices end up somewhere between 1/8-1/4 inch thick. Do you think that would be acceptable here, or too clunky?

    1. deb

      Alexa and others that might end up with thicker apple slices — I might not overalp the apples as much (and technically, with fewer apple slices, you won’t be able to) to ensure they bake at about the same time. It’s fine to leave them in longer, too. I think in Ina’s French Apple Tart recipe, she calls for 1/4-inch slices and the tart bakes for 45 minutes to an hour.

      liz — I talk about my favorite brand in the recipe’s headnotes. You can find frozen puffed pastry in the freezer section (usually with pies and other ready-to-bake desserts) of most grocery stores. Check the ingredients; look for one with only butter, not shortening. But even if you can’t find a perfect one, still make this. It will transcend its ingredients, as all good recipes should.

      As for the slices, I mentioned that I used a mandoline. It makes everyone look like a pro.

  18. This looks so yummy! Apple tart is my absolute favorite Fall dessert and you’re right, every five or so years a new version of this classic in needed! That’s why I can’t wait to try yours out , I have a feeling it will become my go-to recipe for the next 5 years ;D

    Happy weekend, dear!
    xo, Elisa

  19. liz

    two questions: any recommendations of where to get good puff pastry, or a brand that is good?

    And also, how do you get your apple slices so thin and perfect looking?

    This looks AMAZING.

  20. Jessica

    Just told my advisor that I would be taking Nov 1st off because I had to spend all day cooking through the Smitten Kitchen Cookbook. Can’t wait!!!

  21. Sarah R

    Gah! Mind reader! I have oodles and oodles of apples to use up – thanks for adding another recipe to my arsenal! This looks pretty fantastic!

  22. Annie

    is the heavy cream a must for the glaze? Or would some other milk-type substance (like almond milk?) work? Sour cream? Plain yogurt?

    1. deb

      Allison — Yes, of course.

      Annie — Sour cream and yogurt will curdle when heated. Creme fraiche might work.

      Candice — Ha! Thanks. I actually did that twice in the post, according to my word search!

  23. Candice

    My five-year-old self is giggling at a unfortunate typo in the first sentence of the fourth paragraph: “puffed pasty”. :)

    I’m not a huge fan of apple desserts (where’s the chocolate?) but you are a fabulous advertiser of your recipes and this one has my mouth watering! I hope to be tasting this soon.

  24. Bekki

    Fall perfection! Now I’m cogitating on how to arrange the apples to look like an owl so it fits in with our ladies’ fall party theme next Saturday. . .

  25. Amy

    I have made this style of apple tart a few times and often do mini ones with maple syrup drizzled over before baking if have scraps of puff pastry to use up. BUT, I have never thought to lay out the apple slices like this. Why, oh why? So simple snd so stunning! I will never do straight lines or circles again! this is so pretty. The caramel is such a great (if slightly evil…in a good way) idea too. I must make this. Usually we have loads of apples from our neighbour’s tree at this time of year but it hasn’t produced a single one this year. Not one! So I will just have to go buy some! Very odd concept for me mid-October! It is a shame you can’t chuck a few my way, from your big haul! The Atlantic kind of gets in the way! I really hope ‘my’ apple tree (AKA source of many a cake, crumble, tart, pie, tray of muffins…) has babies next year! Thank you for the delicious recipe snd equally delicious photos. BTW, do you ever make your own puff pastry? ‘Ruff puff’ is good but it is scary to see how much butter goes in there! Mmmmmm…..

  26. Allison C

    Amazing! I love caramel and apple pairings, but I’m not a fan of puff pasty (gasp!). Do you think I could use Ina Garten’s french tart base and then glaze with caramel or do you think the puff pasty really makes this?

  27. I have just this minute put a version of your simplest apple tart in the oven (liberally sprinkled with hazelnuts). How long is it proper to wait before making this one?

  28. Kieran

    This is more of a general question, but how would one make a simple caramel sauce, say, for pouring over ice cream? I tried one of your other versions and found it too buttery and not caramel-y enough. Could I just swap out the butter for more cream? Is it a weight-for-weight exchange? Thanks.

  29. Kate

    This looks amazing and I am so excited to try this soon, maybe when I have friends over next week.

    Any plans to add more locations to your book tour? I think those of us in Atlanta would love to see you here!!

  30. Annie

    We routinely buy boxes full of apples from our local orchard. This year we’re looking to make enough homemade applesauce to last the year, or most of it, so we don’t buy it from TJ’s any more. And we have a juicer, so we make quarts and quarts of cider to can for the year.

    Ina Garten’s apple crostata is fabulous; made that a couple of times to rave reviews.

    And apple chutney is a delicious way to use up a bunch of apples, too.

    We never have a problem around here. Just wish we had a weaner pig to feed all the peels and cores to this year. ;D

  31. My mother is going to freak out over this. Except for her I will need to add cinnamon because as much as she claims to love apple desserts best of all, I discovered that what she really loves are apple cinnamon desserts, preferably with a shot of the not-so-secret ingredient my grandma used to add (Jim Beam). Any Francophile would shudder at my blasphemous apple tarte tatin, but c’est la vie. As soon as I decide where to put the cinnamon and bourbon in the recipe I’m ready to go. (I know that I should make it as is the first time because I’m sure its amazing as is, but I’ll get yelled at. And no one should get yelled at for something that pretty.)

  32. Sascha

    Help! I went apple picking and I brought home FIFTY pounds of apples and I don’t know how to use them up! Our household of two thanks you mightily for such recipes.

  33. Julia

    How long do you think this will keep for? I really want to make it for a birthday party but I need something that can keep for bit. Thanks!

  34. I haven’t gone apple picking this past weekend, nor do I have plans to go this upcoming weekend, NOR do I have 20 pounds of apples in my kitchen, but I want to make this. I want to make this right now. Deb, this looks delicious, and beautiful!

  35. Tina

    If you can’t find DuFour pastry and don’t want to use Pepperidge Farm, this is the go-to recipe I use. It’s a snap with a food processor:

    2 c unbleached AP flour
    1 t salt
    2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter (20 T), very cold, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
    6 T ice water

    Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Put the bowl (including blade) into your freezer for 30 minutes.
    Scatter 4 T of butter over the flour mixture and pulse until just combined. Continue with the rest of butter. pulsing just until the butter is evenly distributed.
    Add ice water and pulse 3-4 times, just until the dough starts to come together. It should begin to form a rough ball; do not overprocess.
    Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and pat into a rough rectangle. Cut 2 pieces of plastic wrap, each approx 12×18 inches. Flour one piece and place the dough rectangle on it. Lightly flour the top of the dough and cover with the second piece of plastic wrap.
    Press the dough with a rolling pin to flatten it, then roll into a 12×18 inch rectangle. Peel off the top plastic wrap. Turn the dough over onto the work surface and peel off the second plastic wrap. With the long side facing you. fold the bottom third of the dough up and the top third of the dough down (like folding a letter), to form a 4×18 inch rectangle. Starting with one of the short sides, roll up the dough and press into a square. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Males 1 1/2 lbs of dough.
    The dough is now recipe-ready

  36. Jessica W

    Perfect timing. We are having people over tonight for dinner and I was going to make apple strudel, but forgot to buy a necessary ingredient. I actually got on the computer to look for another way to use my apples for tonight AND I happen to have thawed puff pastry in my fridge! Dinner is actually all German foods (including your pretzel rolls!) but no one will know this is a French tart.

  37. Dot

    Well Deb, we live in CT and just picked 100 lbs of various apples (been doin’ this for 27 years) at Lyman Orchards. Have superb Jonagolds that I will use to make this tart this weekend. Waiting for my cookbook. Picture finger tapping.

  38. Gorgeous! I had a tart that looked very similar at an upscale bar (it was the only food item on their menu) in Hiroshima, Japan. Mandoline definitely required. The salted caramel glaze makes your version even more appealing, though. What a perfect recipe for a fall dessert (or brunch)!

  39. That tart looks absolutely lovely!

    The Spring & Summer weather hurt our apple trees this year and they keep saying that the apple season is going to be shorter than usual. For some reason, I feel like I need to stop at the orchard to pick some apples up every time I pass, so that I don’t miss out on any before the season ends! I don’t have 20 lbs sitting around, but definitely too many for 2 people to eat. Applesauce, baked apples, slow cooker apple pie oatmeal and now this tart are what’s goin’ on in my kitchen these days :-)

  40. Lilly

    This is similar to a fabulous Apple Galette that appeared in an old Cook’s Illustrated, except they do use the apricot glaze (I’ve always left it off), and they use a homemade puff-pastry-like dough that involves shaping the crumbly dough into a square and sliding it in batches across the counter with the heel of your hand into a second square. Supposed to help make it flaky by mimicking the layers of butter that come in actual puff pastry. Maybe I’ll combine the two and add the caramel topping.

  41. linda

    How do you keep the apples from browning while peeling, coring and photographing? Mine seem to turn within minutes and I always end up dropping them into acidulated water. Yours are all so lovely and white!

    1. deb

      linda — I find that the grocery store apples brown really quickly but the ones from the farms (fresh picked), not so much! I’m sure there’s more to it, varieties and stuff. I made a version of this with Granny Smiths from the grocery store — they turned immediately brown.

  42. michellj

    I get so many apples in my csa im always at a loss. Ive been making homemade apple butter in my croc pot, which is exactly like making applesauce you just cook it longer, and I cant keep it in my house neighbors and coworkers steal it. Im making this tart though, it looks amazing.

  43. Cari

    For anyone who needs suggestions on what to do with too many apples, I use my apple peeler corer (I have the Pampered Chef variety) to process them, shake a little lemon juice over them, and then divide them into freezer bags in quantities of 4 or 8 cups, and freeze them until I need them. (My aunt does the same thing but will go as far as to put the rest of the ingredients for apple pie filling in the same bag as the apples so that she can just dump it into the pie crust when she’s making her pie.) They tend to be a little more watery when thawed than fresh apples which is usually not a problem when I’m making pie or apple crisp, but they will thin out things like muffin batter or pancake batter so you have to account for that.

  44. I want to go apple picking! It doesn’t happen around here. Sigh. Will have to settle for market apples.. although it isn’t the same to go and buy 15 pounds…

  45. Hooray! Such a pretty tart. This makes me ultra-jealous of all you guys who live where you can actually go pick apples. California is great for practically everything else–but not apples.

