French Apple Tart

French Apple Tarts are a classic and elegant dessert that mimics a classic Apple Pie, but without the heaping helping of Apple Goo. Goo is good.  But not in Tarts.  Tarts are more about tender crust and a thin layer of fruity filling that is packed with flavor in each bite.  This recipe has a sweetened scratch made crust, but don’t let that scare you.  Scratch is not Scary.  Scratch is Simple.  It’s just a few ingredients combined in a food processor and rolled into a ball to chill.  See! Not hard. That’s scratch made, baby.  Of course, it helps for any dessert to look pretty for someone to want to take a bite so I fanned my thinly sliced Granny Smith apples to look like a flower in bloom. And speaking of bite…Oh, the bite!   It’s sweetened to perfection and tart at the end with an essence of cinnamon and a taste of golden butter baked right in .  Some Tarts are finished with an Apricot Glaze to add shine and extra Goo but I say, no Goo.  This rustic dessert is simple and sweet just as it is.  So, go ahead and bake one up to take to your next gathering.  It’s sure to be a hit and memorable too.  
Place cubed chilled butter in a Food Processor with the dry ingredients.  Pulse 10-12 times or until the mixture resembles fine crumbs.  This is a quicker way to combine all the ingredients and when you are working with flour, you want to be lightening fast!  If you mess with the dough too much, it will turn out brick hard.  The less you mess the better the crust.
Turn dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for one hour.  
Take chilled dough and gently roll out to a thin circle that will fit into your desired baking pan. I used a tart pan but you can use a cookie sheet, pizza pan or pie plate.  Tarts do not need tall sides because it doesn’t have to hold very much filling.  Prick the middle with a fork all around to prevent puffing up while baking.
Place your thinly sliced apples up against the side of your tart pan and overlap them.  If you are not using a tart pan, mimic the pictures below for inspiration   Remember, the filling will not overflow because there is no goo.  Some butter may spill over to your pan, but it will not ruin your tart.
Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon mixture and pat that baby with butter.  Lot’s of butter..YUM!

If you are not using a tart pan, your Tart will be flat with no sides like this one made by Phoebe Bites


French Apple Tart
adapted from Ina Garten’s original recipe for French Apple Tart

2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

4 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon ( add more or less as desired)
4 Tablespoon (1/2 Stick) cold unsalted butter, diced small


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line tart pan with parchment paper

For Crust; place dry ingredients in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.  Add the butter and pulse 12 times, until the butter is in small crumbly bits.  While the motor is running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.  You may not need all of the water.  You don’t want your dough to be too soft and sticky. Place on a floured surface and knead quickly into a ball.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 1 hour.

Roll the dough out to fit the pan you are using. I usually just eyeball this but if you must measure, just take your pan and place it on top of your dough once rolled to see if it will fit.  Trim the edges.  Place in the refrigerator to chill while you are preparing your apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem.  Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife.  Slice apples crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices.  Place overlapping slices around the perimeter of your tart pan and continue until you can not bend the apples enough to place them without gaps (about half way).  Microwave the remaining sliced apples for 1 minute in the microwave or until they are more pliable and soft.  This will enable you to bend the apples and finish overlapping them and to curl the middle slice resemble a flower in bloom.

Sprinkle the entire sugar/cinnamon mixture evenly over apples.  Place pats of butter all around evenly.  

Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the crust is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown.  Rotate the pan once during cooking.  If the dough puffs up in one area, simply poke it with a fork or knife and it will go down.  Keep an eye on your tart periodically during baking in case this happens.  Let cool to room temp or eat warm.

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  1. What a beautiful dessert! It looks so delicious too! I’ve always wanted to make an apple tart so I’ll have to try this soon. I usually make cobblers because the crust is my favorite part, but I want to try tarts as well! Thanks for sharing :)

    Visiting from Thursday Favorite Things :)

    • I am not an experienced Pie baker so I am not seasoned at making pie crust. What I have learned to produce a flaky crust is, not working the dough too much. I am going to experiment more with pies this Spring. I am going to see if butter works better than shortening. I have read mixed reviews on this. Happy baking!