Caramelized Apples and Buttery Pastry Make Tarte Tatin Our Favorite Fall Dessert (2024)

Each year high achievers in all of France's trades, from hairdressers to chefs to florists, compete for the top honor of Meilleur Ouvrier de France — best worker in France. When Benoît Guichard competed with this iconic dessert, he placed first in the pastry category.

Frequently asked questions

What is Tarte Tatin?

Tarte Tatin is a French dessert for which apples are caramelized in a skillet with butter and sugar, then topped with a round of pastry dough and baked. After baking the tarte, you invert the skillet to serve it.Tarte Tatin was named for Stéphanie and Caroline Tatin, who created it at the Hôtel Tatin in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, in the 1880s.

What kind of apples are best for Tarte Tatin?

You want to make sure that the apples are flavorful and don't bake down to mush for this dessert. Golden Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, and Northern Spy apples are great options.

Make ahead

A few components of this dessert can be prepared in advance. The pastry can be made up to a month in advance and stored in the freezer, or up to a day in advance and stored in the refrigerator. You can peel and core the apples in advance as well, and store them in an airtight container (they will brown a bit, but will brown while cooking anyway, so don't worry about it.)

Suggested pairing

An apple tart like this one calls out for a sweet white wine, such as a honeyed and unctuous German Auslese.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

We love that this dessert is simple but so impressive. The trick is to make sure your platter is larger than the diameter of the skillet, so you can flip it over without losing the apples. If any do slip out or stick to the pan, just place them in the tart. You can make this a few hours in advance of a dinner party and serve it at room temperature, or warmed in a 300°F oven for a few minutes. Top it with ice cream, crème fraîche, or whipped cream.

Caramelized Apples and Buttery Pastry Make Tarte Tatin Our Favorite Fall Dessert (2024)
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