  46. jen c

    we picked 67 (that’s SIXTY-SEVEN) pounds of apples a couple of weeks ago. plus we have been getting a 1/2 peck EVERY WEEK in the CSA box since about the 3rd week of August. we’re a little apple demented here, that’s for sure. having already done apple jam & lots of apple/pearsauce, my new project for this year is to preserve some apple pie filling. yum.

  47. Pam

    Just an errant thought… but I thought I’d run it by you before making this in the next few days, because ooooooohhh yes, I will be making this in the next few days. Salt in the caramel glaze vs. salt sprinkled on the glaze after baking? For most of my salted caramel recipes, I tend to sprinkle the salt after so you get some salt crunch. I’m just curious if you think that would be a good idea, a bad idea, or not make a lick-the-spoon of difference.

  48. Julie L.

    Would it be advisable to change this in any way if I used PEARS? (A bumper crop from the beautiful Costco orchard….) Pears can be similar in taste to apples and I really wanna do it for company this weekend, but then again, maybe they’re too sweet for this delicious caramel pairing? Seems like cooked pears often show up with wine, cheese, and other more savory companions….Hmm.

  49. Kristin

    Deb, I must first say that I’ve been following your site for years and I love absolutely everything you post! I can’t wait to pick up your new cookbook! My sister loves apples and would love this recipe, I’m sure, but she can’t eat gluten. Do you know of a good gluten-free puffed pastry dough or do you have any suggestions for making one? Thanks!

  50. brandon

    I’m loving the recipe and the site, but wanted to share that if you’re able to edit existing posts, there is a typo in the recipe section:

    Tart base
    14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight
    3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 **** punds) ****

    Sorry for being so anal..

  51. Sue T.

    I agree 100% about the silicone brush. It is wonderful to be able to get it completely clean after use – no old yucky melted butter stuck between the hairs.

    And thanks for posting about the mandoline. My eye went to it immediately and I said, “Where? Where?” It’s now on the top level of my Amazon wish list.

  52. june2

    Dehydrated apple slices are SO DELICIOUS! I recommend that. You can do them in a gas oven with a pilot light – not too sure about electric but might be able to on the lowest setting if you keep an eye on them. If you’ve got a garage or spare room, it’s worth the price of an inexpensive dehydrator just to do apples – can do apple fruit leather too, for totally healthy kid candy.

    Frozen apple juice is so good. I’ll bet apple syrup would be delicious, if you reduced the juice and bottled it, yum. Also, a restaurant I used to go to for brunch was famous for their baked apples in honey-glazed puffed pastry – with semisweet chocolate in the core. SO GOOD. And that’s it for my apple idea bank. Oh yeah, apple sorbet. Yum.

  53. Stacey

    In the event I want to impress my mother-in-law by making this on Thanksgiving Day, would it be possible to make at least part of it a day in advance?

  54. My oh my! I would love to have the problem of having too many apples! Everything you have done with them thus far sounds delicious, but this literally takes the cake. Looks like such a mouth watering tart!

  55. Cheryl

    It looks beautiful and delicious. Entirely too complicated and way too much work for me. I do admire your skill in taking on such a challenge. I will have my slice when I see it in a restaurant or pastry shop! :-)

  56. Sabina

    Not sure if this was a mistake by Indigo Canada, but I just got your cookbook in the mail today! I am so, so thrilled and have thrown my weekend plans out the window to begin cooking and baking my way through it. I cannot wait to greet you in Toronto, Deb!

  57. CC

    Amazing, making for dinner party next weekend …. but … Vanilla ice cream? I think not … this just screams for Dulce de Leche ice cream … but of course I am a Miami girl.

  58. This looks perfect! One question – will homemade puff pastry work just as well – Because it’s not commercially available where I stay, and I haven’t made a lot of puff pastry at home – but it should work?

  59. This is such a beautiful looking dessert that it’s almost a shame to cut it up! Love the addition of salted caramel too. I’m in the same apple boat. Perhaps we can just go to orchards, have the experience of picking the apples but then leave most of them there? Ha!

  60. Marcia

    WHAT? You ONLY picked 15 pounds? What restraint! ….and do I see Mutsus? The worlds best apple for tarts. I almost think I know it’s provenance, but perhaps I presume too much. Enjoy these days , because some time in middle school they tell you that “we aren’t your little harvest elves anymore.” and it breaks your heart.. then several years later they are already nostalgic for the hayrides and apples amd pumpkins. don’t know what to do this weekend ..was ready to make your Mom’s apple cake…but now ..??? so many apples so many choices.. Harvest Cheer.. see you on the 30 th!!

  61. Maressa

    I’ve just finished making you brownies, orange chocolate chunk cake AND your chicken pot pie, and you post this beauty of a tart? For which I now have all of the correct ingredients based on the above baking/cooking?? You’re killing me woman!!! =)

  62. Thanks for this… it is similar to a recipe I used to have, but lost. I can’t wait to make this one! I love following your blog… I am living in Tanzania, Africa at the moment and can’t make everything you post, due to lack of ingredients, but I can certainly drool and dream. :)

  63. Patricia

    OMG!!! I told myself that there would be no more baked treats until Thanksgiving. So, I bought a bunch of nice crispy tart apples to eat out of hand. Well, so much for that and where did I put the mandoline.

  64. I made a French apple tart at a private cooking class I took back in march in Arles, France. We used olive oil instead if butter. According to the chef southern France use fruit (olive oil) with fruits. I’m posting my recipe in a few weeks. Puffed pastry went on top and after it was baked the pan was flipped over on top of serving dish to reveal a beautiful rustic tart. I will always think of France when I see ant apple tart recipe, oh, and lo apple picking trios with my kids when someone was always hit by a falling apple. Love those apples

  65. Caroline

    Gah! I wish I could complain about having TOO many apples, but Michigan’s crop completely got wiped out this year :/
    Tart looks amazing though, I may have to cough up money for the out of state apples we’ve been getting to give it a try! :)

  66. Sara S.

    LOVE it! Looks super-fancy but is oh so simple, might be making tonight or tomorrow!

    What types of apples would you use? Gala, fuji, jazz or grannysmiths? Or something else?

  67. Beautiful! Forgive me if this question has already been addressed but I scanned the comments and didn’t see it anywhere. How do you keep the apples from turning brown while you’re slicing and laying them out? And I echo the question about type of apple used. Thank you!

  68. I am the person you describe. I ended up with $80 worth of apples. Way to many for my husband and I especially since he is allergic to them! I have them away last year, baked with them, made apple sauce. I was an apple fanatic! I think its the cooler weather and the fact that you are out there surrounded in fields like a farmer! And we women are gatherers! Oh will, let the baking begin. This recipe looks scrumptious and so perfect for a party!

  69. Allysa

    Yummy! I think we will have this for dinner tonight….maybe with a salad too! Gotta keep it a little healthy.
    My daughters and I read the Ramon books this summer. When I said I was reading a blog about apples with bites, my way-too-big 6 year old instantly said, “That is Ramon!”
    I loved your article in Martha last month. I too baked and baked when I was preggers! Thanks!

  70. Carolyn

    My copy of Smitten Kitchen arrived this week and I finally had time to make something today…. The cabbage and dill salad is waiting for lunch! This cookbook is everything I hoped it would be!

  71. Nan

    Last week I made the Simplest Apple Tart, it fairly flew off the plate! And now you’re offering up yet another version…no wonder I love you! I’m going to visit my parents and I had planned on making the Simplest Tart for them…now I’ll make this one, they will be so impressed!

  72. Suzanne Barker

    ? Pepperidge Farm puff pastry comes with 2 rolled up pieces of puff pastry. Do I use one of the rolled pieces of pastry or both?

    1. deb

      Hi Suzanne — What’s the total weight? If close to 14 ounces, I’d use them both (you can put them atop each other and roll it larger). Or, you could use one, but it will be on the thinner side.

      Sabine — Not overstepping! Love it when others step up to help. I personally don’t care for this with ice cream (I feel it clutters the taste of apples and caramel and butter and YES) but I know that for many people, it’s the best way to eat it.

      Sara S. — Whatever you’ve got. This tart is forgiving. I lean towards Granny Smiths and Golden Delicious for baking pies due to their lower moisture contents, but here, it will not matter.

      Laura C. — You have MADE MY DAY with that image. True story: I used this image of Ramona on the flyers for my short-lived college radio station show. I called it “A Great Big Noisy Fuss.”

      Brandon — Thanks!

      Julie — I think pears would be delicious. This tart is only lightly sweet so sweetness will not be an issue.

      Eileen — But you get pea shoots in January. :)

  73. Someone mentioned that the ice cream was missing. Sacrilege on French apple tart. Totally overstepping here, but hated to think Suzanne was waiting to bake this fantastic tart without knowing about the puff pastry. I’d use one of the two pieces.

  74. Say this Friday, made it Saturday. It’s almost done baking, kitchen smells freaking awesome. This all should come as no surprise though, the reason I’m writing is because number 1, thank you for making it so easy, I mean idiot easy! And number 2, I can’t believe you were right about the caramel, when I saw that I thought, ‘crap, well, there goes that.’ but when you said I could do it, I believed you, AND YOU WERE RIGHT!! Not only is it one of the best looking dishes I’ve ever produced, but I’m sure it will taste better than anything I’ve ever eaten!! Thank you!!!!

  75. Carrie

    I was looking for a easy dessert for company tonight. I saw this recipe and said “YES!”. It just came out of the oven and I can not wait for my dinner guests to get here. I will try to resist. It’s the first time I have made caramel, thank you!

  76. Sarahb1313

    Oh Em Gee.
    So, are putting these recipes up to just encourage pre ordering of your cookbook? Well, let me tell you- it will not work…. ’cause I already did.

    Let me tell you what I love about this recipe, because I think this is key:
    1. There are very few ingredients.
    2. It is uncomplicated.
    3. It is beautiful without being labor intensive.
    4. It is delicious.
    5. Anytime there is an excuse to use for salted caramel, that’s a big plus!

    I also love apple recipes that are not apple pie. Not that I don’t like apple pie… well, I actually often don’t because they are usually over sweetened. And I don’t have to make my own dough, which makes it fast, fast, fast!


  77. Elizabeth

    Oh, divine! I was tempted to make a similar recipe from a certain well-known contessa, but I just couldn’t use jelly as a glaze. I think it was against my tart morals.

