The perfect way to welcome apple season to your kitchen. This classic French apple tart features a thin, flaky crust topped with tender apples glazed in a cinnamon-scented jam.
You know it's fall in Paris when the bakeries start displaying their Tarte Fine aux Pommes in the front window. This classic French dessert translates to "Thin Apple Tart." It's simplicity is its genius. Thinly sliced apples arranged on a shatteringly crisp pastry crust, often accompanied by a light apricot glaze or a sprinkle of powdered sugar.
For our quick and easy version, store-bought puff pastry makes this recipe a breeze. The crust bakes up to a flaky perfection, and the payoff is light dessert that is equal parts cozy and sophisticated.
Ingredients and Substitutions for Rustic Apple Tart:
Puff pastry: store-bought puff pastry is a lovely shortcut for French desserts, and this rustic apple tart is the perfect place for it. The recipe calls for a 14-inch round of puff pastry, but use what you have! If you can only get a rectangular crust, either cut it into a round, or arrange your apples into a different shape to follow the shape of the crust. You could even cut the dough into 6 individual crusts for mini-apple tarts. So many options!
Apples: Pink Lady Apples are my preference for this French pastry, but you have some flexibility. As long as your favorite types of apples don't turn to apple sauce in the oven, you should be able to substitute! Avoid Gala, Fuji, Red Delicious and McIntosh.
Flour: just a tablespoon of all purpose flour on the tart crust helps absorb the apple juices and gives our apple dessert a flaky crust and a perfect apple texture.
Brown Sugar: I use just a few tablespoons of light brown sugar to sweeten this tart. Dark brown sugar works just as well. Substitute granulated white sugar if it's all you have, though you'll miss out on those deep molasses notes.
Butter: salted butter is my first choice for this tart, but feel free to use unsalted, if that's what you have.
Apricot jam: we use just a few tablespoons of warm jam to dress the top of our baked crust with a little sweetness, but mostly for the shine. Substitute peach, apple, or your favorite fruit jam.
Cinnamon: this warm spice can be a bit controversial, as most French bakeries don't include it in their apple tart. But I love adding just a pinch of cinnamon to the apricot glaze for a warm, slightly spiced tart. It's optional!
Full ingredient list and measurements included in the printable recipe card below.
Step by step instructions for making French Apple Tart:
To begin, preheat oven to 400℉.
Next, unroll 14-inch circle of puff pastry. Cover a baking pan with a piece of parchment paper, then place dough on top. If your puff pastry came in a rectangular sheet, just use a large plate as a guide to cut into a circle.
Sprinkle the pastry round with 1 tablespoon of flour and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar.
Peel apples and cut into very thin slices, using a mandolin or a sharp knife. (If you're concerned about the apples starting to brown while they wait for baking, fill a small bowl with cold water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Let the sliced apples stay in the water until ready to arrange on the crust and bake. Just be sure to dry the apples very well.)
Arrange slices of apple in concentric circles on the puff pastry pie crust, leaving a small ¼ inch border around the edges of the apple filling.
Gently brush the melted butter over the apple slices and the edges of the dough showing.
Sprinkle sugar over assembled tart (the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar).
Transfer to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes, until the crust is crisp and the apples are bubbly and deeply browned in areas.
Remove from the oven. Heat apricot jam and a little cinnamon (if using) with a tablespoon of water until thinned and spreadable. Strain the jam to remove the chunks of fruit.
Use a pastry brush to spread the cinnamon apricot glaze over the apples and crust.
Cut into wedges and serve warm.
Delicious with a spoonful of homemade whipped cream, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or just with a fork on a plate!
FAQ's and Serving Suggestions Tarte Fine aux Pommes:
You'll want to use apples that are firm and slightly tart for the best results. Popular choices in the United States include Pink Lady (my preference), Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Braeburn apples.
Aim for very thin slices, about ⅛-inch thick or even thinner. This will help them cook evenly and give your tart an elegant appearance.
You can prevent apple slices from browning by keeping them in water spiked with lemon juice, which adds a touch of flavor and acidity while slowing oxidation. Just be sure to dry the apple slices before adding to the tart.
No, you don't need to pre-cook the apples. They will soften and cook as the tart bakes in the oven.
While the traditional recipe includes just apples and a light glaze, I like to add cinnamon to the glaze for warmth. You could experiment with nutmeg, ginger or a drizzle of caramel when serving for added complexity.
Serve your Tarte Fine aux Pommes warm or at room temperature. European desserts like this one are often enjoyed simply, without any adornment. But you can also pair it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream for a luxurious dessert. Adding a drizzle of caramel or serving with salted caramel ice cream would be a lovely touch, as well.
This tart is best served shortly after baking. However, you can prepare the tart in advance and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it in the oven for a few minutes before serving to restore its crispness.
To reheat your leftover tart, place it in a preheated oven at 350°F for 8-10 minutes or until it's warm and crispy again.
Store leftover apple tart in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.