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Vegan Tarte Tatin

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Vegan Tarte Tatin | This delicious French classic is my new favourite. It’s an upside-down apple tart, made with soft golden apples, arranged in a circular pattern, baked in gooey vegan caramel and flaky pie crust. If you love apple pie, you’ll love this. This recipe can be a little tricky, but with my step-by-step instructions, it’s simple and painless.

A slice of tart tatin on a plate with a silver fork.

What is tarte tatin?

Tarte tatin is a French classic. It’s an upside-down tart, consisting of pastry baked over caramelized apples. Common variations include peach, pear, or even onion, for a savoury version. Try my vegan onion tart tatin here.

The origin story of tarte tatin is actually quite funny, named after the creator of the dessert, Stephanie Tatin. It consists of many culinary mistakes, stolen recipes, and spies, depending on what you believe of course.

The recipe was created sometime in the 1880s, in the French village of Lamotte-Beuvron, which stands on the banks of the Sologne River. Sisters Caroline and Stephanie Tatin were running a restaurant together at the time. Caroline was the hostess, while Stephanie was in charge of the kitchen. It is said that during a very busy hunting season, Stephanie was overwhelmed and forgot about an apple tart she was cooking. She apparently shoved the tart into the oven upside down, or according to some stories, without the pastry. She decided to serve this topsy-turvy tart anyway, without cooling it, and it was a huge hit.

Well, actually, some claim that the recipe became such a hit only after famous restaurant owner Louis Vaudable served it in his Paris establishment, Maxim’s.

It is said that when he tried the tart, he fell in love, and wanted to have this recipe so badly. He allegedly sent a spy, disguised as a gardener, to the Tatin restaurant, hoping to discover the top-secret recipe. True or not, he did obtain the recipe at some point and it is still served in his restaurant to this day.

Today the tart tatin is recreated all across the world, with many variations including peach, pear, and apricot. Savoury versions include onion, tomato, and a variety of root vegetables.

A close up of sliced tart tatin on a cutting board.

How do you make tart tatin?

Despite the lavish appearance of tarte tatin, it is fairly easy to make. The only tricky part is transferring the tart to a platter by holding the platter on top of the hot pan and flipping it upside down. The key to doing this painlessly is to invert the pan while the tart is hot, so like straight out of the oven.

For this tart tatin you’ll caramelize peeled and quartered apples in loads of butter and sugar until nice and soft, then you’ll drape a circle of pie dough over top. Bake for 35 minutes at 375. Then comes the only tricky part, place a platter or cutting board over the pan, and carefully flip it upside down so the tart falls onto the board. The result is really rich caramelized, almost jammy, apples on top of crispy flaky pastry.

It is so important to use lots of butter and sugar so that the tart doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Hey, no one said this was a healthy recipe. But if it does stick, no problem. Just do your best to remove the tart and reassemble it. It will still look pretty and taste delicious.

A classic French tart tatin is rather bare bones, and the so-called ‘Brotherhood’ of the tart tatin insists that the dish should be made traditionally and without change. But, life is about experimenting and enjoying, so if you want to add some cinnamon, I don’t think it will harm anyone.

You could also serve the tart with vegan ice cream or whipped cream, and slivered almonds.

Sliced tart tatin on a cutting board with a silver pie server.

What kind of apples should I use?

For this recipe, I recommend using a dry apple, like Granny Smith, because you want as much moisture out of the apple so that the pastry remains crispy and flaky. Some recipes call for drying the apples beforehand, but by simmering them in the caramel, you achieve the same effect and you save time.

I also peel the apples, but this isn’t a necessary step if you like the chewiness. The tart is very smooth and jammy without the peel but if you want more texture, feel free to leave the peels on.

Sliced tart tatin on a cutting board with a silver pie server.

Ingredients

More about the ingredients in this recipe. The exact measurements are below.