  78. nancy

    your tart is sooo gorgeous, wish my first sighting of it was before you cut it for serving. not that i wouldn’t love to reach in and a piece while it was still warm.

  79. Sara S.

    FYI- I just bought Trader Joe’s Artisan Puff Pastry and it’s made with all butter- no shortening. Just in case anyone was looking for that other brand and couldn’t find it. Should let you know how it works in a few hours!

  80. Amy N.

    God,it looks great like the rest of your receipes are, but i live in Romania and as i don’t have money, i’ll kindly ask my mom to bake it for us, whenever she’ll be able to. In the meantime, please also give us less costly receipes, good luck!

  81. I went apple picking and ended up with 20 lbs of apples, shocker. I made applesauce and used it as the base of a tart. Than I realized that making the tart took me 3 hours. This would have been way more efficent, amd delicious with caramel sauce.

  82. Renee

    Ooooh, looks delicious and so easy. How about adding a little almond paste on the pastry before the apples? That might be good too. I’m going to try this for my next book club meeting. Thanks!

  83. Amy

    I agree about not spending big money on a mandoline. I have one I bought for $5.95 10 years ago and I’m just now thinking, after putting my apple tart into the oven 10 minutes ago, that the blade is getting a little dull. I have gotten my money’s worth. I can’t wait to finish the apple tart. I had to use 5 and 1/2 medium honey crisps. Oh well, had to eat a half an apple!

  84. Do you have other recommendations for corer /peeler equipment? I have a New England clamp style gadget that worked great once -upon -a -time til it became old & bent from use. The replacement model was from some in -home sales coookware crap my mother-in-law purchased and it fell apart first use. Peeling & coding by hand is a last resort if I can avoid it.

  85. Gina E

    Mine just came out of the oven, Deb, and it looks delicious! Thanks for the recipe! I’m looking forward to meeting you in Lake Zurich, IL during your whirlwind tour–I already have my spot reserved!

  86. Out comment is we went apple picking and got 60 pounds (three times this fall).

    I have made tons of great apple treats for the kids, several from your site, thanks!

  87. Looks fantastic. I may be making this tomorrow, as I have pounds of apples to go through! In my defense, they are growing on a single tree in my backyard that decided to hit high gear in the production department this year.

  88. Wren

    I promptly made this tonight for a party where it was a huge hit. People went nuts for it.

    I used a mixture of Fuji and Granny Smith apples, a regular half sheet pan and Pepperidge Farms puff pastry (shhhh – don’t tell). I used 1 & 2/3 sheets of the puff pastry and rolled it fairly thin to fit the pan. I got compliments on my delicious pastry crust (ha!) I was worried about the crust shrinking too much so I patted it up the sides of the pan. Not to worry though, crust didn’t seem to shrink at all.

    The caramel sauce was perfection. I’ve made both of the other ones on this site – and thought this one was the best of them all. Great sauce on the tart, also delicious on ice cream or whatever else. Very nice – not-too-thin-or-think texture. Great recipe.

    Also – am waiting VERY impatiently for my cookbook to arrive. I keep trying not to peek at the Amazon inside preview so I don’t spoil my fun, but the wait is killing me!

  89. Sara S.

    So we- my husband and I- two people- TWO- just ate half of it. I’m forcing myself to give my mother-in-law some tomorrow. That was just absolutely ridiculous. Thank you.

    I used gala apples which was wonderful but my slices didn’t really look like your even though I used my mandoline- for the first time ever. And yes, I did cut myself- those things are crazy sharp!
    I also managed to slighlty burn my caramel sauce- you thought you idiot-proofed this, didn’t you?- but it was still amazing.

    When I got home from the market I was supposed to scratch off apples and puff pastry but I think I’ll just keep making this until the scale tells me I can’t.
    Soooooooooooo tasty!

  90. Em

    Thank you for yet another gorgeous recipe!

    Trader Joe’s has a very nice Artisan Puff Pastry (all butter, no shortening — much better than PF and more reasonably priced than DuFour) that I plan to use for this recipe. If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend it. If you find you like it, beware that for TJ, puff pastry is a seasonal food only available in the fall/holiday season. I learned the hard way when I wanted some to make savory tarts with the summer squash and tomatoes in those unseasonal months of June-August.

    Anyhow, the 16 oz package of Artisanal Puff Pastry has two 8″ (maybe 9″) square sheets. When you say above that you suggest “you can put them atop each other and roll it larger” for the PF dough, do you mean that you would simply stack the two sheets one entirely covering the other, for one ~ 8″ square to then be rolled out to a larger size? Or would you recommend overlapping them a tiny bit along one side, with minimal rolling to achieve something like a 10″ by 15″ size? I think I may be answering my own question here, but would love to know what you suggest!

  91. shalini

    I am sorry if this is a repeat question.. but is your signed book available for pre-order? where?

    I am making your apple cake( Jacob’s birthday) cake for my 5th anniversary.. thank you for all your lovely recipes.

    1. deb

      Hi shalini — The book is available for preorder through all of the online stores listed on this page. Signed copies can be ordered through only one store, McNally-Jackson. If you’d like the book to ship signed when it is released, you must get your order in quickly. Details over here.

      AJC — I used a mix of apples. Use anything you like to bake with, or anything you have around.

      Em — I meant right on top of one another and then rolled out larger. I imagined they’d be hard to seam together otherwise, that you’d have a line (if only overlapped a little) that puffed much higher than the rest of the dough.

      California Girl — I just use a vegetable peeler and a melon baller. I know that many SK readers are fond of those peeling/coring/slicing gadgets so I am loath to admit this but I bought one and intensely disliked it. I could only get my apples on straight enough for it to take out the whole core and those “toenail bits” (ha! a term I learned from an earlier commenter here) 50% of the time. So, it was absolutely not worth the trouble to me.

      Amy N. — Costly is relative. I don’t doubt that you pay more for ingredients than we do, but here, apples and sugar are quite cheap, butter can be inexpensive and even puffed pastry can be gotten for cheap. So, here, this is an inexpensive recipe.

  92. Jenny S.

    Get yourself an apple lathe! It peels, cores, and slices apples (but not as paper thin your mandoline). My son loved to use it when he was little to help me make apple pies, and now at age 15, it is “his job” during the holidays. I, too love your blog, your recipes, and your terrific sense of humor. It’s a joy to read.

  93. lw

    Such a lovely tart. Very refined looking and I bet it tastes as good too! One thing about tart is that, they can be too much, with all the pastry shell and that is why I always think French puff pastry tarts win sometimes.

  94. Ilona

    It was absolutely delicious! The combination of apples and caramel is amaizing!
    We had it with vanilla icecreame and had to have a second helping :)
    Will be making this wonderfull tart again soon.
    PS Could you give measurements in metric as well :)
    Thank you!

  95. Haven’t baked in ages! I have been following for a while and each time it brings back fond memories. I especially like in this the reference to the tiny bites! I did that as a kid many years ago. Bit everone once over aperiod of 20 minutes. No one knew ’til the next day. I had replaced each one bite side down!
    Love your photography too. Ahh!

  96. Carrie

    I’m thinking of making this as a Thanksgiving dessert– do you think I could make it the day before and then reheat? My tiny city oven will be crowded with turkey etc on the day of! Any suggestions would be welcome. Thanks!

  97. Nicole

    I too have a resident applesauce junkie – and he’s now 13. Just the other day he asked, “Why is there no applesauce, I mean, it is apple season!” I didn’t realize that adolescent boys knew about things other than video games, the artful distribution of clean and dirty laundry on the floor and occasionally making their mother crazy!! This will make up for my applesauce-slacker behavior!

  98. Patty

    Hi Deb – Just made it but had caramel issues. It gave my SO much trouble. Cooked as indicated (I even think I have same pot you used in picture) and after 7 (yes, seven) minutes, still not melted. Finally got to the proper point and took off heat for salt and butter. My butter would not combine. Put back on very low heat and after several minutes it was as close as it looked like it would get. Added cream and it seized..hard ball of caramel. Went back to stove and forced it (maybe mental telepathy) to smooth out. It did! Have made caramel before and cannot figure what issue was. Nonetheless, fabulous tart. Used Trader Joe’s puff pastry so had a bit to trim once rolled but worked great. Peeled too many apples so threw in cake pan in oven with tart..tablespoon of sugar and butter, nutmeg and cinnamon…put extra caramel glaze on – fantastic little snack. Thanks for another great one!

  99. Liz

    Just made this while visiting my brother and his wife and their two girls. Perfect, simple, delicious and reasonably quick.
    We used pepperidge farm puff pastry (1/2 a box) and it was thin but very elegant. The caramel was a lovely touch and hopefully I’ll get up a quick post about this recipe on my blog soon.
    This will probably make it into my regular rotation, since it is easy to make and not ingredient heavy!

  100. Brenda Savage

    Wow! I just made this and it is absolutely fantastic! Love, love, love it! Thank you so much for the recipe. And p.s. I really enjoy your blog!

  101. Leigh

    This recipe reminds me of a Breton dessert called Kouign-amann. It has layers of sugar, butter and dough, and is slowly baked so that the sugar caramelizes. They make a delightful version at a bakery of the same name, in Montreal.

  102. Kathryn

    I found the caramel to be the hardest part. Both times I made it (I made it twice), the sugar clumped and I only ended up with about half a batch of liquid caramel and 1/2 a batch of hard clump. Not sure what I did. I used cheap sugar – I suspect that’s the culprit. That said, it still turned out delicious. I refuse to pay 7 bucks for puff pastry. I used Heidi’s (101 Cookbooks) rye pie crust recipe – rolled a double crust out really thin the entire length of a large cookie sheet. Turned out incredibly well. It is labor intensive, but worth it.

  103. Well, I just made the pumpkin cinnamon rolls (well, half, the other half is in the freezer waiting for later in the weekend), and now I want to make this instead/in addition to.

    Too many things to make!

  104. Marsha

    I just pre-ordered your book and can’t wait for it to arrive.
    Will this recipe be in the book?
    Congratulations and much success on the book tour!
    Marsha, Fullerton, Ca.

  105. Nia

    I made this today and it was excellent. I think I’ll double the caramel next time I sliced my apples by hand, and they were tart, so I think a little extra caramel (also for snacking) would have made mine more indulgent. Really an excellent tart.

