perfect apple tarte tatin

[Welcome to the second episode of the Sous-Chef Series, a sporadic feature on SK in which I invite cooks I admire over to my small kitchen to teach me — and thus, us — to make one of their specialties. Spoiler: I’m the sous! Previously: Making potato vareniki with Kachka’s Bonnie Frumpkin.]

Almost without fail, the more bafflingly short an ingredient list and the more stunningly delicious the outcome, the more likely it is to rivet me. I don’t need all recipes to have 5- or 10- or fewer ingredients — I fare poorly under arbitrarily restrictive confines — but doesn’t it just blow your mind that you can make the apple tarte tatin above with only apples, sugar, butter, lemon juice, and a sheet of defrosted puffed pastry?

Or, you should be able to. When made well, this upside-down apple tart looks like snug copper cobblestones on top of a rippling puff of flaky pastry. If you’re lucky, the apples will taste like they drank a cup of caramel and then napped in what they couldn’t finish. I love it enough that I’ve written about it twice (!) in eleven years but my efforts were… mediocre at best. I mean, just look at them — too thin, too sparse, too pale, apples either under- or overcooked, and way too many apples have dissolved long before the cooking time should have been up, despite being “good baking apples.”

apple tarte tatin master, susan spungenI’d begrudgingly resigned myself a life of tatin mediocrity when I spotted one of the most stunning ones I’d seen to date on a magazine stand. And I had a feeling I knew who had cooked/styled it — my across-the-street neighbor. Her name is Susan Spungen and she’s a cookbook author and food stylist and whether you realize it or not, you’ve probably admired her behind-the-scenes handiwork on movies — see: that croissant scene in It’s Complicated, oh and everything Amy Adams and Meryl Streep cooked in Julie & Julia. It was on the latter project that she got very, very good at apple tarte tatins. She explains “It was a quick shot, but I worked hard to get the right look and technique, so I could make it over and over again, and have it look exactly the same each time, which is essential for a movie scene.”

I invited myself over and watched her make one in her tiny kitchen, not even breaking a sweat, and it was perfect. I thought it would fill me with the confidence I needed to replicate it at home. But two years later, it had not. So, this fall, I asked her to come to my place this time, I took 200 pictures and almost as many notes. I then made four more without her and all except the one I made with what turned out to be the wrong apples, looked exactly like hers. With this I knew it was time to write what I hope will be the last tarte tatin recipe you’ll ever need.

Here are a few things I learned from watching a professional, and basically making five tatins in two weeks:

1. The type of apple matters. You need one that holds its shape after it bakes. The internet is full of lists of “good baking apples” and “bad” baking apples and I cannot tell you which one will never lead you astray because there’s (believe it or not) a limit to my madness and I won’t be testing any recipe with every variety of apple. However, I was crazy enough to audition four here. I homed in on ones that I can buy at both grocery stores and local greenmarkets right now: Pink Lady, Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smiths. The first three worked great; the last one fell to mush. It may be because it was from a grocery store (I actually don’t find them at markets much) where they’re often very, very old, or maybe it’s just that they’re all wrong for this recipe. I don’t think it’s worth the risk to find out. If you make it with another kind with success, shout it out (and whether it procured locally or from a grocery store) in the comments.

peel your applesfirst cut: just under 1/2 applecut any extra core outcoat with lemon juice

2. You don’t need to cut them all crazy. I see recipes that call for halves (too big), quarters (too small), and some that call for thirds, which is about right but there’s no need to do exacting knife work to get every piece to be the same size, even if you have the patience to make finicky apple cuts. I’m using three sizes — a little less than half, a third, and about one-quarter in each that you see here — and cut them the way you would if you were snacking on an apple: imperfect and easy. A mix of sizes and shapes fits better.

3. Apples shrink a lot when they cook. If you’ve ever wondered why so many apples are called for in a 9- to 10-inch round tart, this is why. If you’ve ever made one and really thought you crammed the fruit in, only to have a tatin that looked like sparse apple cobble stones, ditto. It means that when you nestle the apples against each other before you bake it, you want each to lean onto the one behind it, overlapping it by one-third, so as it shrinks in the oven, they’re still tightly snugged together.

melt your sugarwhen halfway melted, whiskadd butteradd the apples

4. Three-quarters of the apple-cooking is done on the stove in the caramel; the rest happens in the oven. When the pastry is nicely browned and crisp, it’s done. This means that if the sautéed apples aren’t mostly cooked, that they’re still crunchy inside, it needs more time on the stove before it goes in the oven or the baked tatin won’t have perfectly tender apples.

it will loosen up in a minute or twonestle the 3/4 cooked apples inpour any leftover caramel overnestle the dough on top

5. Because of #3 and #4, you really want to use two pans make your tatin. Trust me — a person who will go to almost any length not to dirty two dishes when she could only dirty one — when I say that this is a place where it is unequivocally worth it. Almost every apple tarte tatin recipe makes life unnecessarily difficult by having you do the stovetop component (making the caramel and cooking the apples in it) in the same small pan as you’d might bake your final tart. Just look how many apples end up in the final tart, and that’s after they’ve shrunk. It’s very hard to cook the not-yet-shrunk apples evenly in caramel in a small pan. It’s much easier and will give you more consistent results if you use a big skillet. Then, arrange the apples exactly the way you want them in a smaller ovenproof skillet or standard pie pan. (And, it cools the apple mixture down a bit, essential because you don’t want to melt the butter in your pastry before it gets in the oven.)

6. Almost every apple tarte tatin recipe, including my previous ones, tells you to flip it out of the pan too soon. Give it time for the caramel and cooked apple juices to thicken up a bit. I found a minimum of 30 minutes and up to 60 worked well. It’s not ruined if you flip it sooner, but the caramel will be thinner and more likely to run off and puddle.

from the oven, give it time

perfect apple tarte tatin


Six months ago: Austrian Torn, Fluffy Pancake
One year ago: Roberta’s Roasted Garlic Caesar Salad
Two years ago: Endive Salad with Toasted Breadcrumbs
Three years ago: Roasted Cauliflower with Pumpkin Seeds and Brown Butter and Apple Strudel
Four years ago: Oven Fries and Chocolate Peanut and Pretzel Brittle
Five years ago: Squash Toasts with Ricotta and Cider Vinegar
Six years ago: Spinach and Egg Pizzettes
Seven years ago: Apple Cider Caramels
Eight years ago: Homesick Texan Carnitas
Nine years ago: Spicy Squash Salad with Lentils and Goat Cheese and Buckeyes
Ten years ago: Baked Chicken Meatballs and Salted Brown Butter Crispy Treats
Eleven years ago: Cabbage and Mushroom Galette and Peanut Butter Crispy Bars
Twelve years ago: Cranberry Caramel and Almond Tart and Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic
Thirteen years ago: Not Your Mama’s Coleslaw

Perfect Apple Tarte Tatin

  • Servings: 8
  • Source: Adapted, just slightly, from Susan Spungen
  • Print

While the recipe calls for 7 and almost always only needs 7 apples, I always start with 8, just in case one is too banged up to use, or they shrink enough that I can fit an extra piece in. Caramel apple pieces that don’t fit — you’ll figure out what to do with them. Look for apples that are relatively even in size for even “cobblestones” on the tart.

