FoodFrom accidental dessert to French icon: The remarkable journey of Tarte Tatin

From accidental dessert to French icon: The remarkable journey of Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin
Images source: © Adobe Stock

9:46 AM EST, February 3, 2024, updated: 4:24 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Tarte Tatin originates from the traditional French tart, with apples as the primary ingredient. This exceptional dish was first created in the quaint little town of Lamotte-Beuvron in 1898 and is believed to be the brainchild of Stéphanie Tatin, who, along with her sister Caroline, ran a hotel and restaurant that are still functioning to this day.

Tarte Tatin - A journey from accident to success

The narrative behind this tart's creation is somewhat unusual. While preparing a typical apple tart, Stéphanie Tatin deviated from the norm. Instead of commencing with the dough, she decided to layer the apples, which she subsequently covered with dough. The outcome of her experiment was surprisingly pleasing, and even more so since Stéphanie chose to serve the tart warm.

Tarte Tatin rapidly became the signature dish of the Hotel Tatin. The recipe for this dessert soon spread throughout the Sologne region and later gained international renown. This can likely be attributed to Louis Vaudable, a Parisian restaurateur. During his stay in Lamotte-Beuvron, Vaudable had the opportunity to try the Tarte Tatin. He was so captivated by its flavor that he included it in Maxim's restaurant's menu.

In Lamotte-Beuvron, locals established an exclusive society called La Confrérie des Lichonneux de Tarte Tatin. The principal aim of this organization is to promote and safeguard the authentic Tarte Tatin. The association's members dress in distinctive outfits that mimic traditional rural attire, including blue shirts, red scarves, and black hats. A festival and market, where the tart is sampled, are organized annually.

Tarte Tatin Recipe


For the dough:

Tarte Tatin
Tarte Tatin© Adobe Stock
  • 6.2 ounces of wheat flour (rounded),
  • 2.6 ounces of butter (rounded),
  • 1.4 ounces of powdered sugar (rounded),
  • 2 egg yolks,
  • A pinch of salt.

For the filling:

  • 6 firm, sour apples,
  • 4 tablespoons of butter,
  • 4 tablespoons of sugar.


  1. Sift the flour onto a pastry board and add the firm butter cut into cubes, egg yolks, salt, and sugar. Start to knead the dough. Once prepared, wrap the dough in foil and refrigerate for at least an hour.
  2. Peel the apples and cut them into quarters. Heat the sugar in a pan until it turns light brown, then add the butter. Stir well to combine.
  3. Add the apples to the prepared caramel. Cook them in the caramel for about 15 minutes or until they soften.
  4. Line a pan of 9.8 inches in diameter (rounded) with parchment paper, then cover the bottom with the caramel-glazed apples. Cover it with the rolled-out dough, folding the edges inward to keep the apples and caramel from seeping. Prick the top of the dough with a fork and bake the tart for about 25 minutes at 374 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. Once the tart is ready, cover it with a plate and carefully flip it over so that the apple-covered side of the tart is on top.
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