  106. Rachel

    I made it yesterday and it was really delicious! I used square pre rolled puff pastry which made life easier. I used my mandolin for the first time and my fingers are shredded! I’m about to order your cookbook – hopefully it won’t cost a fortune to send to Australia! Thanks again for a fab fool proof recipe.

  107. Liz

    I just made a version of this in a tart pan with thawed scraps of leftover homemade rough puff pastry (probably mixed with pie crust scraps), a combination of pears needing to be used and apples from a tree down the street, and homemade caramel sauce I already had in my fridge, thinned with butter on top of the hot oven. Cheap, easy, and delicious! Thanks for giving us a very nice caramel-apple alternative to the tart tartin, which has been feeling over-the-top to me lately.

  108. Mindy

    I made this today for small meeting we were having tonight. Let’s just say that the two people who missed should be super disappointed. This was fabulous! Some thoughts to share…..
    I used the TJ’s pastry and used all of both sheets ( I was going to do less, but decided I didn’t want to deal with the leftovers). I had a tiny bit thicker crust on one edge where I got uneven and pushed it up the edge of the pan some, but it was really all fine. I overlapped the pieces in the pan and used a small roller I have to press out the lump. I would say just use both sheets and not worry about it.
    On apple browning… Mine started to brown when I peeled them, but actually looked whiter again after the first baking. Since you are adding caramel anyway, I wouldn’t worry about the color. I think the lemon juice would mess up the flavor.
    On peeling/slicing… I have an apple/peeler/corer thing which I find mostly useless, for the same reasons you listed, but I don’t have a mandoline, and couldn’t think of another way to get such nice slices, so I used it. I didn’t have to bake much longer for the thicker slices. I think my first bake was 34min and my second bake was 7 min.
    On cream alternatives… I realized I was out of cream ( a rarity around here, but we had just finished it this morning), but had an open container of coconut milk ( the nice thick canned stuff), so used that in my caramel sauce and it was great. Didn’t taste coconutty at all.
    On the lack of cinnamon… Had I thought about it not being there, I might have added it because I tend to think apples always need cinnamon, but it was fabulous without it and I had a guest who hates cinnamon, so it was a bonus for her.
    On apples in California… I went picking with my kids yesterday, so they do exist!
    As I have 70 more lbs of apples or so in my house, I will be making this again!
    I can’t wait for my cookbook to arrive this week and hopefully see you in Santa Cruz. Thank you!

  109. Amy

    I’m participating in the Tuesdays With Dorie (Baking with Julia) cook-through, and when we get to puff pastry, I am TOTALLY doing this. It looks delicious, even if I have to use store bought apples…because florida isn’t an apple growing state :(

  110. lee

    This looks delicious – delicious enough that, even though the only apples I have on hand are the Honeycrisps that I cannot fathom cooking with (because they’re oh-so-delightful plain), I may have to go buy some others to make this tart with.

    Thanks for sharing another yummy recipe – and including the helpful hints throughout, warning of what might happen if there are leftover pastry bits or caramel sauce. =)

  111. I just *knew* I was saving that box of puff pastry in my freezer for something special like this. (And I used Pepperidge Farm, no shame here, I’ve never tried a fancy kind so I suppose I just don’t yet know what I’m missing.) It was intensely delicious, thank you so much for the rainy weekend inspiration! I served it with vanilla Talenti gelato, which was indeed a little too much — I opted to just eat the cake like a slice of pizza and dip it in the melted bits of the gelato. And now that I’ve made salted caramel once I’m a little afraid I might make it again, it’s just too blasted simple…

  112. Liza

    I made this tart recently and it was very well received- but I did have caramel issues. I found that even while very hot it globbed onto the applies and was far too thick. I peeled off the thick bits when it dried up a bit and was left with a wet(ish) but extremely delicious and beautiful tart. I think I may add more cream to the caramel next time.

  113. Jen

    Just made this last night using the Trader Joe’s frozen puffed pastry. I just used one 9″ square of the pastry and did not roll it. Aside from needing fewer apples, I followed all of your timing directions exactly. The tart came out perfectly, and it was incredibly delicious. And so easy! This is a keeper. Thanks!

  114. Sadly, this is the first Smitten Kitchen recipe (out of about 25 I’ve made) that I have ever had major problems with.

    During baking, I noticed lots of liquid pooling in my sheet pan. I could not pour it off. Maybe the apples were too juicy? So, the dough was really limp and soggy, except for on the corners. Maybe I should have baked longer for the liquid to burn off, but then I was afraid it would start charring and smoking.

    Then, the apples kept scooting around when I tried to brush them with the caramel – even with the lightest touch. Thankfully, drizzling the caramel was a successful alternative. I’d recommend the drizzling method to anyone. The apples continued to slide terribly when I cut the tart.

    Still, I have another sheet of pastry and shall try again! I’m thinking fewer apples and more caramel sauce!

  115. Jacqueline

    November/December 2012 Cook’s Illustrated page 2 talks about preping apples in advance and states: “If you are going to prep apples, it’s fine to prep them a day or two in advance”. “It turns out that as the apple’s cell walls rupture during baking, acids are released that partially break down the brown pigments, resulting in a lighter color”. In other words, although the apples turn brown when you cut them, they turn lighter again after baking. Who knew?

  116. Iqbal

    Which variety of apples should I use in this recipe? Currently, I’m in love with Honeycrisp apples, but don’t know how they would be baked. I like the taste of Granny Smiths, but they brown too easily. Should I go for cheap, say Fuji or Gala? Or get a bit high-end, i.e. Honeycrisp?

  117. Kelly

    I’ve been wondering what to do with a bunch of Granny Smiths I brought home from a fall festival that happened at my work. I made this today and I just unashamedly ate two big fat warm slices of it…it’s delicious!!!!

  118. Deb,
    I too can relate to over picking… We picked well over 30 pounds of apples. I made an upside down carmel apple cake and the most delicious apple pie filling that you can freeze (soon to post). I love just knowing that come February or March, I will be able to pull out a bag, thaw and place in a crust and have a delicious pie! Oh, and we made applesauce too. Eating our way to through the rest..Looking forward to your book coming. Congratulations!!! Sonya

  119. Julia

    I had 25lbs of apples picked and was also looking for recipes. This was fabulous! We used Blushing Gold apples which were perfect for this. The only thing I changed was to use Earths Balance sticks instead of real butter as my 10 year old is allergic. The tarts came out beautiful and flavorful. Thanks for another wonderful recipe – your site never disappoints!

  120. Kaylea

    My GOODNESS you get a lot of comments… and VERY quickly, haha. I just love your blog, I’ve attempted to find similar ones and failed miserably when I compare any of them back to yours… the “Surprise Me” feature, the photographs, the personality behind your posts, and, most importantly, the ease of your recipes. My question is one you’ve probably been asked a thousand times before, but here is a thousand and one: Where/How did you learn to cook? I love cooking and I love good food so I’m trying desperately to start creating some of my own recipes, but my one brick wall seems to be that I don’t know how to blend flavors correctly without someone else having already blended them for me… I can, of course, decide for myself what flavor I want more of once a recipe has been made, but I’m just wanting a little advice from someone who can create her own recipes how she does it; how she takes six individual ingredients and creates a FLAVOR out of them. Any advice?

  121. Hello Deb!

    I have a question about making this tart for Thanksgiving and I think someone may have asked this before. Is it okay to make the tart a few hours or overnight prior to serving? I wonder if I could make the apple tart itself and then make the caramel and reheat right before serving. Does that sound like a good idea? Won’t hurt the tart right (won’t make it soggy, or unawesome)? Thanks Deb!

  122. Jenn H

    Oh Deb. I went apple picking two weeks ago, and I’ve gone and spent the last two weekends baking various apple tarts, pies, breads, and your “apple thing”/sharlotka (which was delicious, by the way!). Just when I finally finish all of my apples, and start wondering if I should make the transition to pumpkins (your pumpkin cinnamon rolls got me craving pumpkin-y things), you post this! How’s a girl (with limited kitchen space) supposed to choose what to make next?!

  123. Deb this is lovely! The opening photograph is a piece of art itself.. We’ve had quite the bountiful year for apples in the PNW. I’ve been out working periodically in the Hood River Valley, where ida reds and roman and jonathan apples grow like I have never seen before. I’m so looking forward to trying this recipe out with my bushel of apples!

  124. Evie

    I went apple picking this weekend and brought back 1 bushel of apples, out of which I made almost 2 gallons of cider. That’s one answer! Now the question is, is there something this delicious that I can make out of all the squeezed out apple mush that’s the bi-product of the cider making process?

  125. Kat

    This kind of has to happen for Thanksgiving. I am weird – I hate both apple and pumpkin pies, so every year I try to find new ways to reinvent them. Your silky smooth pumpkin pie in a gingersnap crust does the trick (as does a pumpkin cheesecake) and this mosaic tart might be the perfect cute for the apple pie. I’ve been doing a crostata before, and even though you’re supposed to rejoice in the undone-ness of the crust and how rustic it looks, I always hate that I can’t get mine to look perfectly undone, if that makes any sense. This looks like it would play right into that unnecessary but ever present insistence I have to make every apple line up just perfectly (and then insist it took me no time at all).

    Thanks for sharing!

  126. Jenny Aja

    Hi! I made the tart but my caramel was really creamy and thick, it did not spread easily – should I try less cream next time? Thanks!

  127. this looks almost too good to eat! such a pretty presentation. i’m actually not a huge fan of fruit tarts (are there any tarts that are not fruit tarts?) but the fact that the apples are sliced thin makes a big difference to me. plus the puff pastry – can never go wrong with that. and then i also imagine it warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. yummm.

  128. sb

    How far ahead could you make this and have it be fabulous and not soggy? The morning of? Day before?

    You will laugh at the rest of this question, sorry to be one of those “I changed 10 things and it didn’t come out the same for some reason” people: for Thanksgiving I need to try a vegan dessert for a family member: Pepperidge farm PP is vegan (because full of non-butter items, I guess), and I might try making a drizzly glaze without adding cream or butter, any suggestions? My thought is to SLIGHTLY pre-cook the apples 2 minutes in the microwave to soften and release a little juice, then mix the juice with sugar (maybe brown sugar) and the salt and see if it melts.

    Or maybe the dreaded apricot glaze with a drop of calvados?

    1. deb

      sb — I can’t give much advice on veganizing this because I’ve never made caramel without butter or cream. But the tart should not get soggy. It’s just not wet enough.