An important note about checking the caramel’s temperature: It takes 1 to 2 minutes for the caramel to get to the dark amber color after you whisk it smooth — this is really fast. More than once, in just the 10 to 20 seconds I was fumbling with my thermometer (the temp reading won’t stay steady), it got too dark and smoky and I had to start over again. I highly recommend just eyeballing the color.

  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 4 tablespoons (55 grams or 2 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed, very cold
  • 3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
  • 1 sheet of defrosted puffed pastry or a half recipe of extra-flaky pie crust
  • 7 to 8 medium-large Pink Lady, Gala, or Fuji apples (3 to 3 1/2 pounds; 1.3 to 1.5kg)
  • Crème fraîche or softly whipped cream, unsweetened, for serving (optional)

Heat oven to 400°F (205°C).

Peel your apples. Cut apples in thirds off of the core as best you can (no need for perfectly even thirds) and cut or scoop any remaining seeds out. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over them and toss to coat.

Have the butter very cold and ready by the stove. Trust me.

Pour sugar into a large (11- to 12-inch) skillet and place over medium-high heat and cook, without stirring, until sugar is partially liquefied, about 4 minutes. Whisk until all unmelted sugar disappears into the caramel and nudge the heat down to medium low. We are going to cook it a little darker, but it will go quickly from here. Cook until the sugar is dark amber, 1 to 2 minutes (you can test this on an instant read thermometer, it’s about 350 to 370 degrees F but read the Note up top first; a drop of caramel poured on a white plate will look dark amber). Remove from heat, immediately add butter and whisk to melt and combine. This will hold the color where it is.

Return to the heat and add the apples and cook over medium high heat. The caramel will seize up a bit and will seem too thick to coat the apples, but it will loosen up in a minute. Cook, gently stirring and turning to ensure even cooking, until apples soften and begin to turn translucent at the edges and are about 3/4 of the way cooked through, about 10 minutes. This is not an exact science; larger or more dense apples may take longer. On the flipside, if your apples are falling into mush here, they’re the wrong apples, it will not get better in the oven. Don’t worry about overcooking the caramel once the apples are in; this has never happened to me.

Using tongs, transfer apples, rounded side down, one at a time to a smaller (10-inch) skillet with an oven-proof handle or a 10-inch (standard) pie dish. Arrange them in a concentric circle around the outside, overlapping each apple by about 1/3 and purposely crowding them. Arrange remaining apples in the center of the ring; it’s far less noticeable if the center is more messily arranged. If you began with 8 apples, you’ll probably find that you don’t need all the pieces. Pour any extra caramel in the skillet over the apples. Let this cool for 10 minutes, and use this time to roll out the pastry.

Roll the dough out to a rough circle about one inch larger than the pan. If you’re not ready to use it yet, chill until needed on a lightly floured plate or tray.

Top sautéed apples with the pastry round, tucking the edges in all around. Cut a vent or two in the center, and place dish or skillet on a baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes minutes, or until pastry is nicely browned and apples are bubbling around the edges.

Run a butter knife around the edges to loosen. Let cool in the pan at least 30 minutes and up to 60 minutes. Peek under the crust if you can, or tilt the pan slightly, looking for evidence that the caramel and juices have thickened slightly. To invert, top with a serving plate and grasp the pan and plate tightly together as a unit (wearing oven mitts if it is still warm;) and flip quickly. Remove the pan. If any apples stick to the pan, just replace them where they should go on the tart. Serve warm, with crème fraîche or whipped cream, if desired.

If it has cooled completely before you serve, either return to the oven (if in a pie dish) or the stove (if in a skillet) to warm up and loosen the caramel for a few minutes. Leftovers keep well in the fridge, rewarm gently before serving.

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150 comments on perfect apple tarte tatin

    1. Wow!!! I looked for an apple tarte tatin to surprise my husband that loves apples dessert, but I thought I didn’t like this kind of cake… well, I was so wrong! It finished in the space of a day, thank you to let me discover something I didn’t know!

      1. Gretal

        I just stumbled across this one and had everything but the puff pastry. So I bought that today while out and whipped this one up. What a breeze to make!! And so so good. Definitely superior to apple pie and faster and easier to make. I loved it. Thank you for the recipe; it’s lovely!

  1. Carol Hickman

    Thank you for your service – seriously! I’ve made about a zillion tarte tatin recipes searching for The One that will yield consistent and crazy-good results, and can’t wait to make this one!

    Also, and off-topic, your miso/sweet potato/and broccoli bowl is a life-changer.

    1. AH

      Your description of the apples drinking a cup of caramel and napping in the rest is literally the most beautiful and magical food writing I have ever read!!! ❤️

      1. Melania W

        I have tried many TT recipes but never felt they were quite right ,this one however is the one ,perfect in every way ,will make it over & over again.

    1. deb

      Definitely two would work. A 9×13 might too. I’m not sure if you’d need to fully double it and it might be tricky to find a skillet big enough that it’s not overcrowded when you’re sauteeing the apples. But I think it could be pulled off.

      1. KateP

        Great advice about how to prepare the apples. Can’t wait to try your recipe, Deb. It looks fabulous.
        I have used Golden Delicious apples in the past. I don’t think Granny Smiths would ever work as they go mushy. Good for stewed apples and apple sauce, though.

      2. deb

        Depends on the pastry and depends on how soon you flipped it. Puffed pastry does not hold up terribly well to a very liquid caramel once flipped. Pie dough holds up better.

  2. Deanna

    My mom is going to be so happy when I make this for her in 2 weeks…with her required shot of bourbon mixed into the caramel. And cinnamon because the only thing she likes more than an apple dessert is an apple cinnamon dessert.

  3. Anna

    Can you make the apple portion in advance (potentially refrigerating overnight), and do the last bit (baking with the pastry) right before serving?

  4. Sharon

    So excited to try this! What kind of rimmed plate did you transfer the cooked Tarte onto? And can you re-warm it once it’s flipped?

  5. Annie

    David Lebovitz made a video several years ago in which he made an Tarte Tatin san recette and I’ve followed his no-recipe ever since. This looks wonderful too. I love Autumn :)

    1. Elemjay

      Really yellow Golden Delicious is the traditional option in France I understand.

