French Apple Tart Recipe With Pastry Cream

French apple tart tarte aux pommes recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Prep: 70 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Chill and Cool: 5 hrs
Total: 7 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
432 Calories
18g Fat
63g Carbs
8g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 10g 49%
Cholesterol 176mg 59%
Sodium 191mg 8%
Total Carbohydrate 63g 23%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 37g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 5mg 27%
Calcium 71mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 218mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

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. 

"While it requires a bit of time and planning, this tart is as delicious as it is beautiful. The pastry cream is easy to make and not overly sweet, the crust bakes up nice and crisp, and the apples cook down perfectly." —Kayla Hoang

French Apple Tart Recipe With Pastry Cream Tester Image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

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 large egg yolk

  • Ice-cold water

For the Pastry Cream:

  • 3 large egg yolks

  • 3 to 4 tablespoons sugar

  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour

  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Apple Layer:

  • 3 large or 4 small apples, preferably firm and tart

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice, optional

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted 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

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  2. Combine the flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl.

    Flour in bowl

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  3. Add the cold butter and work it into the flour mixture with your fingers or a pastry cutter until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.

    Add butter

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  4. Work in the egg yolk until the mixture looks like a fine meal.

    Add egg yolk

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  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

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  6. Shape and flatten the dough into a smooth disc shape, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight. 

    Shape dough

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Make the Pastry Cream

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for cream

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  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar.

    Whisk together eggs

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  3. Whisk in the flour and cornstarch until smooth; set aside. 

    Whisk in flour

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  4. In a saucepan, heat the milk with vanilla bean almost to boiling. If using vanilla extract, add it later in step 6.

    Add milk

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  5. Remove the vanilla bean, then slowly and gradually whisk the milk into the egg mixture.

    Remove vanilla bean

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  6. Strain the mixture back into the saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil, whisking or stirring constantly, until thickened. Continue cooking for another half minute while stirring, then remove from the heat. Whisk in the vanilla extract, if using.

    Strain mixture

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  7. Lay a piece of plastic film on the surface of the pastry cream. Cool down the pastry cream by either chilling it in the fridge or over an ice bath, stirring from time to time.

    Lay plastic film over pot

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Assemble and Bake the Tart

  1. Gather the ingredients. Preheat the oven to 400 F/200 C.

    Ingredients for french apple tart

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

    Cut apples

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  3. Place the slices in a bowl and toss gently with the sugar and cinnamon.

    Sprinkle cinnamon over apples

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  4. If the apples start to brown, you can toss in a tablespoon of lemon juice.

    Put lemon juice on if apples start to brown

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  5. Roll out the pastry into a circle about 1/8-inch thick and fit into a 9-inch tart pan, trimming the excess dough. 

    Dough in pie plate

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  6. Give the chilled pastry cream a good whisk to loosen and smooth it out. Spread the pastry cream across the bottom of the pastry shell.

    Add filling to crust

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  7. Arrange the apple slices in a pattern over the pastry cream and dot the apples with tiny bits of butter.

    Add apples slices and butter

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  8. Wrap strips of aluminum foil around the edges of the tart pan to protect the crust from burning.

    Wrap tinfoil around crimped edges

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  9. Bake the tart in the preheated oven for about 40 minutes.

    Bake the tart

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  10. Remove the foil, and continue baking for another 10 minutes, or until the apples and crust are nicely colored.

    remove foil and bake apple tart more

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  11. Remove the tart to a rack to cool.

    tart cooling on wire rack

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  12. While the tart is still warm, heat the apricot jam with the lemon juice until boiling.

    Sauce in mug

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  13. Strain the mixture.

    Strain mixture

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  14. Then use a pastry brush to apply the apricot glaze over the apples. 

    Brush sauce on apples

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  15. Refrigerate the tart when it has cooled completely.

    Refridgerate tart

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  16. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

    Serve chilled

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Tips

  • For greater ease transferring the tart into and out of the oven, build the tart in the tart pan set on a rimmed baking sheet. Baking the tart on a baking sheet will not change the cook time.
  • 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. 

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