  • Vegan butter- Butter might be the most important ingredient in this recipe because it’s used to make the caramel, and is essential in keeping the tart from sticking to the pan. I buy Presidents Choice plant-based butter from my local grocery store.
  • White sugar- This is traditional to the recipe and used in the caramel.
  • Apples- I use Granny Smith apples because they don’t contain a lot of moisture, which is important in this recipe so that the tart pastry stays crispy and flaky.
  • Flour, salt, plant-based butter, and cold water- These 3 ingredients form the homemade shortcrust. I chose to make shortcrust from scratch because it’s basically indestructible. Kidding, but it’s much sturdier than puff pastry. You can use either.

Instructions

For the pie crust:

Add flour, salt, and cubed butter to a food processor. Pulse for 20-30 seconds until the mixture is crumbly, with small pieces of butter about the size of peas. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse for a few seconds. Add another 2 tablespoons and pulse until the mixture starts forming one mass. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

If making by hand, add flour, salt, and cubed butter into a medium sized bowl. Using your index finger and thumb, pinch the butter and flour together, rolling the butter between your fingers. Continue until the butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. Add 2 tablespoons of cold water and mix. Add another 2 and mix just until the dough comes together. Overworking it will cause the butter to melt. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

For the tart:

Peel, core, and quarter 3 Granny Smith apples and set aside. It’s ok if they brown because they’ll brown in the caramel anyway.

Roll your pie dough out to the same circumference of the pan/skillet you’re using. It doesn’t have to look pretty! Carefully lifting the dough, place it on a baking sheet with parchment paper, and place it back into the fridge until needed.

Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°).

Starting to melt the sugar.

Heat sugar in a pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes until it reaches an amber-coloured liquid.

Melting sugar turning into rocky pieces.

It will first turn very clumpy, and then it will turn rocky, and then it will ‘melt’ into a liquid.

Mostly melted sugar with a few bits of clumped sugar.

Trust the process and stir continuously.

Amber coloured caramel.

Whisking the butter into the sugar.

Once the sugar is an amber liquid, add a stick of butter. The liquid might spit a bit so be careful. Stir constantly to combine the sugar and butter. It may seem like it’s not working but just take your time and trust the process.

Placing the apples in the pan, round side down.

Once the butter and sugar are combined, add the apples flat side down, in a circular pattern. Use tongs as the caramel will be very hot.

Flipping the apples to evenly soften them.

Simmer the apples in the caramel for 15 minutes total, flipping onto the rounded side after 5 minutes, and back onto the flat side after 10 minutes. On the last flip, you might want to switch to using a spoon instead of tongs as the apples will be very tender.

Placing the pie crust on top of the apples in a skillet.

Take your circle of dough and drape it over top of the apples in the pan. Carefully press the dough into the apples just so there are no huge air gaps.

Place the pan into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes. The liquid caramel might bubble over onto the pie crust, that’s ok. It’s ready when it’s dark and sticky looking.

Flipping the tart onto a cutting board.

Take the pan out of the oven and place onto a trivet. You want to remove the tart from the pan while it’s still hot so it doesn’t stick. So place a platter over the pan, and using both oven-mitt-covered hands, hold the pan and platter together. Flip the pan upside down, so the platter is now on the bottom. The tart should neatly fall onto the platter.

Flipping the tart onto a cutting board.

If some apples are stuck to the pan, just remove them and rearrange them onto the tart. Slice into 8 pieces and serve with plant-based ice cream or whipped cream.

Tart Tatin in a pan with a blue cloth.

Recipe tips

  • Making caramel: Just trust the process. The sugar will go through many stages, from rocks to liquid. The butter and sugar may seem like they’re not mixing together but just whisk constantly and take your time.
  • Inverting the pan: It’s best to remove the tart from the pan directly after baking while it’s still piping hot or the apples will stick to the pan. Place a platter on top of the hot pan, and hold them together while you flip the pan upside down so that the pan is on the bottom. The tart will fall onto the platter.

Substitutions

  • This recipe is vegan!
  • Make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pastry.
  • Instead of making homemade pastry, you can use store-bought vegan puff pastry.
  • If you don’t want the traditional apple filling, try using peaches, plums, pears, or apricots. Any dry fruit should work using the same method as the apple.

What to serve with vegan tarte tatin

Apple tart is a delicious dessert! Serve warm with a dollop of coconut whipped cream.

