FoodTarte Tatin: How a kitchen mishap became a French dessert classic

Tarte Tatin: How a kitchen mishap became a French dessert classic

Tarte Tatin - Delicacies
Tarte Tatin - Delicacies
Images source: © Getty Images

19 June 2024 16:17

The presentation is lovely and more accessible to prepare than you might think. The secret lies in simplicity and a touch of creativity, which turned an accident at work into a delicious dessert already gaining cult status.

Tarte Tatin is one of the most famous French desserts. The classic version consists of apples, caramel, and shortcrust pastry. The apples are caramelized with sugar and butter in a pan, then covered with the pastry and baked. You can also prepare it with the addition of rhubarb - its sour taste perfectly balances the sweetness of the other ingredients. No matter which variant you choose, it will taste perfect.

Tarte Tatin - a recipe for the lazy homemaker

This upside-down cake belongs to the Tatin sisters - Stéphanie and Caroline. The tart was accidentally created in the late 19th century in Lamotte-Beuvron, France, where the sisters ran their hotel. Legend has it that one day, Stéphanie Tatin took her eyes off the pan with apples and sugar while preparing a traditional apple tart. As a result, the apples began to caramelize. To save the dessert, she covered them with a layer of pastry and put the entire dish in the oven. Thus, the first Tarte Tatin was born.

Tarte Tatin - Pyszności
Tarte Tatin - Pyszności© Getty Images | Doris Heinrichs

The dessert quickly gained recognition and symbolised creativity and the idea that there’s never a hopeless situation. Although the original recipe uses apples, this dessert now has many variations. In savoury versions, you can find Tarte Tatins with pears, peaches, and even tomatoes or red onions.



  • 200 grams of all-purpose flour,
  • 100 grams of cold butter,
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar,
  • 1 egg yolk,
  • 2 tablespoons of cold water.


  • 1 kilogram of apples,
  • 100 grams of butter,
  • 100 grams of sugar,
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon,
  • juice from 1/2 lemon.


  1. Sift the flour into a bowl, add sugar and a pinch of salt, and chop the butter into cubes. Add the butter to the flour and chop with a knife. Next, add the egg yolk and water and knead the dough.
  2. Form a ball, wrap it in plastic wrap and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour.
  3. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters or eighths, removing the cores.
  4. Melt the butter in a pan, add sugar and cinnamon.
  5. Add the apples and sauté for about 10 minutes until they soften slightly and are covered in caramel. Finally, drizzle with lemon juice.
  6. Line a tart pan with a diameter of about 25 centimetres with parchment paper and place the apples inside.
  7. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it into a larger circle than the pan.
  8. Gently place the dough over the apples, tucking the edges inside.
  9. Place in an oven preheated to 180°C and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  10. After baking, remove the tart from the oven and immediately invert it onto a plate. Remove the parchment paper.

Apple tarte tatin tastes good, both warm and cold. Serve it with a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream. Enjoy!

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