An illustrative step-by-step guide to a classic Tarte Tatin recipe. The first step shows the gathering of ingredients, such as apples, sugar, butter, and pastry. The second illustrates the caramelizing of sugar and butter in a pan. The third step demonstrates the addition of apples. The fourth step is the covering of caramelized apples with the pastry and the resulting rounded edge tart. Lastly, the fifth step reveals the carefully flipped tart showing beautifully caramelized apples on top, with a serving utensil beside it on a rustic wooden table.

Introduction to Classic Tarte Tatin

The Tarte Tatin, with its caramelized fruits and flaky pastry crust, stands as a timeless testament to the beauty of French cuisine. This beloved dessert, often made with apples but also adaptable to other fruits, marries simplicity with elegance, making it a favorite in households and restaurants worldwide. The story of its creation, its global recognition, and the variations it has inspired make the Tarte Tatin not just a dish but a narrative of culinary serendipity and creativity.

History of the Tarte Tatin

The origin of the Tarte Tatin is often traced back to the late 19th century in Lamotte-Beuvron, France. It is said to be an accidental creation by the Tatin sisters, Caroline and Stéphanie, who ran the Hotel Tatin. The story goes that Stéphanie, who was overworked, accidentally left apples cooking in sugar and butter for too long. In a haste to salvage the dessert, she covered the caramelized apples with pastry and put the pan in the oven. She served it upside down to her guests, who were reportedly delighted with the result. This serendipitous mistake gave birth to what is now known globally as the Tarte Tatin.

Today, the Tarte Tatin is celebrated far beyond its origins in Lamotte-Beuvron, revered for its rich caramel, tender fruit, and crisp pastry. Its fame is such that various regions and chefs have offered their takes on the classic, making it a versatile dish that continues to inspire.

Classic Tarte Tatin Recipe: A Step-by-Step Guide

Making a classic Tarte Tatin involves caramelizing fruit (traditionally apples) in butter and sugar, then covering it with pastry and baking until the pastry is golden. The tart is then inverted before serving, revealing a beautifully caramelized top.


  • 6-8 medium apples (preferably a mix of tart and sweet, like Granny Smith and Golden Delicious)
  • 115g unsalted butter
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
  • 1 sheet of puff pastry, rolled to fit your pan


  1. Preheat your oven to 190°C (375°F).
  2. Peel, core, and halve your apples.
  3. In a 9-inch (23 cm) ovenproof skillet or tarte Tatin dish, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the sugar and stir until the mixture becomes a golden caramel. If using, stir in the vanilla extract.
  4. Arrange the apple halves round side down in the caramel. Cook over low heat for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are tender.
  5. Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Arrange the apples as needed to fill in gaps.
  6. Place the puff pastry over the apples, tucking in the edges around the apples.
  7. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
  8. Let the tart cool for a few minutes before placing a large plate on top of the pan. Carefully flip the pan to invert the tart onto the plate.
  9. Serve warm, ideally with a dollop of crème fraîche or vanilla ice cream.

Alternative Tarte Tatin Recipes

  • Pear Tarte Tatin: Substitute apples with ripe but firm pears for a delightful twist on the classic.
  • Savory Tomato Tarte Tatin: Use tomatoes instead of fruit and substitute sugar with a blend of balsamic vinegar and honey for a savory version that’s perfect as an appetizer or light meal.
  • Banana Tarte Tatin: Swap apples for bananas and add a sprinkle of cinnamon to the caramel for a deliciously tropical variant.

FAQs about Tarte Tatin

Can I make Tarte Tatin ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the Tarte Tatin a few hours ahead and gently reheat it in the oven before serving.

What apples are best for Tarte Tatin?

Use a combination of tart and sweet apples like Granny Smith and Golden Delicious for a balanced flavor.

Can Tarte Tatin be frozen?

While you can freeze Tarte Tatin, it’s best enjoyed fresh to maintain the texture of the pastry and caramelized fruit.

Is it necessary to use a Tarte Tatin dish?

While a traditional Tarte Tatin dish is ideal, any ovenproof skillet of the right size will work.

Can I use store-bought puff pastry?

Absolutely, store-bought puff pastry works well and saves time, making this classic dessert more accessible.


The Tarte Tatin, with its rich history and delightful flavors, remains a beloved classic that invites both tradition and innovation. Whether you adhere to the traditional apple recipe or explore savory and fruit variants, this dish will undoubtedly bring a touch of French elegance to your table. We hope this guide inspires you to try your hand at this timeless dessert and perhaps even create your own variations. Share your experiences, tips, or any questions in the comments below—we’d love to hear about your culinary adventures with Tarte Tatin.