      Most Tatin recipes are rubbish because they don’t have you pre cook the apples enough. This approach sounds just right.

      Other ideas: a bit of Calvados in the caramel is delightful.

  6. Suzanne

    Not to sound snobby but on the subject of the”right” apple for a Tarte Tatin I found – at our farmers market- the Caville Blanc D’Hiver. It is THE Apple. This time of year I make as many tartes as I can in this short season. It’s also a wonderful eating apple. Going to try this recipe tonight! (Ps we live in upstate ny, aka apple country).

  7. Brittany

    If you can find Jazz or Envy, get them every time. Exacting quality standards, a fresh crop every 6 months (one from each hemispere per year) and perfect density make them my baking apples of choice and I work at a farm that grows 12 varieties commercially so I can have my pick!

    1. Brittany, thank you for the information that Jazz and Envy apples are great for baking. They are actually my favorites (along with Ambrosia) although I always eat them fresh. Even though I don’t do much baking it’s good to know they will work well in Deb’s tarte tatin which is now filed with my carefully organized aspirational recipes. Keep your eyes out for Cosmic Crisp which has a lot of buzz and starts selling next month. I grew up in WA state apple country so I’m anxious to try it.

      1. Suzanne R Rosen

        gala. I spurged on Dufour puff pastry, my Trader Joe’s hasn’t had ANY….supply chain issues I guess. I need to remember to buy 6 boxes next Christmas.

  8. Cy

    I’m anxious to try this. Iv’e made Nigella’s recipe many times with good success ( using her quick puff pastry) but they weren’t as perfect as this one. Yours looks perfect!

  9. Marcia

    Right now I have several bags of Wickhams apples: Mutsus which Are my favorites for pies,
    Winesaps which are tart and crunchy and our favorite eating apple, and Cameos which are a little sweeter. Any opinions on which to use?

    1. Susan

      Can I just say here that substituting butter for margarine means using butter INSTEAD OF margarine. Probably not what was meant, and I know people are starting to use it this way, but it can be very confusing. You can replace butter with margarine it appears

    2. Miriam G

      I have successfully used Earth Balance vegan margarine for Tarte Tatin (Molly Wizenberg AKA Orangette’s recipe from her book A Homemade Life). Country Crock recently came out with some vegan margarines; I’ve used the olive oil one in baking, and perhaps the almond oil one would work well in this dish. Unfortunately, I haven’t found a great quality non-dairy puff pastry. Pepperidge Farms is ok, not wonderful. I’ve tried a middle eastern brand that was a little better (it was a little thicker and not dusted to death with flour), but I’ve only seen it in specialty markets in Southern California. I like Molly’s recipe a lot, so I’m looking forward to trying this one.

  10. I can tell I’m a true novice when it comes to being a ‘foodie’ when I read your blog and the comments, lol. I’ve never even heard of this desert before, let alone tried to make it. We grow our own apples though, and I think our golden delicious might hold up…
    thanks for letting me know who cooked all that wonderful food in Julie and Julia – truly amazing that you know her!!! Tell her she’s awesome next time you see her. Well… you’re amazing too, Deb. I am always amazed by your creativity and drive. THANKS for another thing to add to my list of tries… lol

  11. Amy

    Thank you! I can’t wait to make this for Thanksgiving. My question is: The tart tatin will need to be finished at least 6 hours before serving, possibly more than that. I cook all the desserts for the family, then transport them by bus or Lyft to a nearby suburb. Then dinner…then dessert. The problem is, should I flip and plate after 30-60 min, just before leaving (which could be hours later), or wait until ready to serve? The most convenient, and safest for transport would be to leave it in the pan until I get to their house–but will the caramel harden too much by then?
    P.s. I’m making several desserts, most of them from your recipes. ❤️ Lots of fabulous cooks in the family, but I’m the only enthusiastic baker.

  12. Marisa

    I made this last night with pink lady apples and it worked out perfectly. I used a pyrex pie dish and made the apple/caramel mixture a few hours in advance, then put the pastry on and put it in the oven to cook while we had dinner. It looked amazingly similar to the one in the photo and was enjoyed by all – even the cat managed a lick when he thought no one was looking! Thanks for a great recipe :)

  13. Sara

    Made this with grocery store Galas, turned out great! Thanks for inspiring me to try something totally new! Also appreciated your note about how long to cool it for – 30 minutes was perfect, the caramel stayed nicely in place.

  14. Kathleen

    We just watched a MasterChef where one of the challenges was tarte tartin, and then a week later watched Queer Eye where they made this, and now it’s here on your blog. I feel like the universe is telling me something!

  15. Tatyana

    Thank you for this gorgeous recipe! Made it last night for a dinner party and guests loved it! I used Pink Lady and Granny Smith and found that I preferred the tanginess of the Grannys in this tart. Mine were fresh and stood up better than the Pink Ladies after cooking. Thanks again, Deb! Wish I could attach a pic to show you how it turned out.

  16. Janet

    First time I ever made anything like this. The sugar did caramelize so fast! My burners aren’t the best because they get too hot, so I moved the skillet to my marble counter to calm everything down. The dog even scampered out of the kitchen. ;) The caramel syrup worked!

  17. Susan Y

    I made this with Goldrush apples from my local farmers market and they worked very well, but then this a wonderful apple that is great for both eating out of hand and baking. I made a half recipe and baked it in a small frying pan. Many years ago, after having my first tarte tatin in a small restaurant in Normandy, I tried repeatedly to make a halfway respectable version and failed miserably. The apples were always too pale, too thin, and didn’t taste like much. I followed this recipe pretty closely and the result looked just like Deb’s photo. The apples were perfectly tender and deliciously flavored with caramel. Thanks, Deb.

    1. Ruth

      I was going to suggest Goldrush. I now use them for all recipes calling for Golden Delicious, because they hold up in cooking/baking the way Golden Delicious do, but have much better flavor. And most French apple recipes seem to call for Golden Delicious.

  18. LitProf

    Deb, I conquered a lifetime of tarte tatin anxiety with this recipe. I bake all the time, but caramel makes me panic. I took a deep breath, read the whole post twice, and followed your instructions to the letter. My family devoured it the minute I flipped it over and revealed the beautiful cobbled top. Thank you as always for an amazing recipe that brightened the whole day!

  19. sweetmeggiejs

    Wow! This is incredible! Thanks for doing so much research on this, Deb!
    I used store-bought pink lady apples, and they worked beautifully. Nice and tart and apple-y. Came out perfectly in my deep dish pyrex pie plate. A few quick shakes when inverted over the plate, and all the apples fell into place. Stellar. I loooove sautéed apples, so this is pretty perfect for me. And because Trader Joe’s has all-butter puff pastry right now (so much cheaper than DuFour and so delicious), I think I’ll be making a lot more tarte tatin in the near future.

