Apple Tart

This apple tart is as simple as it is stunning. It’s also easy, rustic, classic French, and, quite frankly, the best. A departure from typical apple pie, it boasts a subtle sweetness that doesn’t get in the way of the tartly sweet apple flavor.

A round tart filled with cooked sliced apples in a concentric pattern

This rustic apple tart recipe is just…wow. But don’t let that photo fool you. If you’re thinking, “Oh, it’s so beautiful, I can’t possibly make that…”, stop right there. If you can peel and slice apples, you can make this apple tart. It’s as simple to put together as it is stunning. The true beauty, though, of this classic French dessert is its delicate taste, which is pure apple. No cinnamon. No indecent amount of sugar. No spice. And for some of us, that’s quite nice.  Originally published November 22, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

Apple Tart

  • Quick Glance
  • (4)
  • 50 M
  • 2 H, 10 M
  • Serves 6 to 8
5/5 - 4 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie cookbook

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Special Equipment: 11- or 10-inch tart pan with removable bottom


  • For the pastry
  • For the apple purée
  • For the apple tart


Make the pastry

Place the flour, sugar, butter, and salt in a food processor and pulse until the mixture is just combined (somewhere between 5 and 10 pulses). Add 4 tablespoons water and pulse just until the dough holds together. If necessary, add more water, 1 tablespoon at a time, and pulse just until the dough begins to clump. Wrap the dough in waxed paper and refrigerate for 30 to 60 minutes.

Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 10 minutes. Butter and lightly flour an 11- or 10-inch round tart pan with a removable bottom.

Roll out the pastry dough on a lightly floured work surface to a circle slightly larger than the prepared tart pan. Transfer the dough to the pan, gently pressing the dough into the edges, and trim the edges by running a rolling pin over the top of the tart pan, using the edge of the pan as a cutting surface. Let the excess pastry fall away. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, until firm.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC).

Prick the pastry base all over with the tines of a fork. Line the pastry with parchment paper and fill it with baking weights or dried beans. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the parchment and weights, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes more, until golden. Let cool to room temperature.

Make the apple purée

Place the diced apples, vanilla pod, sugar, butter, and 3 tablespoons water in a saucepan over medium heat. Cook gently, stirring often, for 10 to 15 minutes, until the apples are softened, adding more water if necessary to keep the apples from scorching. Remove the vanilla pod and use the tip of a small sharp knife to scrape the vanilla seeds directly into the mixture. Discard the pod. Transfer the mixture to a food processor and purée until smooth.

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC).

Assemble the apple tart

Spread the apple purée evenly over the pastry. Peel, core, and slice the apples 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick. Arrange the apple slices in a neat circle around the edge; they should be slightly overlapping. Repeat to create an inner circle, trimming the slices slightly so that they fit, going in the opposite direction from the outer circle. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 25 to 45 minutes, until the apples are just tender and very lightly browned. (The dramatic difference in timing depends on the thickness and the type of apples you choose. If the apples haven’t browned by the time they’re tender, run the tart under the broiler for a minute or so.)

Let the tart cool slightly. Remove the sides of the pan and slice and serve the tart warm with cream or half-and-half.

Print RecipeBuy the Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie cookbook

Want it? Click it.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

This is a humble but attractive and very tasty apple tart. The sweet pastry dough makes a nice crust. I used some local Quite apples that have just come into season. The apple and vanilla purée makes a mellow background for the thinly sliced apples. We found it took close to the 20-minute mark for the tart to be done and another 2 minutes, closer to the top of the oven, for the apples to brown properly. This tart isn’t overly sweet but does allow the natural tartness of the apples to shine through. The vanilla in the purée provides a mellow overtone to the apple taste. All in all, a very pleasant tart my family would be happy to have again. Next time, I’ll take the suggestion of one of my tasters and add a little cinnamon to the sugar on top before baking to give it a little more oomph.

This delicious apple tart is all about preserving the flavor of the apple. It’s subtly sweet, very fresh tasting, and not overly rich—you can have a generous slice after dinner and it won’t push you over the edge. The thin crust did not get soggy at all from the apple purée, and it slices nicely when serving the tart. Don’t worry if the crust tears when you're lining the pan with it—use up the excess pastry to fill the cracks and holes. Golden Delicious apples were wonderful for both the purée and the slices. I cut my apples into 1/4-inch slices (I used 48 slices) and found they were too thick. The slices were still quite firm and pale after 25 minutes of baking, and it was hard to cut with a fork when eating the very elegant tart, creating a bit of a mess on the plate. I will try 1/8-inch slices next time (yes, I will definitely make this again). If you want your tart to have a little shine, brush the top surface of the cooled tart with apricot glaze.


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  1. Since I tested this recipe and wrote a review some years ago I made this lovely apple tart many times. But the extremely thin crust always made a little nervous. For this year’s Thanksgiving I baked it in a 9-inch tart pan and liked the thicker sturdier crust. I happened to have Apple Pear Sauce in the freezer, so I thawed it and used about 1-1/4 cup of it in place of the apple purée with wonderful results. I used Pink Lady for the apple slices—DELICIOUS!

    1. Thank you, Chiyo! Your tart is stunning! LOVE the suggestion to use the apple pear sauce, and it’s wonderful to hear that it turns out so successfully in a 9-inch tart pan. So appreciate you sharing these tips with us.

  2. Sempre tive vontade de comer uma torta de maçã mas nunca tive a oportunidade quando vi essa receita não pensei duas vezes, salvei e vou preparar, acredito que seja muito boa.

  3. I decided to make this recipe a few weeks ago since I am living in Paris (embracing the French cuisine!). After making it, I will say that it got high praise from some picky French friends! It was delicious and simple to make!

  4. I love reading about all your beautiful recipes. I have been following this blog for a very long time. Now I have decided to write so something about a recipe I have tried. I loved many of your posted recipes!!! However, this apple tart recipe that I made turned beautiful and very nice looking!!! But I must speak and say that it was sooooo bland!! Crust was not sweet enough and didn’t go well with the applesauce and sliced baked apples. I believe if the crust was more of a sablée type of crust it would have shaken the apple tree!!!!! Just a thought!!!

    1. Lily, we so appreciate your kind faithfulness all these years! As for the apple tart, I’m really sorry to hear it wasn’t more to your liking. I think with something like this, a lot depends on what one’s expectations are, seeing as most folks see apples and presume it will be like apple pie, which is why we tried to temper that with the warning in the note preceding the recipe that this is rather subtle. (“Although the true beauty of this stunner is its delicate taste, which is pure apple. Kindly note, it’s subtler than the flavor of most apples pies. No cinnamon. No spice.”) Still, perhaps our testers made it with sweeter apples than you tried? I wholeheartedly agree with you that pâte sablée could be truly lovely here. I hope you try other recipes from us and let us know how they go…

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