      Jenny Aja — If it seemed too thick, did rewarming it help? If not, add another tablespoon of cream. You do want it to be on the thick side, though, because we want the caramel to be a glaze, not something that runs off the apples. If unevenly applied, the caramel will still even out in the oven.

      Karen — It can definitely be made in advance. There’s no need to rewarm it unless you want to serve it hot.

      Leslie — I don’t see why not.

      Marsha — No. The book was finished over a year ago and 85% of the recipes are not from the site. I wanted it to be a value for people who read the site!

  129. Akta

    I made this last night, and it was so good! The only differences from the recipe were a sprinkle of cinnamon and half and half in the caramel (worked just fine). It was so beautiful, tasty, and EASY! Thanks!

  130. i made this yesterday for my choir rehearsal, and as I carried into the room, I had 2 guys follow me in, and one of them declared his love for me! :) this is a great recipe, and it took me less than one hour. I live in Paris and the brand of puff pastry I used is La Herta and it’s called ” feuilletée” – just in case there are any fellow Paris-dwellers who might be confused like I was at Franprix. It was good texture wise and the taste was fine, but it isn’t all butter so it isnt like the ones Deb recommends. Still, it was delicious and I had the last piece for breakfast! also, I don’t have a pastry brush so I just drizzled with a spoon and it still looked lovely! thank you Deb!

  131. Lesley

    Tried with pears (because I had some left over) and it tasted great, but it was a little too wet and I think lacking the freshness of the apples. Will try again with apples later ^^.

  132. megan

    Deb, do you think that salted caramel sauce would work in between layers of a crepe cake that I’ll be making? I wanted to add a layer of flavor on top of the vanilla pastry creme? Thanks!

  133. Clojo

    I made this tonight and it was beauutiful :) so pretty. I am from Perth, Australia, and I have been reading your blog for over a year. Every post is always a joy so thank you for sharing! (I also have your recipe for buttermilk chicken drumsticks marinating in the fridge, can’t wait!) xxx

  134. I just baked it for my birthday’s mother (she’s in France, I’m in Toronto, but I will show her by webcam, and I have to eat it by myself, too bad! :p).
    It’s delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  135. Kelly

    This might sound sacrilegious, but I made a grain-free-dairy-free-refined sugar-free version of this tart over the weekend and it was delicious. Sure, it didn’t have the caramel glaze or the flaky crust (more like crumbly) but it was still completely worth the effort of peeling, coring and slicing the apples and LOOKED AMAZING! Instead of the puff pastry, I made an almond flour pie crust, and instead of the caramel glaze I heated some honey and cinnamon on the stove and brushed the apples with it. The apples I had were so sweet that they didn’t need the sugar even if I could have added it. Thank you for posting the recipe for this beautiful desssert!

  136. Emma

    Yum! I want to make this. What do you think about replacing the heavy cream with coconut milk? I’m lactose intolerant. I’m always looking for alternatives.

  137. Mert

    I’ve made this twice in one week. (One for me and second for friends.) I had some issues with the caramel also. I was so amazed that all I had to do was dump some sugar in a pan, since so many caramel recipes are more complicated. I don’t know a lot about making candy but I guess the hotter the caramel gets, the harder it dries. So that was my problem, I think. I reheated the batch I made the other day to get it to blend better (the sugar wasn’t totally dissolved and the butter was separating from the mixture) but I just made it thicker and now it’s basically a big (delicious) hard candy.

    I made crust from scratch. Got the recipe here: and it worked out really well.

    Thanks, Deb, for another great recipe!

  138. Laura

    I just pulled my tart out of the oven and its delicious! I had to whack my roommates with a spatula to keep them from eating the whole thing in 5 seconds :) Thank you so much for the recipe! And I can’t wait to meet you when you visit Philadelphia for your book tour. I’ve already pre-ordered the cook book for myself and my mom!

  139. K

    What’s the difference between premade puff pastry dufour and the DIY dough in your previous Alice waters apple thingy adaptation? That was pretty good…

    (I pre ordered your book… Can’t wait!! It’s making its way all the way to Singapore! :))

    1. deb

      K — That is a firm tart dough; the Dufour brand I mentioned makes a puffed pastry. One is closer to a pie dough; the latter is closer to a croissant.

  140. Annie

    Apple desserts are my very favorite, and an absolute must in the fall. I am planning to make this tonight for a dinner with some new friends. I find that I often try out new recipes when we have guests over, and when I choose one of yours I never have to worry about whether or not it will turn out, it always does!

  141. Barbara

    I was surprised that you didn’t suggest pre-baking the puff pastry for 5 minues or so. I know you were going for simple, but I wondered. Also wondered about no egg wash around the edges? Making this on Friday morning for a fancy pants luncheon. Thanks.

  142. Hi Deb, this was bomb. Usually when I make desserts for my apartment they sit around for at least three days. This ENTIRE tart was gone in under 24 hours. I made a fresh pecan whipped cream to go on top and it was perfection. Also, I doubled the salted caramel and now have been dipping everything I possibly can in it. YUM

  143. amanda

    Deb! What kind/brand of mandoline is that?? It looks both effective and plastic, and by plastic…I mean affordable. I just can’t spring for a $200 stainless steel model, but the plastic one I bought a while back turned out to be quite literally the worst piece of kitchen junk I had ever purchased…

  144. Jenny

    I didn’t have puff pastry around but I had a package of phyllo dough and it worked beautifully. My tart looks exactly like the gorgeous top photo and I couldn’t be happier. I found the caramel sauce to be extremely easy. I’m thrilled to have such an easy yet stunning dessert in my recipe box. Thank you!

  145. Laurie

    This recipe comes just in time to use the short season, but incredibly delicious Honey Crisp Apple … Oh yeah, bring on Saturday morning for baking and then Saturday night for sharing with friends! Deb, you have outdone yourself with simple, yet elegant tart…. Thanks!

  146. Tanya

    Did anyone have a problem with the glaze losing its sheen and turning into dull brown after a few hours? I made it with no difficulties; the tart looked amazing, exactly like Deb’s right out of the oven; tasted great. But this morning, the caramel looks like brown smears. Still delicious but not very appealing. Also, the texture of the caramel seems a little grainy today; yesterday it was fine.
    I used maple sugar for this, maybe that’s the problem. Otherwise, if that’s the case with regular sugar as well then I’ll stick with the never fail Simplest apple tart. Also, i found the expense of the store bought crust (Dafour) completely unnecessary. Any crust recipe form this site (Molly’s tarte tatin for instance) would have worked just as well, I think. My personal favourite crust is from “Jacques Pepin Celebrates:” the most tender, flaky, and at the same time sturdy crust ever.

  147. Hi Deb! Made this last night and WOW, this is seriously delicious and way easier than expected. Made it with a good friend of mine so we shared the jobs and it went by in a flash. Thank you so much for this wonderful recipe :)

  148. Deb! Wow, I made this tonight as the dessert complement to an autumnal butternut squash-cocoa-chicken chili, and I have to say that I couldn’t have scored better! Thank you so much for an imaginative recipe that uses the best of the season AND our pantry/freezer worlds. I used a mix of braeburn, russet and cox apples, and you can just taste the English autumn in every bite. My partner topped his off with a little helping of double cream, and I crushed some dark chocolate on top of mine for a super-devilish fix. Hope you are enjoying fall. Looking forward to making this many times over.

  149. Oh boy, the way you arrange the apples is breathtaking! I’m wondering if you’ve ever tried this with pears — would they be too juicy & risk ruining the consistency of the dough? Either way, I’m very tempted to make this as an indulgent thanksgiving breakfast treat, because if we’re going to indulge anyways, we might as well go for it with dessert for breakfast!

  150. Liz

    To veganize caramel use oil instead of butter and rice milk or soy milk instead of dairy. One of my kids can’t eat dairy products so I have done this.

    I own a Benriner Mandoline and have been using it about 6 years now. It is getting dull so I may replace it with another one. I laughed when i followed the link and found the same one I own.

  151. Deb

    Helped my 7yo granddaughter make this. Very quick, easy and impressive. It’s going onto my Thanksgiving menu. And (shockingly) it is better without ice cream.

  152. Amy

    I was the crazy mom with a full time job and 3 kids who bought 40lbs. of apples. My husband kept saying things under his breath as we walked from the orchard to the car he carried the 40lbs and my 3 year old was pulling down on his other arm. I believe I was saying the same things he was saying the next day as I was making my 3rd batch of honey apple lemon jam and still had 30 lbs of apples left. So thank you for all the apple ideas. We love them.

  153. Rose

    Im so sorry I made this…..cause I can’t stop eating it…it is beyond delicious!!! Should’ve taken your advice to buy 2 packages of puffed pastry, because now I’ll have to make one to share!!!!!! Love your inspire me to get into the kitchen and make all your yummy recipes!!!

  154. Micah

    I found this just after a friend gave be a bag of the most wonderful little apples! I just pulled it out of the oven and tried a piece, and it’s just amazing! It’s sweet and nice for after dinner, but not overly dessert-y, and so I think it will be great with afternoon tea. It’s a great alternative to a pie or crumble, different but still homey.

  155. Shay

    Another idea for the topping would be to incorporate boiled apple cider syrup. I made some myself this fall, and have been tucking it into my apple pies, stewed apples, etc. It really kicks up the apple flavors.

  156. zadzi

    I made this today and it was absolutely amazing! The salted caramel was really simple to make and really took it to a new level. Slicing the apples on my mandolin was a pain , though, didn’t expect it to be – they kept breaking off and oxidixed super quickly, so I added a little lemon juice.

    Overall, a phenomenal tart, really! Thank you :)

  157. Jessica

    I have a piece of this right this moment, and it is glorious. I’ve never commented before, but I had to de-lurk just to tell you that making that caramel is probably the crowning achievement in my (admittedly quite short) teenaged cooking career. I feel incredibly badass to have made something so pretty and delicious and difficult-seeming. Thank you.

  158. Bethany

    Deb, if you want to pay homage to Ramona Quimby and her friends, visit their bronze statues in the Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden when you are here in Portland next week (the books are set here)! They are in Grant Park in Northeast. You can also visit Beverly Cleary Elementary and take a drive on Klickitat Street where the Quimbys lived. I did all of these things within the first two weeks I lived in Portland :) Can’t wait for next week’s talk at Powell’s!