  20. Susan Leigh

    This is a delicious Tarte Tatin, I made it last night and it looked every bit as good as the picture and tasted as good as it looked.
    For those of us in the UK I used Braeburn apples.


  21. css

    Like many others, after reading that an apple might taste like it’s been napping in caramel my daughter and I couldn’t resist. We were happy how it looked (not as dark as yours pictured), but a little disappointed that it wasn’t caramel-y-er. We pictured little apples nesting in a caramel bath. Alas. Perhaps we should double the sugar /butter part if that’s our goal? Thoughts?

  22. Gerley

    I made this and it was too thin and too pale and the apples were wrong. All my fault probably but I wanted to troubleshoot.
    1. I am in Germany and I can’t find any of the mentioned apples here. (Pink Lady is available but I couldn’t find them)
    I saw Braeburn and Golden Delicious for other European success apples. Anyone have more experience with another one? I will try to get those next – who knew apples could be so complicated:)
    2. The apples tasted like apple but nothing like caramel and the whole pie tasted nothing like caramel. I realize my apples were wrong but maybe the flavor should have been different? I let it get quite dark so I felt good about the color any ideas?
    It definitely looked like it was a teensy but of caramel for so many apples. Or maybe with a better apple it’s not as diluted?
    3 I don’t own a heavy skillet like that, only a non stick. It’s also a little too small to hold all the apples. Do I have to buy a new skillet or can I work in batches?
    I don’t mean to sound like one of those nagging people who substitute everything and then complain about a recipe…I am fully aware that I did things wrong I just wanted to have some input of what to try next.

    1. deb

      Definitely no harm in making a 1-cup level of caramel next time just to see. Did the caramel run off or did it stay on top at all? How did the apples bake up? Sounds like you got the color right!

      1. Gerley

        There was a foto on Susan’s Instagram where I saw the amount of caramel she had on the apples up close. It looked nothing like mine, lol.
        I am starting to think that the caramel would have been enough had my apples not watered it down.But I will try two batches next time and then use 1/2 cup of sugar with each. It’s not like there can ever be too much caramel!! I will report if I make it successfully

  23. KJill

    I am so glad I am not the only one who gets frustrated with which apples are good for what. Good for cooking or baking they say – for flavor perhaps – but what I really want to know is how quickly something goes to mush or how much liquid the apples tend to release even if they do stand up. I scaled this back a little as I am cooking for two and use 2 pounds of Gala apples. I stood mine for 45 minutes and It came out just like the picture!! and tasted amazing!!! Next time I will take the time to make my own pastry, it is the only thing I can imagine doing to make it even better (although someones mention of a little bourbon intrigues)

  24. Chelsea

    We have a very prolific Granny Smith apple tree in our backyard, so all apple recipes use those apples. They didn’t turn to mush in the caramel, so I was encouraged. However, despite holding their shape in the finished product, they were the texture of apple sauce. Heed Deb’s advice: don’t use Granny Smith.

    My caramel didn’t come together well; I was nervous about overcooking it, so it wasn’t as dark as it could have been, and then the butter didn’t fully incorporate. Once the apples went in, it seemed to work itself out.

    After all of this, it came out of the pan beautifully, after TWO hours (my schedule demanded the delay). My family devoured it (thanks, whipped cream!) and I will try again one day with the right apples.

  25. Sarah Maloney

    Possible to make in advance and freeze, and defrost and warm up on day it’s needed?
    Yes, trying to plan ahead for thanksgiving!

  26. Stacey

    I insisted on making this on a school night and had to cut a few corners. Alice Waters says don’t worry about the apples getting brown (they are getting plenty brown in the caramel!), so I cut the lemon juice. Didn’t peel the apples and cut them into small chunks – cooked faster, no fancy nestling. I added a little salt to the caramel, like that contrast. I think the small apple pieces released more liquid into the caramel, it was quite watery there for a while but reduced down by the time the whole pile went into the skillet. The advice to leave it in the pan before flipping is key – I have been doing that part wrong for ten years. Outcome was fantastic – thanks for all your efforts to perfect and share the technique! My family inhaled it with a little sour cream and the kids only went to bed about 20 minutes late.

  27. Tasted lovely but was way too watery! I halved the recipe and used a smaller baking pan, so maybe that was the problem? I used regular galas, and the texture of the apples was lovely- no complaints there. I also waited an hour to flip. Maybe my caramel wasn’t thick enough, although it got quite dark and thick before adding the butter and apples. I think that if I make it again, I just won’t flip it at all! Then the pastry will stay crisp, and I won’t have to worry about the liquid. I’ll also stick to the smitten kitchen apple pies for “presentation” occasions, as those have never gone wrong.

  28. Explore with Erin

    Can you use normal sugar or substitue for brown sugar or stevia? I am so excited to make this. Our family is apple obsessed!

  29. Wow, looks really good. I would never have thought to put lemon in it. Have you tried your recipe with pears? Apparently that makes a good tarte tatin as well.
    I confess, I live in France so I’ve never tried to make a tarte tatin, it seemed simpler to buy it! But this actually looks quite manageable. thanks!

  30. Thank you so much for this recipe. I grew up in France and that’s a dessert my grandmother cooked for me quite often. I was looking for a recipe that was like hers and here I found yours that I tried and it tasted just like my childhood! thanks!!

  31. Sadie

    I made this with Empire apples, which turned out a little soft but still delicious (perhaps I cooked them too long on the stovetop). I also used a pate brisee pie crust and it worked well. My spouse deemed it the “best pie you’ve made this year” and we ate the entire thing in one afternoon.

  32. Oh my! Your Russian apple cake is my go-to snow-day treat with the kids (perfect with a nice cup of tea), but I may have to throw this one into the rotation now. Anything with apples is a hit in my house (thank goodness cause I have one picky eater kid, and one easy one), and these ingredients are easy to keep on hand. Thanks for making my winter just a tad easier!

  33. Hillary

    Question about how to make in advance, even if making just 6 hours in advance of serving for a dinner party. Do you wait to invert onto a rimmed plate? Do you reheat the pie plate to loosen the caramel and then invert onto cake plate? Does the cake plate need a rim?

  34. ILA

    I cut rather small one-thirds off each peeled apple, staying well away from the core to avoid having to trim the center of each chunk. In the time it takes to un-seize and cook the apple-caramel mxture in the pan, I microwave the rather generous cores (without stems and flies) for a few minutes, put them through a foodmill and enjoy my Cook’s Share of freshly made applesauce. . . and waste nothing.

