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Recipe for a Classic French Apple Tart

There is something je ne sais quoi about a classic French Apple Tart, actually, that is not true. I know exactly what it is about this French dessert that is so attractive. The fruit is always perfectly cut and artfully arranged. However, the key to a French fruit tart, in my view, is the effect of the glaze – the dessert sparkles. This apple tart is lighter (calories and taste) than a traditional apple pie (my Mom’s recipe is still delicious).

Classic French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart

David Scott Allen
This dessert is lovely and "light"-ish with a crisp crust and sweet baked apples. Serve at room temperature, if you can wait that long.
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Resting Time 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine French
Servings 6 people



For the Pastry:

  • 2 cups All Purpose Flour
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 12 tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter cubed
  • 1/2 cup Ice Water

For the Fruit Topping:

  • 5 medium Tart-Sweet Crisp apples (not Granny Smith)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 4 tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter
  • 1/2 cup Apricot Jam pressed through a sieve
  • 2 tbsp Cognac


To Make the Pastry:

  • Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse once.
  • Distribute the butter and pulse 10 times.
  • With the motor running, add the ice water then pulse just until the dough starts to come together.
  • Remove and place on a floured board and knead quickly into a ball.
  • Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F/200°C. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. NOTE: Don’t use foil, as the melted sugars will cause the tart to stick. It will still stick to the parchment in places but will be easier to remove.
  • Roll the dough into a 10 by 14-inches rectangle. If it isn’t perfect, you can trim it, but rough edges give it a rustic look. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you peel and slice the apples.

For the Fruit Topping:

  • Peel the apples and cut them in half from top to bottom. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller.
  • Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices; hold end pieces aside for filling gaps or narrow ends.
  • Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices.
  • Sprinkle evenly the 1/2 cup of sugar.
  • Cut the remaining 4 tablespoons chilled butter into 1/4-inch dice and dot sprinkle over the tart.
  • Bake for 45 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. The sweetened apple juices may burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
  • Just before the tart comes out of the oven, heat the apricot jam together with the Cognac and as soon as the tart comes out of the oven, brush it generously over the apples, being careful not to brush the pastry.
  • Loosen the edges of the tart with a spatula and transfer to a board.
  • Let cool slightly before serving.
Keyword Apples, Tartes, Tarts
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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David Scott Allen

David Scott Allen is the author, photographer, and cook behind Cocoa & Lavender, a weekly food blog based in Tucson, Arizona. Passionate about travel, he especially enjoys eating traditional foods and learning local customs, whether in the United States or around the globe.

David's first trip to France took place when he was 14, and he returned as often as possible thereafter. However, it wasn't until his 50th birthday that he finally made it south to Provence. The beauty, history, charm, warmth, cuisine, and - of course - the rosé wines captured his heart. He shares his Provençal recipes here on Perfectly Provence, and his food and wine pairings monthly on the Provence WineZine.

David is a firm believer that sharing a meal with friends around the table is one of life's greatest pleasures. And if it happens to be in Provence, all the better!

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