  159. Rita M

    Did this one today! Absolutely lovely! Highly recommend it! It’s really delicious.
    I used sour apples and instead of brushing the apples with the caramel I poured it generously on the tart. Thank you for the recipe! xx

  160. Hillary B

    I made this this weekend for a dinner party (along with your Butternut Squash and Farro Salad – delicious) and it was great. It was so pretty and perfect to bring to someone’s house – very impressive looking. We served it with vanilla ice cream. I used a mandolin to cut the apples and think they were a bit too thin, I will probably try this again with slightly thicker apple slices. I am used to apple pie with lots of apples. I used puff pastry from Trader Joes as someone recommended in the comments above (all butter).

  161. AC

    Thank you for this recipe! I made this yesterday and it was delicious! I used 2 sheets of Pepperidge Farm puff pastry because my pan is quite large, and I used a mixture of 1/16 and 1/8 inch slices from the mandolin. It took me two tries to get the caramel right (the first time the butter didn’t incorporate and the sugar solidified) but it was worth the effort (and delicious with apples)!

  162. I just finished making this, and I just CANNOT believe how delicious it is, considering the main prep is ‘put apple slices on puff pasty and bake’ It’s just. WOW. I have two grocery bags full of apples from my boss who owns an orchard, and I think I know what I’m going to bring back into work as a thank you!

  163. Kathryn

    Made it again and made the caramel again and this time – success! I know what I did wrong with the caramel – I didn’t wait for the sugar to completely dissolve and I used a whisk instead of a spoon. On my stove, the sugar takes a lot longer to melt. It finally does melt, and starts to turn brown. This is where I panicked the last time, and started whisking. That’s when disaster struck, e.g. clumping. This time, I just let it go. Let it turn brown, let it liquefy, let it just do its thing. Finally it was brown liquid. THEN, I stirred, not whisked, the butter and salt in and then then cream. It all came together beautifully. One thing that may have helped also is, I doubled the recipe up to the cream and then tripled the amount of cream. I had just enough to really cover the whole tart.

  164. Shannon

    I don’t like cooked apples, so I made this just for my church and decided to try a bite. It was heavenly!! I love the texture. I wish I had doubled the caramel so I could have had leftovers. Thanks for another simple, impressive recipe.

  165. madison

    This looks amazing! Your pictures are disbelievingly inviting. This time of the year I’m always stuck with a box of pears from my orchard farming grandparents that I don’t know what to do with. Would it have the same result? Thanks for the great recipes!

    1. deb

      Hi Carol — The tiny amount of cream in the caramel is to keep it on the un-gooey side. Still, it’s soft but not as saucy and translucent as most caramel sauces.

  166. Jeannette

    How can I possibly get any work done with a recipe like this running around? My employer blocks access to Facebook but luckily not Smitten Kitchen!

  167. Jennifer

    I made this last night for a dinner party, HUGE success!! I did have a little trouble with the caramel being quite thick, even though it didn’t cool before spreading it. Can you add a little more liquid (cream? butter?) to think it some? As a result, I had bits of apple that were sadly without caramel…so sad!!

  168. Sasha

    I just made this and haven’t tasted it yet but want to comment on the apple thickness. I had printed the recipe and followed the instructions to slice the apples 1/16 inch thick on a mandoline, but when I went to go look at the assembly pictures on the website, it became clear that the apples were sliced much more thickly than 1/16. It definitely doesn’t look as pretty with the paper thin slices.

  169. Ayeisha

    That apple tart looks amazing!

    I’m 15 and have just started a food blog, it would really help me if people could check it out

  170. Eleanor

    This is my first ever visit to your site, and i feel like I have hit the jackpot! I can’t eat any dairy other than yogurt or sheep cheese, but I can see great possible variations within your amazing recipes so that I can enjoy the essence of your creations. There is one jelly that i think would work on top of this beautiful pastry, and that is quince. It is hard to come by these days, but i like putting it in with my apples as the sweetener when i am making applesauce. I found you through our local Bookshop Santa Cruz newsletter. So happy to make your acquaintance!

  171. Ben

    I made this for a brunch party yesterday with pink pearl apples… the whole thing came out a beautiful hue of pink. I prefer Cook’s Illustrated’s caramel recipe, which made extra that I also served on the side (with bacon). No one complained!

    **By the way– your comments section should allow people to upload images of what they made! Just a thought.

  172. Ro

    Hi Deb! I’m making this for a potluck this Friday night (feeding a bunch of psychologists your apple tart! I suspect they’ll go outta business). I have a question for you–do you think I can use 2 tablespoons of half and half or does it have to be heavy cream?

    Your website is my favorite, everything I’ve ever made from here has turned out awesome. =)

  173. David Stylianou

    This recipe produced such a delicious tart. Thank you! One thing I did a bit differently is to slice the apples to 1/8″ rather than 1/16″. It’s possible that my mandoline is not a very good one or that my apples were a wee bit on the soft side, but trying to slice to 1/16″ thickness created a mess. In any case, this tart is killer. The sauce is perfectly salty and sweet.

  174. Lynette

    Hi Deb – looks fantastic. I just wanted to let you know that I’m pouring over your book (recently delivered from Amazon) and it is truly fantastic! Thank you for sharing your love of food with us – I look forward to one of my boys coming home from college in 2029 and begging me for sweet peas and shells Alfredo because nothing else compares. Also, and this is difintively not your mother, when you having another? ;)

  175. Kate P

    Hi, how far ahead of time could this be made (say, Wednesday afternoon before Thursday of Thanksgiving)? and how would I store it to keep the flavor/consistency nice? Or would it be better to assemble the day before, and bake the day I want to serve it? Thanks!

  176. Helena

    Made a double batch last night. This is a good project to do with kids as it’s not as difficult as its beauty implies. Granny Smiths added a delightful tartness to the buttery sweetness. I’m already for the book signing tonight!

  177. Marijke Schellenbach

    Just heard you on the Dianne Rehm show today and was so glad I didn’t miss this interview, especially since I love to cook. I immediately stopped at B&N to buy this book for my daughter, as she loves to cook as well. I’ll be following your blog for sure and wish you great success with your book. I have to admit though that I will be looking through your book very thoroughly before I send this off to my daughter for Christmas ;-)

  178. mary

    I just made this for the third time in two weeks! I had multiple caramel issues: the first time I burnt it (walked away from the stove like a winner :P), the second time I’m pretty sure I undercooked it because it was super lumpy and opaque. I think I got it right this time! First trick: make sure the caramel sauce is super hot while you are applying it. I had to reheat mine 3 or 4 times while I was brushing it on the tart. Second trick: use slow strokes when brushing, this will help the caramel go on more evenly, as well as minimizing the amount your apple slices get scooted around. Lastly, don’t skimp on baking the tart after the glaze has been applied! My caramel looked really lumpy and uneven on my tart, but I put it back in the oven and let it hang out until the caramel started to bubble, and it came out beautiful and even. I’ve never dealt with caramel before so this has been a real learning experience. I love this recipe! I can’t wait to make it for Thanksgiving. Thanks Deb!

  179. fredrik

    I made this over the weekend, and it was a big hit. I made my own pate brisé (frozen puff pastry? – making the dough is so easy). I used a round tart pan instead of a jelly roll pan. Exceptional. I didn’t have any caramel issues.

  180. sana

    i made this last night and it came out FABULOUS! everyone loved it and couldn’t believe how good it was. I followed your recipe to the “T” and it came out perfect. Thanks so much Deb!!

  181. kb

    Hi Deb. I didn’t see it mentioned anywhere – did you fold over the edges to make the border or did the pastry just puff up like that? All of the pre-cooked pics look like it’s just flat but then the cooked pics have a border…
    I was looking for something slightly more interesting/creative than pie for a pot luck thanksgiving party but I also couldn’t bring myself to do something other than pie – this fits the bill perfectly! thanks!

  182. I just made this for a pie contest this evening. . .and won! (Even though it’s not really a pie.) I followed the recipe exactly (although I burned my first batch of caramel and had to make a second). And now I have a lovely handmade cutting board as a prize. :) Thanks for such a great recipe! I will be making this again.

  183. Angela D.

    I just made this last night and it was delicious! Plus, it went together very quickly while dinner was cooking. I love an easy dessert! This is definitely on my list to make again.

    1. deb

      Channelle — Yes, it will still taste delicious. However, the caramel is shiniest and the most “on top” on the first day. It soaks in a bit on the second. You could brush it again (maybe with the second half of the syrup) and rewarm it before serving for the shiniest second-day effect.

  184. Made this the other night to bring to a dinner party and everyone raved about it. It’s quite easy to put together, especially if you have a mandoline. Perfect warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Yum!

  185. Between this and the chocolate pudding pie, thank you for making me the queen of Thanksgiving! I haven’t gone to dinner yet of course, but I just have a feeling …. your instructions are so helpful and empowering! I “floured the heck out of” my surfaces and had my first successful pie crust. Go Deb!

  186. Eve

    Hi: Just made this beautiful pie. The caramel was lovely. Made about 2 extra
    cups adding cream for ice cream later. Two problems: Even though I rolled the dough out even thinner than the original size in the package, there are spots in the middle
    where it didn’t cook all the way through. (400 degrees for 30+ mins) I also had a tough time brushing on the caramel without picking up and displacing apples.

    I’m sure it will be delicious, but am nervous about taking it to Thanksgiving dinner (dough prob).

    Any ideas?

  187. Pamela! I went out and bought a mandoline just so I could make this. It was the highlight of the dessert table tonight after our Thanksgiving feast– now I wish I had followed Deb’s advice and picked up two packages of puff pastry.
    My apples sort of cooked into a homogenous layer, and the mosaic effect was pretty much obliterated, but the taste! Oh my word, the taste!

  188. SLZ

    I made this the morning of Thanksgiving…I was a little nervous about it sitting all day but it was fine! We couldn’t decide whether to warm it up for serving in the oven or not, and decided room-temp was fine. I would have loved a tiny bit more caramel (the best parts had a more visible layer on it). I cut my apples by hand with a good sharp knife and it was fine.

    I also brought some spicy brittled peanuts! Such a hit, although they didn’t have the same shininess as the ones in your photo. Mine looked more crusty, but they tasted great. I may even up the cayenne next time!

  189. linda martel

    I’ve made this recipe 3 times now and it is great. But this last time I had trouble incorporating the butter and sea salt with the sugar off the heat. The caramelized sugar clung to the fork and got hard. ( I tried a whisk with the same results) The first time I made it it worked easily. Is it something to do with the temperature of the sugar? not cooked long enough ?

