Updated: Nov 15, 2020
A perfect French Classic as we head into fall! For tips and to bake-along live, just follow along with the video.
Preparation: 30 minutes
Bake Time: 35-45 minutes
Rest Time: 15 minutes
Sweet Short Crust
1 & 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 t salt
2 T granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and cubed
1 t water
Dried vanilla or vanilla extract
6 apples with a low water content (yellow or green work great! I recommend a mix)
2/3 cup granulated sugar (+1/4 cup)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t ground cinnamon
Make the sweet short crust: pulse together the flour, sugar, and salt (and dried vanilla if you're using it) in the bowl of a food processor.
In a measuring cup whisk together the egg and the water (and the vanilla extract if you're using that).
Add the cold, cubed butter to the dry ingredients and turn the food processor on. Once the mixture is no longer bouncing around and the "whir" of the food processor softens, slowly pour in your wet ingredients and allow to process just until it comes to a ball. Check out my explanation and watch my process at the 9:03 mark.
Pour your dough directly onto plastic wrap, form into a cylinder, and put into the freezer (if you plan on using this right away! It can sit in the fridge for a few days if you're prepping it in advance).
For the filling: if you have an oven-safe 10-12 inch skillet, you're going to form your tarte tartin directly in that skillet. If you don't have an oven safe skillet or yours isn't large enough (feel free to pare down this recipe!), make your caramel and apples in a pan that you have and transfer it to a cake pan before we put it into the oven.
Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
Melt your butter into your skillet.
Meanwhile prepare the apples: peel and slice your apples, about 2-3 mm thick. Check out my apple explanation at the 16:01 mark.
Once your butter has melted remove your skillet from the heat and mix in your vanilla extract.
Whisk together your granulated sugar and your ground cinnamon (you can omit this if you don't like cinnamon).
Evenly pour your sugar mixture over your melted butter, directly into your skillet.
Now, layer your apples on the bottom of the pan. You can watch my method at the 24:56 mark -- I put my cored and sliced pieces in the center and then lined the pan with apple slices. But this is your creation! Feel free to get creative and layer it however you'd like, just keep in mind that this will be the top of your tarte, and remember that the apples will shrink when they cook.
Sprinkle the extra 1/4 cup of granulated sugar evenly over this bottom layer.
Once you have an even layer on the bottom, you can chop up your remaining apples into even pieces (check out what I mean at the 27:42 mark) and gracefully dump them on top of your decorative layer.
Put the entire skillet back over medium heat and allow the sugar and butter to caramelize and begin to cook the apples, about five minutes total.
Meanwhile retrieve your crust and roll out to 2-3 mm thick. Using a pan or bowl to measure, cut the crust out into a circle that is about a 1/2 inch in diameter larger than your skillet.
Once the sugar and butter has caramelized nicely, top with your crust, tucking it in at the edges.
Put the entire skillet into the oven for 35-45 minutes until the crust is a golden brown.
Allow to rest on the counter for 15 minutes before turning out. At this point make sure your dish is wide enough to hold your entire tarte tartin, and beware of the hot juices in the bottom of the pan! If your apples didn't set well, don't fret, just push them back into top of your tarte and rearrange as you see fit. If they did stay together on the unmolding, bravo! I, too, am always shocked when my tarte tartins unmold well.
No matter if it turned out (literally) well or if your tarte had a mind of it's own, grab a slice and pair with ice cream, whipped cream, or a dusting of powdered sugar!
This recipe is meant to be served immediately -- it's best that way!
The rest time following baking gives the tarte a chance to come back together as it cools. This way your chances of an in-tact unmolding are better -- it also is less likely to leave your crust soggy with apple juices! (But the juices are absolutely delicious, so no harm, no foul).
You can use large apple pieces -- you may need to increase bake time by a bit to ensure the apples still get cooked.