French Apple Tart Recipe With Pastry Cream Recipe

French apple tart tarte aux pommes recipe

The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

  • Total: 2 hrs
  • Prep: 70 mins
  • Cook: 50 mins
  • Yield: One 9" tart

A variety of French fruit tarts are popular in Morocco, but given a choice, I'll always choose Tarte aux Pommes over other offerings. Thinly sliced apples are tossed with sugar and a little bit of cinnamon, and then attractively layered in a sweet pastry shell lined with pastry cream (creme patisserie). Baking caramelizes the apples, while an apricot glaze adds sheen and a bit of tartness to the finished dessert.

Although the flavors are similar, this is not as quick to throw together as American style apple pie. Not only will you need to give a little more care to how you slice and arrange the apples, but you'll need to plan ahead to make both the pastry cream and pastry dough well in advance of assembling the tart. 

Ingredients

  • For the Pastry Dough
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (cold, cut into bits)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • Water (cold)
  • For the Pastry Cream
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 vanilla bean (split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla flavoring)
  • For the Apple Layer
  • 5 apples (preferably firm and tart)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Optional: 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • For the Glaze
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice (or water)

Steps to Make It

Note: while there are multiple steps to this recipe, this French apple tart is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for preparation and baking.

Make the Pastry Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for tart ingredients
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

    Flour in bowl
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Add the butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter.

    Add butter
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Work in the egg yolk until the mixture looks like a fine meal.

    Add egg yolk
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Then use a fork to stir in ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough can be gathered together and pressed into a ball.

    Mix with fork
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Shape and flatten the dough into a smooth disc shape, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 

    Shape dough
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cream
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

    Whisk together eggs
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch until smooth; set aside. 

    Whisk in flour
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. In a saucepan, heat the milk with vanilla bean almost to boiling.

    Add milk
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Remove the vanilla bean, then slowly and gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.

    Remove vanilla
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Bring heat to a boil, whisking or stirring constantly while the mixture thickens and reaches a boil. Continue cooking for another half minute while stirring, then remove from the heat.

    Strain mixture
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Lay a piece of plastic film on the surface of the pastry cream and allow it to cool completely before using or chilling. 

    Lay plastic film over pot
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Assemble and Bake the Tart

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for french apple tart
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C).

  3. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples.

    Cut apples
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Place the slices in a bowl and toss gently with the sugar and cinnamon.

    Sprinkle cinnamon over apples
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. If the apples start to brown, you can toss in a tablespoon of lemon juice.

    Pour lemon
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Roll out the pastry and fit into a 9-inch tart pan, trimming the excess dough. 

    Dough in pie plate
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Spread the pastry cream across the bottom of the pastry shell.

    Add filling to crust
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Arrange the apple slices in a pattern over the pastry cream and dot the apples with tiny bits of butter.

    Add butter
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Wrap strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the tart pan to protect the crust from burning.

    Wrap tinfoil around it
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Bake the tart in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.

    Bake
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Remove the foil, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until the apples and crust are nicely colored.

    Bake apple
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Remove the tart to a rack to cool.

    Remove tart
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  13. While the tart is still warm, heat the apricot jam with the lemon juice until boiling.

    Sauce in mug
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  14. Strain the mixture.

    Strain mixture
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  15. Then use a pastry brush to apply the apricot glaze over the apples. 

    Brush on apples
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  16. Refrigerate the tart when it has cooled completely.

    Refridgerate tart
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska
  17. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

    Serve chilled
    The Spruce Eats / Ulyana Verbytska

Tips

  • The sugar quantity in the pastry recipe below is for a less sweet shortcrust; if you'd prefer a sweeter pastry dough, follow the pate sucree recipe instead. 
  • Note that prep and cooking times below do not reflect two hours or more chilling time for the pastry dough.

Recipe Variation

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