  190. Grace

    Deb, just stopping by to add another rave review. I made this last night for a dinner party and it was sensational!! Everyone loved it. I just wanted to say a big THANK YOU: 1. for recipes that always work, and 2. for such great instructions – both written and pictured (I scrutinised your overlapping apple slices in particular). I sliced the apples by hand, so the effect wasn’t quite as even and pretty as yours, but thankfully that didn’t impact the flavour. :)

  191. Deb in IN

    Deb, I made this over Thanksgiving weekend and we loved it, but I had a miserable time with the caramel – in fact, threw out 2 batches because the sugar had crystalized into clumps before I could get the cream mixed in. It sounds like maybe they could have been salvaged by putting them back on the stove?
    Also made the pumpkin cinnamon rolls for Thanksgiving morning – yum!! And I’m so happy to have your cookbook – congrats!!

  192. Jen

    Hi Deb,
    Making this for the second time, adding some ginger and cinnamon to coat the apples. How did your apples stay so white? My started to turn brown while cutting – cook beautifully anyway.

    1. deb

      Jen — This is just a theory, but did you get your apples at a grocery store or Greenmarket? While both taste delicious here (and I find that browning disappears as soon as the apples are baked and have zero effect on taste outcome, so it’s more pesky than a recipe-wrecker), I have noticed that the really fresh apples I get at markets or from apple picking don’t brown much when I cut them and that the ones in grocery stores (which can be up to a year old — seriously) do. I think it’s the age. It’s also the variety; some apples definitely brown faster than others but all work here.

  193. aimai

    I make this tart already but I like to line it with apple butter before I layer on the apples. Apple butter is also a good way to use up your extra apples. I began making it a few years ago by taking my home made applesauce and then throwing it in an open crockpot for two days. It slowly caramalizes down to being apple butter. Then I complete the circle of life by putting it under fresh apples for this tart which I used to have at a little french bakery years ago. It had a special name that I can’t remember.


  194. Madeline

    Is it possible to thaw the puff pastry on the counter instead of overnight in the fridge? This is given as an option on my package of puff pastry.

  195. Ladotyk

    This is an amazing dish to have in your arsenal! It’s relatively quick (especially if you have a mandoline), and the WOW factor will impress all your friends. I’ve tried apple tarts before and they are pretty good, but the caramel glaze knocks this one out of the park. And thank you Deb for showing me that you don’t need water to start caramelizing sugar! Finally, caramel without tears.
    Just one issue: serves 12? We found this serves closer to 4. (Ung! I’m so full but it was so worth it)

  196. Shruti

    Made this last week with store bought pastry. It was divine. My family liked it a lot. They wanted a second helping but i had made a smaller sized tart as a trial. Will surely be making this often. The mosiac design on mine was not as pretty though . Also i went easy on the butter and cream quantities in the caramel sauce but it did taste great. Thanks Deb.

  197. ali_jane

    My salted caramel sauce came together very nicely (was glad of the advice that it does always eventually melt, felt a bit skeptical about it at first), and tasted AMAZING hot out of the pan on my leftover apple.

    The tart itself I left overnight and took to work the next day. While it was great (there were masses of desserts at the function, and tons of leftovers, but no leftovers of the tart!), no one could taste the salt in the salted-caramel. I’m perplexed — salt doesn’t evaporate… Does the taste of the sauce change as it cools, so perhaps it needs more salt to be expressed when cool, and maybe the fleur du sel I used was a bit light in weight so I should be chucking more in when it’s hot?

  198. Aimee

    Wow! Your tart looks amazing, I want to make this it right now!
    Just wondering will this work with shortcrust pastry? I have some left over in my freezer and I want to use it up. I wish it was puff though so its nice and fluffy.
    And I will take your tips on broad. Haha ;)

  199. Arletta

    Oh my goodness, that sounds delicious! I’d have to either skip it or alter it, though, since I can’t have butter (or any sort of animal milk products); but, I might try making it for someone I like.

    Thank you for the good idea!

  200. Anna

    I made this last year when you posted the recipe, and it was delicious. I decided to make it again this year for Rosh Hashanah, but used honey in place of the sugar in the caramel. It worked well – the caramel has a nice but not overwhelming honey flavor. I struggled last time with returning the caramel to a liquid enough state to spread on the tart, so having an inherently more fluid caramel this time made it much easier for me.

    Just a note – I don’t think it’s a big deal, but I definitely didn’t realize until I examined the pictures this time around that you intended the apples to be sliced from bottom to top (as opposed to side to side) after they were halved and cored. Once I realized that, it was much easier to core the apples with a paring knife by quartering them along their equators, so to speak, first.

    Thanks for the recipe! It’s always amazing. Now to go make your apples and honey challah…

  201. M

    I don’t know if this is total sacrilege, but I didn’t have time to make the caramel sauce on the stove (and I always burn the first batch anyway), so I tried the microwave. I was totally amazed that it worked and only took about 2.5 minutes. Didn’t measure the ingredients, just eyeballed it– a little cream, some white sugar, some brown sugar, some butter, sprinkle of salt in a pyrex measuring cup. Microwave on medium power for a minute or 2, watch for the butter to bubble, stir, and cook for a few more minutes. Turned out pretty damn good! And most importantly didn’t burn!!

  202. Brigitte

    Hi, just wanted to say that i made the recipe exactly as written and it was to die for! So good!!! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  203. Angela

    Hello! How should I store it for next-day eating? My intention was to immediately start stuffing my face, but I decided to taste-test using my leftover puff pastry and caramel with some sautéed apples instead. So now I’ll have a pretty and whole tart for a pumpkin party tomorrow, but I’m not sure how to store it for optimum enjoyment tomorrow :)

  204. Katie

    Made this tonight and I think it worked out pretty well. It was my first time making caramel and it was just as easy as you said it would be, although next time I will add a litle more salt because I don’t feel like it came through enough.

  205. Tamara

    Okay I made this on Sunday for a get-together after perusing your apple index (have so many from picking!!) and was a little concerned about getting it all right (I have never made caramel, I’m afraid of my mandolin, etc.) but it came out great and was totally gasp-worthy. I’m sure I did something weird with the caramel because I did end up with a few very hard candy pieces stuck to the spoon, but most of the sauce was the perfect consistency and omg it was amazing. I would definitely make this again – it was a show-stopper. Thanks!!

    1. deb

      Michelle — I am not sure it would be my first choice for a dessert to advance freeze, only because I don’t know how well the glaze and apple texture will hold up to defrosting.

  206. Chum

    Hi Deb. Just made this and it looks so pretty! Question re: the caramel glaze…I cooked it until copper-y but couldn’t taste it for awhile (I like my tongue). Impatient, I went ahead & glazed the tart, which I am taking to a party tonight. I made a little tester for a couple of us & the caramel was a little on the bitter side, which we liked but neither of us love overly sweet things (my fav is the Salted Crack ice cream at Ample Hills in Brooklyn, if that tells you anything–& they warn folks to taste it before ordering, due to bitterness). Did I cook it too long or is that the intended result?

  207. Chum

    While I’m still curious about my earlier question, I wanted to update my post. Everyone loved the tart! (Worried about my complete baking ineptitude, I even bribed a little girl there to tell everyone it was great but she even went back for another piece, unprompted!) I gave you full credit, of course. (Really!) Oddly, the caramel wasn’t at all intense on the tart as it was when we tested it on the apple slices earlier that afternoon. But it added a lovely richness and kept the tart less sweet. Thanks again!

  208. sara

    I want to try this for Thanksgiving this year but don’t have access to a store that sells puff pastry. Is there a puff pastry recipe or other crust recipe you recommend for this tart?

    1. deb

      sara — I’ve never made it from scratch, but there are a lot of recipes on the web. It’s a bit of work, but extra-delicious. (Plus, if you make it imperfectly, this tart is very forgiving.) Happy baking!

    1. deb

      Lauren — It should be good for a few days in the fridge. I mean, it won’t go bad if in their longer, but eventually, the texture might be less ideal.

  209. Shawne

    Just made this this afternoon. It looks exactly like the photo, and had no issues with the glaze, but then again, I’ve made caramel sauces before. Also, I’m on the east coast and it is snowing like the bowels of hell are freezing over, so a trip to the store for puff pastry is out of the question. Rather than spend time making my own, I turned to a homemade two-crust pie crust recipe I love for its flakiness. I rolled it out on a large, foil-lined cookie sheet of regular size, and it fit perfectly, pie crust acceptably thin, and trimmed edges with one tiny fold-under so there was very little additional thickness on the finished edge. Used 5 large orchard apples, and upped the caramel sauce to 1.5 x the recipe so I had enough to spread over the larger dimension for my larger crust footprint. The proportions were perfect, and the pie crust, while more substantial than puff pastry, was thin and flaky enough to be, I think, a very satisfactory variation. Will post what the family thinks later on.

  210. Wendi

    400 degrees was too hot. The bottom burnt and the top never got cooked properly. Followed directions to a T. I guess every oven is different. Trying now to fig out how to save it. :(

  211. CeeJohanna

    Made this last night, and will make again! The photo shouted out to me and wouldn’t quiet down until the oven was hot. Easy, elegant, and delicious. Huge applause at the table. So why am I writing? There must be a way of tweaking the way I handle the tart after baking to make it a wee bit less soggy on the bottom? 10×15 pan, bought for this occasion√; mandoline √ (can’t live without it); and DuFour pastry√. I used a mixture of apples; maybe the variety should be chosen more carefully? I left the tart on the baking sheet, but maybe if I took it off, on the baking paper, and moved it onto a cooling rack?

  212. Claire

    So I made this on Sunday, and it tasted delicious. I neglected to nest the apples close enough, forgot they shrink (we are a real apple-dessert family). My puff pastry didn’t puff, it stayed thin in the middle of the tray. Any hints? I want to try it again.
    Even so, it was amazing, and my girls almost licked the salted caramel away before I could finish the desert. Making that was the most fun.

  213. you not only a genious, u are also an artist!! totally blown away by your content… i have a whole life time to try out each and every recipe on your website. thanks for the ideas.

  214. Quynh

    I made this with my mom on Mother’s Day. We didn’t have a mandolin so it was a little time consuming but so simple to put together and looks beautiful!