For another incredible vegan dessert, try my Vegan Basque Cheesecake.

Storage

Store the tart covered in the fridge for up to 3 days. To reheat individual slices, place in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 10 minutes. To reheat the entire tart, place in the oven for 15 minutes.

If not serving the tart immediately, leave it in the pan and cool it. Put it in a 350°F (180°C) oven for 15 minutes and then remove.

A slice of tart tatin on a plate with a fork.

FAQ’s

How do you keep tart tatin from getting soggy?

Use an apple with low moisture, like Granny Smith or Gala. Additionally, simmering the apple and caramel together for 15 minutes will evaporate any liquid that the apples produce.

How to keep tart tatin from falling apart?

The trick to removing the tart in one piece is to do it while the tart is piping hot, so straight out of the oven. Place a platter over your skillet or pan and flip it upside down, so the tart falls onto the platter.

How do you know when tart tatin is done?

You’ll know that tart tatin is done when the caramel on the edges is darkened and bubbling. You’ll be able to smell the caramel.

What pastry is tart tatin made with?

Most restaurants use puff pastry but I like to make it with homemade shortcrust because it is sturdier and can sit for longer than puff pastry.

A slice of tart tatin on a plate with a silver fork.

Vegan Tart Tatin

5 from 2 votes
Author: Erika Piper
This delicious French classic is an upside-down apple tart, made with soft golden apples, arranged in a circular pattern, baked in gooey vegan caramel and flaky pie crust. If you love apple pie, you'll love this. This recipe can be a little tricky, but with my step-by-step instructions, it's simple and painless.
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8

Equipment

  • 1 Food processor optional
  • 1 Oven safe cast iron or non stick skillet

Ingredients
 
 

Pie dough

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup unsalted vegan butter cubed and cold
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2-3 tablespoons cold water

Tart Filling

  • ½ cup vegan butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 Granny Smith apples cored and quartered

Instructions
 

For the pie dough

  • Add flour, salt, and cubed butter to a food processor. Pulse for 20-30 seconds until the mixture is crumbly, with small pieces of butter about the size of peas. Add 2 tablespoons of water and pulse for a few seconds. Add another 2 tablespoons and pulse until the mixture starts forming one mass. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour.

For the pie

  • Peel, core, and quarter 3 Granny Smith apples and set aside.
  • Roll your pie dough out to the same circumference of the pan/skillet you're using. Carefully transfer the dough, to a baking sheet with parchment paper and place back into the fridge until needed.
  • Preheat the oven to 375° F (190°).
  • Heat the sugar in a pan on medium heat for about 10 minutes until it reaches an amber-coloured liquid. It will first turn very clumpy, and then it will turn rocky, and then it will 'melt' into a liquid.
  • Add the butter. Stir constantly to combine the sugar and butter. It may seem like it's not working but just take your time and trust the process.
  • Once the butter and sugar are combined, add the apples flat side down, in a circular pattern. Use tongs as the caramel will be very hot.
  • Simmer the apples in the caramel for 15 minutes total, flipping onto the rounded side after 5 minutes, and back onto the flat side after 10 minutes. On the last flip, you might want to switch to using a spoon instead of tongs as the apples will be very tender. Remove from the heat.
  • Drape the circle of dough over the apples, pressing the dough into the apples to avoid big air pockets. Tuck the edges into the side of the pan, carefully.
  • Place the pan into the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Take the pan out of the oven and place onto a trivet. Remove the tart from the pan immediately, while it's still hot so it doesn't stick. Place a platter over the pan, and using both hands, hold the pan and platter together. Flip the pan upside down, so the platter is now on the bottom. The tart should neatly fall onto the platter. If some apples are stuck to the pan, just remove them and rearrange them onto the tart.
  • Slice into 8 pieces and serve alone or with vegan ice cream.

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 8piecesCalories: 378kcalCarbohydrates: 49gProtein: 2gFat: 20gSodium: 325mgFiber: 3gSugar: 34g
Tried this recipe?Mention @theveggieyaya or tag #theveggieyaya!

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means I get a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Vegan tart tatin on a plate.

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5 from 2 votes (1 rating without comment)

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