  35. ILA

    Thank you for this revolutionry Tatin recipe! ILA so much better than the classic one(s)!!
    I now do the rather laborious apple-caramel pre-cooking the day before baking; arrange apples and caramel in a glass pie dish: more time to soak up flavour! Just before putting the pastry on, I nuke the dish for a few minutes to bring it up to baking speed.
    As to possibly preparing more chunks than will fit the pie dish: oh, what a great caramelly apple compote they do make!

  36. EC

    Made this last night for a dinner party and it was amazingly delicious. Multiple people asked for the recipe. Also, I never made anything like this before, so the detailed instructions were really useful. Used Gala apples and followed the recipe pretty exactly, except my pan was bigger so I actually used even more apples. But I found the amount of caramel to just right for me. Thanks!!

  37. ILA

    Fighting the bane of all tartes Tatin: too much liquid – even in SK’s new, ever-so-much-better version, I now half-sauté the apples in the caramel the day before, let them macerate. This pulls out more liquid from the apples before they are put into the pie dish. (It also makes it easier to fill the dish chockfull, even piled up a bit.) I then simmer the caramel-juice mix until thick and pour it over the apples before, eventually, putting on the crust and baking. No matter how long the tarte is left to cool, it always unmolds perfectly, with the apples’ pectin keeping the shape beautifully.

  38. Deb, did you run into any issues with soggy pastry when you were playing with this recipe? I made it today — the apples were perfectly cooked, and the pastry was well baked (I cut into it a bit after it cooled to peek). I waited an hour before flipping it out, and it was well set. But when we ate it 90 mins later the crust has become a soggy, compressed mass. I’m wondering whether I was foolish to turn it out so long before we ate, or maybe the crust wasn’t as well baked as I thought. Just wondering if you have any insight to share. Thanks!

    1. deb

      Absolutely. It happens when the pastry isn’t brown enough, or when the filling is runnier. Puffed pastry is finicky like that. A pie crust base instead definitely stays more crisp, but it looks less dramatic.

      1. Thanks, that should be helpful to know the next time I make it. I don’t have much experience working with puff pastry, but I’ve been having fun making the pastry and learning as I go. The apples and caramel were delicious, though. I added a bit of finely chopped rosemary and lemon zest to the caramel.

  39. Michelle

    I made this with a mix of Pink Lady and Bramley apples. The Pink Lady apples cooked up perfectly; the Bramleys were quite pleasantly tart, but not as nice texturally, perhaps because the pieces were bigger. They did remain intact, but I’m not sure I’d use them again.

    Also, I cooked my sugar to “dark amber”, but after tasting it and reviewing your pictures, I think “dark amber” is a shade too far – there was a hint of bitterness in the final tart, but nothing that whipped cream couldn’t fix.

    I turned the tart out after almost two hours of resting – the pan was still slightly warm to the touch, so I took a chance without putting it back in the oven. It unmolded perfectly, with no runny caramel. Thanks so much for such a detailed recipe – I’ll definitely be making this again!

  40. Rebecca

    I made this for a Friendsgiving and I’m not sure what happened but it didn’t deliver the flavor we were expecting. I followed the recipe to a T but the caramel flavor did not come through, and the puff pastry seemed to steam rather than bake. My friends oven run hot so not sure what the issue was. It sure did look cute though.

  41. Sengkelat

    I was a little skeptical of the reduced amounts of butter and sugar compared to Molly’s recipe, and when I make this again I’ll be trying 1c sugar and 5 1/3 tbsp butter for more intense caramel flavor, and maybe upping the butter even further to full Molly-recipe levels. I also may have over-appled mine, using a little over 3.5 lbs Pink Lady apples. In future I’ll stop adding apples when they make a single layer in my 12″ pan. It still turned out well though, just a little less caramel flavor than I’d like. And, I’ve been using Granny Smiths for this forever and they always got mushy; I had no idea I was using the wrong apple! The Pink Ladies came out so much better, with each apple clearly distinguishable.
    I also used regular pie dough as the crust, which came out fine, though since I made this a day in advance I wish I hadn’t also flipped it a day in advance. The pie crust was fine, but was damp in the way that bottom crusts on pies typically are. And in future I’ll have to try the extra-flaky recipe.
    I really like in this recipe that you aren’t applying your crust to a scalding-hot pan; that was always a little too exciting for me.
    Anyway, this recipe is a definite improvement and I’ll be using it from now on. Thanks, Deb!

  42. Gerley

    I finally made this to resemble what you described: the apples actually tasted of caramel and they had a nice coppery tone. Biggest takeaways: Cutting larger pieces and using cast iron to bake. My biggest issue (and one I saw in the comments, too) was too much liquid. It dilutes the caramel flavor and makes the pie soggy.
    1) I cut most of apples in half rather than thirds. I couldn’t believe how much less liquid they produced. The caramel stayed sirupy and thick and coated the apples well.
    2) I used a dutch oven to bake it rather than a standard pie dish. Its not ideal because of the high rim but I don’t want to buy a cast iron skillet just for this recipe. This was a good solution though because so.much.more.liquid boiled off in cast iron than the standard pie dish. Because of the high rim and less heat getting to the bottom I will consider leaving it in the oven for 5-10 min longer. Or maybe putting it on the floor of the oven first and browning the pastry under the broiler later.
    It was a sirupy caramely delight and not a runny mess like the last two times.
    I love this recipe because it’s so simple and I can even remember it off the top of my head that I would consider this a standard repertoire kind of dessert. With these tweaks it finally seems foolproof!

  43. I looked at your post amazing I get a lot of knowledge information about this post my wife is requesting me for pizza so I ask my friends to tell me which one is the best pizza place so he recommends me to taste Milano pizza.

  44. Meredith

    Like so many others here, I followed all the directions, cut my apples in thirds, and could have cooked the caramel a little darker, but otherwise did everything as listed, and when I flipped it after waiting more than an hour, the caramel ran out into a puddle on the floor. What I was able to catch in a cup tasted like apple cider, not caramel. The finished product tastes very lovely, but not like caramel. What did I do wrong?

    1. deb

      It’s not a very sweet dessert in general, but it is possible going forward to make it with more sugar if you’d like the caramel flavor more present; it’s as simple as using 1 cup of sugar and up to 5T butter. Hope that helps.

    2. Gerley

      In my comment above I described the same problem and for me these things helped: Cutting less apples in thirds and leaving more halves resulted in less moisture overall. I skipped the lemon juice and I cooked off some of the liquid after removing the apples and then used cast iron(better heat conductor) and not a standard pie dish. The first tries were exactly like yours ( apple cider !) only after reducing moisture overall did I get that concentrated caramel flavor and consistency.

