Classic Apple Tart Tatin is the classic French upside down apple tart cooked in caramelized brown sugar.  This is delicious, rustic dessert that will really wow the crowd!

Slice of apple tart tatin on plate with whipped cream on top

We’re on the Thanksgiving home stretch, and while I really wanted to get this to you waaaayyy back in September, this Classic Apple Tart Tatin is a perfect dessert for T-Day.  🙂

You’re familiar with Tart Tatin right?  If so, you know it’s a classic French dessert that came about by mistake.  Apparently a French hotel owner put her popular apple tart in the oven the wrong way around (this sounds like something I might do), and it turned out even better.  Imagine…chunky apples cooked in caramelized sugar that’s covered in a buttery pastry crust? That’s exactly what this tart is, and it’s melt in your mouth delicious.

Apple tart tatin on serving plate

This recipe was adapted from one I got at culinary school, and it was one of our favorites.  Each time it was served at lunch for our guests, it had that major WOW factor.  It’s flipped upside down onto a serving platter when it’s piping hot, resulting in a large amount of oooh’s and aaah’s.  Flipping a hot tart might give you a bit of anxiety, but trust me, it really is easy!  In fact, this entire dessert is easier than apple pie. 🙂

I used my Quick and Easy Flaky Pie Crust recipe here, which I like to make in advance and store in the fridge until the apples are ready to go.

And now, it’s time for the apples. 🙂

Apple tart tatin process collage 1

You need about 2 1/2 lbs. of apples, and you can use your favorite baking variety or combination of them.  I use half Granny Smith and half Pink Lady apples, which was the perfect tart-sweet combo.

I’ve made this tart a couple of times, and I honestly liked it better when the apples were in larger chunks than shown here (the apples were quartered) because they held their shape better.  For this particular tart tatin, I sliced them in chunky 2″ slices.

Apple tart tatin process collage 2

Next, you place half of the sugar and some butter on the bottom of the skillet (I used brown sugar for more flavor) so it will get nice and caramelized, then pack the apples in top sides down, top with the rest of the sugar, and dots of butter.  Cook on high for about 5 minutes covered and the sugar will be nice and bubbly as shown in the second photo.  Continue to cook an additional 10-15 minutes until the sugar is nice and caramelized and the apples have softened some.  You can move the apples around as they shrink down so they’re nice and packed in.

Apple tart tatin process collage 3

Next, let the apples cool while you roll out your dough and preheat the oven.  If your dough was refrigerated for some time, it may need to sit at room temperature until it’s roll-able.  Place the dough over the warm apples and cut the excess off with a knife or kitchen sheers.  Tuck the ends of the crust in around the edges — there’s no fancy crimping here!

Bake the tart until the crust is golden brown, or about 30 minutes, and then comes the fun part….you get to flip it. 🙂

Apple tart tatin on white pedestal

If there are some pieces of apple stuck to the pan, just get them out and place them on the tart.  This is a rustic dish, so no matter if it doesn’t look “perfect”.  I promise it will taste perfect, and that’s what matters!

I love this Classic Apple Tart Tatin because it’s apple pie without the fuss.  It’s rustic and approachable, yet still elegant and exciting.  I mean, caramelized apples is always exciting for me. 🙂

Slice of apple tart tatin on a plate

If you do plan to make this for Thanksgiving, you can place this in the oven 30 minutes before dessert time, flip it, and serve it.  You could make it ahead, but you’d need to re-warm it on the stove top to loosen up all those sugars for successful flipping.

Serve this Classic Apple Tart Tatin warm as-is, with ice cream, or may I recommend some vanilla whipped cream?  I definitely recommend the whipped cream. 🙂

Slice of apple tart tatin on a plate with whipped cream on top

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Slice of apple tart tatin on plate with whipped cream on top

Classic Apple Tarte Tatin

Classic apple tarte tatin is the classic upside down French apple tart cooked in caramelized brown sugar. This is a delicious, rustic dessert that will really wow the crowd!

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  • 1 batch Flaky pie crust or one store bought 9" pie crust
  • 2 1/2 lbs. pink lady apples peeled, cored and quartered (or use your favorite baking apples)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar


  • Prepare the pie crust ahead, and form it into a flattened disk. Wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it a minimum of 30 minutes before rolling.
  • Place the butter in the bottom of the skillet, and melt it over medium heat. Brush the bottom and sides of the skillet with the melted butter and remove from heat. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar.
  • Pack as many apples as you can into the bottom of the skillet cut side up, and wedge any remaining apples over the top of them the way they fit best. Cook over medium heat until the sugar melts, caramelizes and begins to thicken, and the apples begin to release their juices, about 10-15 minutes. If at any time the the liquid begins to darken, reduce the heat to medium low.
  • Remove from heat and rearrange the apples in a nice pattern for presentation. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees while you roll out the dough.
  • Roll out the dough until it's large enough to cover the apples, cutting off any excess with a knife or kitchen shears. Place over the top of the apples and tuck the edges of the crust into the sides, then bake for 30 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
  • Remove from heat and immediately invert onto a serving dish. If any apples stick to the bottom of the skillet, simply remove them and place them on the tart. Serve warm with ice cream or fresh whipped cream, if desired and enjoy!


  • Tarte tatin is best served right out of the oven, but if you bake it in advance, cook it over the stove top over medium heat just before serving to loosen up the sugars once again for successful flipping.
  • Recipe adapted slightly from Tante Marie Cooking School, San Francisco, CA.


Serving: 1slice, Calories: 343kcal, Carbohydrates: 48g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 17g, Saturated Fat: 9g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 35mg, Sodium: 99mg, Potassium: 204mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 33g, Vitamin A: 470IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 35mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition is estimated using a food database and is only intended to be used as a guideline for informational purposes.

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