  215. Julie

    Hi Deb! I’m thinking of making this on Wednesday for a party on Saturday. Will it get soggy?? If I popped it back into the oven before serving, would it improve the texture since it would have been sitting for a few days? Otherwise I might just bake it the day before, but I’m trying to do as much ahead as I can! It looks delicious!

  216. Allie

    Hi! I’m really excited to make this for a family Christmas party. Your recipe says to defrost the puff pastry overnight in the fridge, but the box of puff pastry I bought (Pepperidge Farms, the only brand I could get my hands on) says to thaw it by laying it out at room temperature for 40 minutes. Will it matter which way I do it, or are both okay?

    1. deb

      Allie — Use the directions on the box you bought. (Although I think little harm will come from overnight defrosting in the fridge, so long as it stays cold.)

  217. Lisa

    I lived in France for a long time and so this is a favorite, and I love your addition of caramel. But I think that homemade caramel, like the ocean, merits a healthy respect. I was bolstered by your admonition not be afraid of it, but I ruined two of them. I am a fairly accomplished home cook, although admittedly stronger on savory than sweet. It all seems to hinge on a second, no?
    I cooked the tart for about 25 minutes longer than indicated to get a good crispy crust. Glad to learn about Dufour puff pastry! So much better than the normal US grocery brands.
    Thank you for the inspiration!

  218. Minik

    This is a keeper. I’ve made this twice and I swear from now on I will make this and only this when the craving for an apple-y dessert sets in.
    A little info; I made the caramel sauce without cream. I used a little water (right after you take it off the stove, be careful it spatters a lot) and salted butter. Added a splash of lemon juice too, because I was feeling adventurous and it turned out great! Thanks Deb!

  219. Sharon

    I would like your suggestion for not ending up with a soggy crust. This is a problem I often have with pies as well as puff pastry. I have tried bread crumbs, and Parmesan cheese without much success. Thank you!

  220. Laura

    I have made this 2 weeks in a row and the recipe is going in my book of favorites. I used my combo apple peeler/corer and then just cut the apple in half and had perfect slices. This tart is so easy! One of those recipes that you even impress yourself when it comes out of the oven.

  221. Anna

    The star of the rosh hashana dessert table. My friend made her fiancé get his own piece, she said it was too good to share. Can’t wait until the baby falls asleep so I can have some more.

  222. Tully

    This looks delicious! Could I make this earlier in the day and serve later? Can it be slightly warned or will it release liquid?

  223. Alice K.

    What technique are you using to core the apples? It looks like you get much more apple than I do with my “cutting down the sides” technique. Pls. explain. Thanks. And your Mom’s Apple Cake is the BEST!!

  224. Danielle


    Can this recipe be made ahead of time? If so, how far in advance? Or is there any portion of the recipe I can make in advance?


    1. Janet Mowery

      Well, I’m about to make this for the third time this month! Although I’ve made it the “day of” each dinner party, and it was fabulous, there were leftovers both times, and it was still very good at the next meal. You can warm it in the oven if you like, which is even better. (BTW, the second time I used jarred caramel sauce and topped with a little sea salt, rather than making my own caramel. No one knew but me.)

  225. Betty

    You don’t say how many puff pastry pieces you use for the tart…. our puff pastry comes in a box (like aluminum foil) there could be anywhere up to 10 pieces depending on the product and price.

    Thank you for responding to my question. The tart looks lovely. I do plan on making it.

    1. deb

      It should fill at 10×15 (but you can scale up or down if you have a different sized pan). My 14-ounce package comes in one sheet. I know other brands come in two, you can “glue” them together or stack them and roll them thin.

  226. Do you really get enough carame topping to cover all the apples? The caramel plus the 2 tab. Of heavy cream and the 2 tab. of butter equals about 1/2 cup of sauce. Do you brush it on as you drizzle it over the apples? This recipe sounds like something we had when we my husband and I visited France. I am anxious to have it come out nicely. I love working with puff pastry because it can create an easy, elegant dessert.

    1. Deirdre

      I found it difficult to spread with a pastry brush so ended up drizzling it over as best I could, then popped it back in the oven for a few minutes and the heat distributed it more evenly.

  227. cassandrabwright

    Haven’t eaten this yet — it’s for tomorrow night — but it looks and smells delicious. However, I could not make the caramel sauce work. I made the caramel twice, and both times it seized up into a tooth-breaking solid brown mass. So I ended up improvising with some brown sugar, butter, and cream to render a spreadable sauce that isn’t as dark as the caramel should be, but tastes just fine. Sprinkled it with flaky salt and will serve it with Graeters Vanilla ice cream.

  228. Kari

    I have a truly stunning red flesh apple of unknown lineage and a dessert to make for a fundraiser next month. This looks like just the thing to highlight those lovely apples! I need to feed 35 and am on a budget: is there any other crust option that would work do you think? I do have a recipe for a quick puff pastry, but what do you think of a pasta frolla or a tart pastry?
    As always your recipes and hard work are an inspiration!

  229. Amy

    I love this sooo much and make it whenever Trader Joe’s has pastry crust (oddly a seasonal item!). I make it by dumping the apples onto the crust and not even bothering with the mosaic….and it is still a sensation wherever I bring it.

  230. Shaina Praska

    Has anyone/could one use pie crust as the base instead of puff pastry? I have Deb’s flaky pie crust prepped and thought I could swap it out. Thanks!

  231. Rebecca

    Is this something you can freeze and reheat?? How would you reheat it?? This looks so amazingly delicious I’ll be making this when I get out of work today!!

  232. Amy

    I just made this for the second time this apple season. As with previous times, I have never peeled the apples and I just dump them on the puff pastry (Trader Joes brand pastry)! This time I made your simple butterscotch recipe instead of the salted caramel here. I even doubled the butterscotch. I put a generous heaping on this tart and saved the rest for ice cream. YUM! Everybody loves this tart.

  233. Rose

    I used control “F” to search for pastry in the comments…looked at all 113 instances or whatever it was and found nothing that answered the question, “can I use regular pastry instead of puff pastry.” So, since pie day left me with 1/2 a recipe of Deb’s all butter pastry crust after making her classic pumpkin pie…I had to try it anyway. It’s great. I used 3 apples, as I knew the pastry quantity would be less – and then just proceeded with the apple layout as she did it. There was a smidge of apple to snack on and it turned out about 9×13 after baking, with a teensy bit of apple and caramel leftover. I had to roll it thinly and I was sure to slice the apple very thinly, and the bottom is crispy, which I have frankly never managed with a whole apple pie. So, it’s a win. Now I have to try it with the extra crispy pie dough she just posted! Thank you yet again, Deb.

  234. Amy

    I’ve made this numerous times and LOVE it. Recently I made it the night before a party and it was too soggy the next day. :’-( Maybe that’s a no-brainer for puff pastry but I guess I had to try it to confirm!

  235. This is delicious!! I made it for the first time yesterday, and I don’t think I can go back to regular apple pie! I used homemade puff pastry because I didn’t have any store bought, and I had to add water to the sugar to make the caramel glaze. But otherwise, I followed your recipes exactly, and it was perfection. Thank you!!

  236. Ellen L

    After making countless of your recipes and being delighted with the results, I found this one to be a disappointment. It looked beautiful and was relatively easy to make. I purchased the all butter puff pastry at Trader Joe’s, which is only available during the holiday season. We even waited until Thanksgiving day to make this so it would be fresh and crisp. My niece slightly overcooked the caramel, which was not the reason for our dislike of the end product. It only meant we weren’t scraping up the leftover remnants. We found the whole dessert somewhat meh, but particularly the soggy crust. Was it the crust’s fault or the recipe? Not sure. But I won’t be repeating it to find out.

    1. Madison

      I’ve made this with dufour’s and I would say that the soggy crust is due either to underbaking (if you’re unfamiliar with just how brown puff pastry needs to be, this could be easy to underbake) or an inferior crust. It’s perfectly crisp when I make it with dufour’s brand. (It’s sold at sprouts and Whole Foods.)

  237. amber jaeger

    This was incredible. Very easy and perfectly sweet caramel. Adults and kids alike in our family demolished an entire one.

  238. Sarah Grace

    I’m feeling called to add goat cheese to this somehow, without having tried it yet. (I tend to prefer sweets cut with something savory.) Any idea if that would work here? Maybe a layer below the apples, or dolloped on top of the caramel?

    1. Sarah Grace

      I added a layer of goat cheese under the apples and it was so delicious! A note on the caramel – I burned it the first time I tried and had to use medium heat rather than medium-high as suggested. What a lovely recipe!

  239. Made this as one of our Thanksgiving desserts, today — delicious! Looks very impressive but actually pretty simple and straightforward. More assembling and applying heat than true baking — and I’m not complaining! Got raves from my family. Used Dufour puff pastry — had never “invested” in it before — and it was definitely a step up from Pepperidge Farm. Also, cutting straight is not my strong suit, so I tried a pizza cutter instead of a knife and it worked like a dream.

  240. Lydia W.

    If I were to make this for Thanksgiving, how should I fit it in with my other food prep? I’m assuming it would be best served warm or at room temperature, but if I bake it in the morning does it need to be chilled because of the caramel?

  241. Alex

    the only sea salt I had on hand for this recipe was a sea salt rosemary blend and I cannot recommend enough adding a tiny dash of rosemary to the caramel— absolutely decadent delight with a more unique fall flavor than the usual cinnamon

  242. Cat

    This was so amazing that my children have asked me if I can make this “for the rest of their life”. Thank you for a super yummy recipe!

  243. Maura

    I made this for this past Thanksgiving. It was so much easier than I had imagined.

    The caramel sauce did stiffen up before I got a chance to lay it over the applies, but as Deb advised: all that was needed was to warm it up a bit more.

    All the same, it was still a little thick for an easy spreading. However, just do your best, and once it bakes, it will melt splendidly.

    This was a hit!

  244. Carol Dawe

    I’ve made this twice. In the last month. My first effort was a bit bland. The 2nd time I made it I added just a bit more butter and sugar on the crust and added an extra TB of sugar and cream and an extra 1/2 TB of butter and used a 1/2 tsp smoked Maldon sea salt instead of 1/4 regular Maldon sea salt. Divine. I might have made my first crust too big but the added caramel was great on the 10×15. I had a bit left over the 2nd time.

  245. Angela

    I’m planning to bring this to a combination Canadian Friendsgiving and late Rosh Hashanah party. Do you think I could swap some of the sugar for honey for a New Year appropriate vibe?