  45. leah

    Made this last night. I added a pinch of salt and for some reason did not see the lemon juice in the printed recipe. Anyhoo! It was delicious! It was so good, I smooshed a slice into my oatmeal this morning. And it was beautiful. Perfect, indeed!

  46. macfadden

    I was following the recipe carefully, but something went wrong when I added the cold butter. It never mixed with the melted sugar, despite my furious whisking. It just turned into very hard clumps. I’m not sure what I did wrong, but to avoid doing it again, I dug out my Cook’s Illustrated cookbook, which recommends melting the butter first, stirring in the sugar and cooking it until it turns golden (it’s not liquid at this point), and then putting in the apples, and heating it all together so the caramel slowly is formed around the apples. This worked out well for me; the crumbly caramel issue did not roar its head again. With the apples cooked in the caramel on the stove, I went back to your recipe and put everything in a pie pan to bake. It turned out delicious.

    1. Jessie Reuteler

      Thank you very much!!! I tried the recipe twice, and got hardened clumps both times. Looking forward to trying your suggestion.

      1. Jessie Reuteler

        Sad (embarrassed?) to report that I still couldn’t get the caramel to come together this way. The apples were tender and sweet, but a liquidy mess. Still delicious, though!

  47. Greyson

    I made this with pink lady apples and it was amazing! My caramel also got very thin after adding the apples. Once the apples were cooked, I arranged them in the pie dish and cooked down the caramel just a little more (on low heat), and added an extra tablespoon of butter to cool it down again. I also added sea salt and vanilla to the caramel. After letting the tart cool for about an hour and a half, it came out perfectly with only a small amount of caramel spilling.

  48. Carrie

    Made this for Christmas dinner dessert, after following a different recipe with mixed success over the past 20 years. Prepped the apples and moved into second pan day before. Put into hot oven for ~15 minutes on day of, then added pastry and cooked another ~20 minutes. Turned out perfectly.

  49. rhoda

    It would be so so great if you made a video or provided some photos to accompany this recipe.
    – Smitten w Smitten Kitchen!

  50. Hannah Wachs

    Mine remained very, very wet after cooling. What did I do wrong? This was a tremendous amount of work to have it turn out so poorly. I used gala apples.

  51. Just made this for lunch and it was by far the best (and better-looking) Tatin I’ve ever made! Used granny smiths. Just had issues with a soggy pastry base, but I think bits because I made the pie a few hours in advance (even if I flipped it just before serving).
    Next time I’ll prep the apple-caramel before, and add the pastry lid just before cooking.

  52. Michelle

    Used Fuji apples and was able to fit 8 in! I followed the directions exactly and even when the caramel seized up after the apples went in and it felt wrong, just keep at it. It will work out! I probably cooked the apples on the stove top longer than I should, but they still held their shape really well. I Was nervous about them being crunchy. I upped the sugar to 1 cup and butter to 5 TBSP based on the suggestion in other comments and I don’t regret it at all! It came out Caramely and picture perfect! Thanks for the advice on how to nestle the apples properly for the perfect cobblestone tarte tatin!

  53. camillasanderson

    Just made this with Pink Ladies and it turned out delicious… AND I’m wondering if anyone has used maple syrup instead of sugar? I think I’ll try that next time…

  54. Sujatha

    I made this ALMOST exactly as written, timings were perfect, but I added a little orange extract to the caramel after i had taken out the apples into my pie dish. When I flipped it after waiting 53 minutes, the caramel was really watery and just spilled out over the counter. Did the extract cause that or did I do something else wrong? I know caramel is very finicky, I am kicking myself!! Deb your recipes are always spot on, I should not have strayed 😫

      1. Sujatha

        Thanks Deb 😊
        I thought I waited long enough but the pan was still slightly warm. I actually flipped it over my counter, so the juices spilled there — quick, while my husband wasn’t looking, I just swiped all the juices off the counter and back onto the pie. Your instructions for the apples made it look impressive. And my family loved it, there was only a tiny piece left this AM. Perfect dessert for when flour is in short supply! Thanks again!🙌🏽

  55. Nina in Zurich

    Finally the PERFECT tarte tatin recipe! Tart apples (I used Pink Lady), heavenly caramel. I confess, I was momentarily discouraged when I put the butter into the melted sugar and suddenly had hard clumps. But trust in Deb! As I continued to cook it gently, everything smoothed out beautifully. Thank you, Deb, for this lovely recipe!

  56. James in NZ

    Thanks for the comment re Granny Smiths—I used them to make a Tarte Tatin recently and they fell to mush (and they’re in season here now in New Zealand). I’m going to try this with Galas or something else and see if it turns out better!

  57. KristiL

    HOLY COW! Made this tonight, and I can’t believe that it was so easy!! I’ve been wanting to make a Tarte Tatin forever but was scared. With this recipe, I’m no longer scared of it! It was so beautiful. Thanks for a great recipe, Deb!

  58. Dalena

    I thought the caramel level in this was perfect! I’ve never made caramel before but your instructions made it easy. The little droplets I made while testing the color set up crunchy and tasted just like Werther’s candies. Plenty sweet for us, and set off nicely with the unsweetened whipped cream. Yes my caramel was runny, but I tucked my pastry in quite a bit, which, while a little less pretty, meant all the sauce was caught. There is probably some trick to getting it to gel more since it was still a bit runny when cool, but no complaints here at all. A lovely dessert, fun, and easy with the instant crust. Thanks, Deb!

  59. Katie

    Last year I made tarte Tatin from one of your other recipes (it was fantastic). Last night, I used this recipe and it’s absolutely perfect. I love the additional tips you provide. A wonderful classic dessert. The French, man. They get it! Thanks for breaking it down for the home cooks.

  60. Hannah

    I have never had tarte tatin before, but this was pretty delicious. I made this with honeycrisp apples.

    The caramel got to the hard ball stage, and then dissolved again in the apple juices. The end result was a dissolved caramel flavor, but not a gooey caramel or a hard caramel glaze. Is either of those what’s supposed to happen?

    I was worried the puff wasn’t cooked through, so I ended up leaving it in the oven an extra 15 minutes. I also cooked it on the stove about ~10 minutes longer due to the giant apples I used not seeming 3/4 cooked through, and some clumps of sugar needing to dissolve. The apples held up a shape though they were not as distinctly cobblestoney as Deb’s pics. And they were very soft.

    Next time I’ll cook less for sure!

    I also tucked all the extra puff pastry in the corners, and just sliced off the long end of the rectangle and added it to the short end to make my pastry a little more square per youtube videos. No one would possibly notice the crust was lightly pieced together.

    Thanks for all the instructions! They definitely gave me the courage to make this.

