This Apple Tarte Tatin is what Francophile dreams are made of! It has buttery puff pastry cooked to perfection, deep caramelized apples, and is flambéed just because!
In America the apple Tarte Tatin usually gets outshined by its flamboyant cousin, the apple pie, but I would argue she deserves just as much spotlight! Let me list her best qualities for you, shall I? Then I think you’ll agree.
Caramel + Apples. Can’t argue with that pairing, and Apple Tarte Tatin is like the OG caramel apple dessert.
It’s French, and there is very little that I wouldn’t give to be in France right now. So any small piece of France that I can replicate here, is a no brainer!
It looks complicated but, in fact, it is fairly simple. Far simpler than an apple pie in my professional opinion! Trust me, I have apple pies coming out my ears! Especially if you don’t make your own puff pastry…more on that later.
It is made in one dish!
It is approximately 5 times faster to make than an apple pie!
And you get to show off your mad skills by flipping it out onto a plate with a grand flourish!
Et voilà! A showstopper!
The first time I made a Tarte Tatin was in culinary school. You can see a little picture of it here! Before that one I had never been too impressed by the dessert. You name a French bistro or café in Paris, and I could tell you a story about how sad their tarte tatin was. Mealy, over cooked, under caramelized, soggy bottoms. You name it, color me unimpressed!
But this one, guys, this one is a stunner. Deep rich caramel, perfectly cooked apples, and buttery puff pastry! Gangs all here!
Let’s briefly chat about Apple Tarte Tatin success:
- It’s all in apples: choose your apples wisely because they are going to be cooked far more intensely than in an apple pie. You want to choose firm, fresh apples that don’t have a tendency to get mealy (I’m lookin’ at you, Macintosh👀). I also prefer apples that are on the tart side because of all the caramel they are going to be hanging with. Think Honeycrisp, gala, crispin, crimson crisp, or ginger gold.
- All the rules of Puff apply, but mainly keep it cold! You have the additional challenge of putting cold puff on cooked caramel apples, so just be patient. It is important to wait until the apples cool to room temperature before adding the puff and baking. Preserve the layers!
- A cast-iron skillet will give you a more even caramel and a better-looking tarte but any heavy-bottomed skillet will do. All-Clad works well.
- It is best the day it’s made. I know, I know. I promise that it is easy enough that you can pull it off at the last minute! Have everything ready and wow your family and friends with your French pastry skills.
- Make sure your caramel is dark enough! Take that to a medium amber or your Tarte Tatin will just be sweet.
- Bonus points if you make your own puff pastry! Here is my recipe. You can make it ahead and freeze it in sheets, which is what you see that I have done in the video!
- The flambée isn’t required but it is fun and it adds another depth of flavor. I used apple brandy but you could also use traditional brandy, Cointreau, Calvados, or really any alcohol that suits your fancy.