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Wine Tasting - June 12

French cook at home - Tarte Tatin

French cook at home - Tarte Tatin

Even though many cities and states around the United States are beginning to open up, many people are still using this time in quarantine to master their baking and cooking skills.

With our Alliance Française being located so closely to the “Big Apple,” what better recipe to try than Tarte Tatin, a well known French food similar to apple pie?

There are not many ingredients, which makes it a perfect dish to try while being stuck at home. As well, it’s a sweet, quick dessert to make, making it the perfect French food for kids.

Origin of Tarte Tatin

According to legend, this recipe was created by accident. Two sisters, in the late 1900’s, ran the Hôtel Tatin. One of the sisters was normally responsible for the cooking and baking. One day, while making an apple pie, she got distracted, and almost forgot about the apples she was cooking. They carmelized to the point of almost burning. To fix her mistake, she covered the apples with a pâte brisée, baked it, flipped it upside down, and served it to Louis Vaudable, a restaurant owner who would later bring this dish into popularity by serving it at his restaurant, Maxim’s. Together, they created what would later be known as a famous French dessert.

However, some do not believe the story, and say it was invented in the 1920’s by a French food critic, and the actual dish was created by Louis Vaudable. Actually, there are many legends around this dessert. Regardless, Tarte Tatin is a very simple French dish, and is an easy way for everyone to make French food at home.

The idea of the Tarte Tatin was born in Lamotte-Beuvron, in Loir-et-Cher

This recipe serves about 8 people, and is incredibly easy to make.
If you are interested in making this French dish, you will need:


  • Pie crust, homemade or store bought 

French touch
For a more French touch, pâte feuilletée or pâte brisée

  • 8 to 10 apples
  • 11.5 tablespoons of sugar 
  • 10 tablespoons of salted butter 
  • Cinnamon, to taste


Total time: 1 hour
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 30 min

  • Preheat your oven to 356°F.
  • Peel your apples and cut them in half, removing the cores.
  • Begin melting your butter in your pie dish.
  • Start adding in your sugar once the butter is melted, combining the ingredients slowly to create a caramel-like mixture. But, be sure to not let the mixture get too dark: that will cause the dish to have a more bitter taste.
  • Remove the mixture from heat, and begin placing the apples close together over the caramel. The apples reduce in size while cooking.
  • Add cinnamon, to taste.
  • Let the mixture warm on high heat for about 10 minutes, to allow the apples to absorb some of the caramel. 
  • Remove from head, and cover the apples with your pie crust.
  • Tuck the edges and smooth the dough over the apples, carefully, so as not to create tears.
  • Make some small holes in the dough to allow excess water vapor to escape.
  • Put the dish into the oven for about 30 minutes - but watch the dish, cooking time does vary based on the oven.
  • When the tart is ready, the dough should be a golden brown.
  • Cover the pie with a larger dish, and quickly flip the tart upside down. Be careful not to get burned on the hot dishes - use a cloth or over mitt to prevent this. You must flip the dish extremely quickly to get the correct shape.
  • This dish needs to be served hot!

American touch
Many like to serve this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, in the U.S. 

French touch
However, to make it more of a traditional dessert you may see on a French menu, serve with crème fraîche instead of vanilla ice cream.

À vos fourneaux !


-Crème fraîche : a direct translation would be “fresh cream.” It seems that one of the closest things we have in the United States is sour cream!

-Pâte feuilletée : An American equivalent is puff pastry, This can either be homemade, or purchased at most grocery stores.

-Pâte brisée : The French version of pie crust.

-Tarte : A pie. Therefore, a tarte tatin is a pie from Tatin, the hotel where the pie originated, according to legend.

-Peel : éplucher
-Melt : faire fondre
-Pie dish : plat à tarte
-Cinnamon : cannelle
-High heat / low heat : feu vif / feu doux
-Flip the tart : retourner la tarte