  61. jessica

    i made this tonight in a 10 inch cast iron pan with 8 pink lady apples from the grocery store & they worked just fine.

    a few things i would do differently:
    1. medium high heat for the caramel resulted in the sugar nearly burning in a hot spot but the rest not melting at all. eventually i got it together and it worked out, but next time, on my stove, i would make the caramel on medium & move the pan every minute or so
    2. i used dufour puff pastry and it was puffed and golden after 30 minutes, but it probably could have done with another five or ten minutes so it didn’t go soggy immediately after flipping. i waited 90 minutes & flipped immediately before serving, but my caramel was very liquidy. i saved it in a mason jar & am thinking of trying to reduce it further to serve with the leftovers.
    3. we’re not a large family so next time i would make it half the size, in my 8 inch cast iron pan, maybe? i think i would then flip it maybe into a 9 inch pie plate for ease of storing leftovers & re-heating. speaking of, how on earth do you re-heat this? crust side up or down? oven or stovetop?
    4. i added fleur de sel and vanilla to the caramel & it was delicious, but i might add cinnamon & bourbon next time, too. and maybe cinnamon with the apples bc i really love apples and cinnamon
    5. i think mine looks exactly like yours here & in the instagram video, but my caramel was very thin & i def want it much thicker next time. i now also feel i must make again v soon. not because i want to eat it, but because i want it to come out perfectly 😉

  62. Ariana

    Love this recipe! It works so well!

    I have made it twice – once with apples and once with with asian pears – works beautifully with both.

  63. Janine Huber

    Just made this with smallish Honeycrisp apples- worked perfectly! A few stayed in the pan, but as stated, you can just pop them right into the correct space on the crust. Rave reviews, and demolished by 4 adults and one child.

  64. Liv

    Bit of a strange question here, but I’m wondering if anyone has had success with used pre-made caramel?

    I tried the Apple Cider Caramels last week and while it was probably the best thing I’ve ever tasted when warm, when it had cooled I realized that something went wrong (I don’t think I heated hot/long enough after the addition of cream). So I have a small jar (maybe 6oz?) of poury caramel in my fridge. I doubt Julia Child would approve, but on the other hand, I’m reading quite a few comments saying that the tart wasn’t caramel-y enough for folks.

  65. Cecile

    Love it! I was always told to put everything in the pan and straight into the oven. Making the caramel first this way turned out beautifully! Thank you for the tips.

  66. Alex

    I made this using grannie smith apples because I didn’t read the full recipe before buying ingredients. (And it is a wonderful recipe) One apple did mush a bit but I really enjoyed the tart apple in the finished tarte. I also went a little dark with my caramel and that burnt sugar flavor was perfect. I think that might be the key to getting the caramel flavor.

  67. Linda

    I have made Julia Child’s recipe for Tarte Tatin for years. So delicious, but always the same problems: runny caramel and a bit of a mess as the pan was too small to cook the apples. This version using larger chunks of apple and two pans is genius. I used a mix of Golden Delicious and Gala. Perfect, beautiful result. My husband thanks you. He will now have more Tarte Tatin in his life.

  68. Fantastic recipe. It eliminates all the tricky bits of making tarte tatin. Easy and amazing – my favorite combination.

    It also taught me a new way to make caramel sauce. I have always used a small deep pot to melt the sugar. It’s been a nightmare. I can’t see into the depths of the pot, so don’t know exactly when the caramel is exactly the right color. So I generally either burn it or take it off before it’s done. Making it in a large frying pan is absolutely foolproof. I could see exactly what color the caramel was the whole time so I knew exactly when to throw in the butter. Thanks so much for going to the work it took to find the very best recipe.

  69. Mimi Iijima

    I’ve always been intimidated by pastry-making and anxious about trying to bake a tarte tatin, but this recipe helped me make a great one on my very first try!! Thanks so much for the clear guidance!!

    I used a mix of Ambrosia and Fuji apples. The extra flaky crust recipe is a lot like Stella Park’s no-nonsense yummy pie crust. Both recipes make great crusts achievable by all!!

  70. Terri W

    If I make this in advance, should I leave it in the original pie pan while it’s in the fridge, then re-warm it in the oven and THEN invert it onto a serving platter? Or should I invert it first, and then refrigerate it?

    Also, how far in advance can I make it? The day before? Two days before? Thanks

  71. Ciana

    This came out picture-perfectly, and it’s the first time I’ve ever attempted the Tarte Tatin. I used Braeburn apples (7 of them, large, which wasn’t quiiiiite enough even though the final tarte looked fine). I served it with vanilla ice cream, which was actually way too much sugar. Should’ve taken your creme fraiche/whipped cream suggestion! Oh, and in the step where you cook the liquified sugar into a dark amber color, I had to turn my stove to medium-high, not medium-low otherwise it was just sitting there getting hard (but I guess that’s just my stove, it’s an induction stove). Thank you so much for the recipe and explanation.

  72. Marc

    I made this, and it came out perfectly except that it was too watery. Has anyone experienced this, is it because I use too many apples? I was able to fit eight apples in mine. Maybe I would try sprinkling a tablespoon of flour next time before I put it in the oven?

  73. toss

    OK. I have trouble with the caramelised sugar. The recipe I’ve followed is Felicity Cloake

    She says add 50ml water to sugar and “cook over a medium heat until golden and fudgy.” Trouble;e is my sugar stays white, water boils off and sugar sticks to pan. It NEVER even begins to colour.

    But you just put sugar in pan, apply medium high heat but no water?

    Any suggestions?

    1. Adding water to sugar is supposed to make it easier to caramelize, but it makes it harder because the sugar will not caramelize until all the water has evaporated. And it sounds like you’re stirring the sugar too much.

      My suggestion is to practice melting sugar by putting a small amount, about 1/4 cup, in an 8 inch nonstick light colored frying pan. Don’t add any water.

      Shake the pan to distribute the sugar evenly on the bottom and turn on the heat to medium low.

      Don’t stir the sugar, just watch it as it starts to melt.

      Shake the pan a little to mix the melted and unmelted sugar. Then watch as more melts and the melted sugar starts to color.

      This exercise will give you a feel for what you’re looking for. You want all the sugar to melt and turn dark amber without burning. You’ll be tempted to think it’s finished before it is but be patient. It should have a rich smell but not a burnt smell when it’s done.

    2. deb

      There are dry caramels (what I show here) and wet ones (with water, as you link to) and they have exactly the same results. I find dry ones easier to make; you don’t have to stress over crystallization. If you find wet ones easier, no reason not to add water here.

  74. Thank you so much, after years of my own Tatin mediocrity, I successfully made your recipe, or variations on it, 7 times. Long story, it was partly for work, partly for my own edification. I lived in France most of my life and really want to master the skill to make this dish confidently for my French friends.
    – What I love about your version: the caramel proportions and instructions are perfect, and cooking the apples in caramel lets you control the caramelization and see how much moisture they release. If it looks too liquid, remove the apples and cook juices some more. Also I love the tip about letting the tart cool before flipping it. Of course! So much better when the juices have thickened.
    – What I would change: I squeeze even more apples into the dish, standing them up on their sides and overlapping well. 8 is a minimum for my 24 cm pan (9 1/2 inches), I usually use 9. I would replace the puff pastry with a fairly thick “pâte brisée” or regular pie crust. It’s a rustic tart, not fancy, and the puff pastry gets soggy quickly and disappears under the hefty apple pieces. I also felt I had to bake the tart longer than 30 minutes with the crust on, sometimes up to 45 minutes. It’s good to check the bubbling juices to see if they are thick and brown before removing the tart from the oven.
    – Finally a tip: I found it works well to cook the apples the night before, arrange them in the caramel in the pie pan and refrigerate. Then the next day check them. If they have released a lot of juice, stick them in the oven for 15 min? before adding the crust and finishing the baking.
    – Apple varieties: I tested the recipe with Pink Ladies and with Golden Delicious apples. Also another variety that was very small, I think called Milwa, found here in Switzerland, and supposedly good for baking. I thought because they were smaller they would nestle more attractively in the pan, but they released a ton of juice, maybe because of their size, so the result wasn’t as shiny and brown. I am a Pink Lady fan.

  75. Stacey

    I’d like to try using apples from our tree, but I don’t know what they are and I’ve never baked with them. (They’re firm and very tart.) Is there any way to test whether they’d fall to mush without wasting a lot of other ingredients to find out? E.g., bake one at x degrees for y minutes to see if it retains its structure?

  76. Jade

    I made this yesterday with store-bought Pink Lady apples and it turned out great.
    The only note is that if I were to make again, I would do so with the increased caramel measurements out of personal preference. But it was still delicious as is. I am NOT experienced in making pastry/dessert items, and Deb’s steps made the process so straightforward and easy. I was so pleasantly surprised how well it turned out, and I have the confidence now to tackle more pie recipes. Thank you, Deb!

  77. Emalee

    Made this today, just ate (a bunch of) it, and I find that I wanted either some salt in the caramel, or another element because I found it was very sweet. Delicious though. My husband tells me “I still vote apple crisp” every time I make an apple dessert that is NOT crisp…..but he agreed that this was good, and also more visually impressive than crisp.
    Also, it wasn’t that hard!

  78. Sally

    I like the tip about letting the tart si so that the juices can thicken up. I remember ( will never forget) inverting the tart and hot appley caramel running down my arms!

  79. PJ

    I made this recipe but wanted to do a “test” run so I divided everything by 4 and did a 1-portion, small ramekin. It came out very pretty so my only issue was that there was a lot of liquid. I didn’t flip it over for 2 hours. When I did, it came out like a puddle. It was fine b/c I just plated it on a new plate and left the puddle behind. But did I do something wrong? The colour is perhaps on the lighter side but within the acceptable range, and the texture of the apples and pastry were also good. Thanks.

  80. Anne-Laure

    I am from France and this is the one dish that has been passed down from my mother to me. It was my birthday “cake” every year growing up. I have spent hours with her also trying to perfect this temperamental pie. I know she used a different apple variety in France that oddly came from Canada but that we’ve never been able to find here and anyway I’ve forgotten what’s it’s called. Once we moved to the states her mission was to find a replacement. Golden delicious 🤤

  81. Jess

    Why does my caramel keep hardening? I have tried this twice now and am getting discouraged. After I added the apples the second time (first time it hardened before apples were added) the caramel was hard and never softened back up.



  82. Sophia

    I’ve been meaning to make this recipe for months. When I saw McIntosh apples on sale near me, I had a wild hair and impulse-bought three pounds to make the tarte. I’ve never cooked or baked with this variety and didn’t know anything about them when I bought them (I regret not taking 10 seconds to Google them in the store). Anyways, I have since learned that this recipe is AMAZING and extremely well written, but my impulse purchase was not-so-amazing. McIntosh apples will collapse and turn your tarte tatin into a heap of caramel apple sauce on a bed of flaky pastry (which we still enjoyed!)

  83. Tiza London

    Looks great! Question:

    Can you make the apple part the day before and then place in the intended pan and refrigerate? The next day, would you then reheat the pan before placing the pastry dough on top?

    Once baked, how long can this tart stay out and still be great in terms of textures?


  84. Anna

    I’ve made this to faultless perfection several times, and now find myself daydreaming of these flavors with peaches to try to make summer last a little longer — do you think it would work, or would the difference in texture be too tricky to pull off?

  85. eric

    i love tarte tatin and have used several recipes and methods in the past. this might be the most straightforward and clearest of all. it is the only one that started with making the caramel instead of sauteeing the apples with butter and sugar, then cooking down the liquid for a caramel before arranging the appples. i used a whole wheat pie dough as recommended in another recipe–i think it adds something special. thank you for sharing this one.

  86. Esvee

    After years of contemplating this recipe, I tried to make it for thanksgiving. It didn’t turn out but I will try again!
    It took close to 10 minutes for my sugar to turn dark amber, and I wonder if this was the root of all the problems. When I stirred in the butter, it melted very quickly, then everything seized up (I’ve never made candy, but I wonder if this was hard ball stage?). I forged ahead, hoping that it would liquify into beautiful caramel, stirred in the apples and cooked them for ten minutes. The butter and sugar stayed seized up, so the apples weren’t coated. At this point I decided to ditch the tarte tatin plan, sliced up the apples some more, tossed the balls of brown sugar/butter, and made a galette of sorts with the puff pastry and the apples. Which was pretty yummy! I’d love to try this again, but where did I go wrong? Deb, your recipes never fail me, so I still have hope!

  87. Sarah

    This was very good! Loved the technique ! I have made tarte tatin many times over the years, but this was really good and very pretty. My only issue was that the caramel did seize up…most of it relaxed into a sauce, but I had 2 chunks I didn’t put into the final product . Thanks Deb for the details on the technique !

  88. Christine

    I made this last year as requested by my chef sister in law who doesn’t do dessert. “Tart WHAT?”, I said…so I searched for recipes and since you are my go-to for recipes that are well researched and well annotated and have great photos and all kinds of hints so everything comes out perfect, this is the one I made. It came out AMAZING!!! Beautiful to look at and to eat! I made it again for a dinner party we hosted, again, a huge hit. And guess what, this year we are going to my sister in law’s again, and guess what she asked for…I am familiarizing myself with the recipe as we speak. We are in North Jersey and have a local farm where I can buy the best apples from their orchard, so I will once again be using a combination of Fuji and Gala. Thanks Deb! Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving