This classic Easy French Apple Tart is a great Holiday, afternoon tea or Dinner Party Dessert to enjoy this Fall and Winter. Made with a homemade sweet shortcrust pastry, a simple applesauce filling and thinly sliced fresh apples, it is a simple yet delicious French Tart that is always a crowd-pleasing dessert!
Why we love this recipe
If you are looking for a recipe for an easy apple tart, you will not find an easier one than this one! Perfect to serve at a dinner party, bring to friends or for the Holiday season, this French Apple Tart is best served warm with a scoop of Ice Cream.
This tart is basically like a pastry version of my easy French Apple Cake. Both use applesauce and fresh apples to create a delicious fall and winter dessert.
It is made with a Sweet Shortcrust Pastry crust, a simple Applesauce Filling (just like for my Puff Pastry Apple Tartlets!) and some thinly sliced apples. Easy peasy!
The main work of this recipe will be on the Pastry. Although this tart would work great with any type of pastry, especially Puff Pastry, I decided to go for a flakey and buttery Sweet Shortcrust Pastry with Almond Meal, known as Pâte Sucrée in French.
This Classic French Pastry works great with fruit tarts and has the perfect texture to bring some crunch to the dessert!
This tart crust recipe is one of the 3 classic French Pastry: Pâte Sucrée (like here), Pâte Brisée and Pâte Feuilletée (Puff Pastry). The first two are quite similar, and hard to translate in English as there is no real translation to differentiate the two. The last one is the well know Puff Pastry that can be hard to reproduce at home.
All three Pastries will work fine for this recipe so it is really up to you to choose the one you prefer. And if you do not want to make your own pastry, you can obviously buy it.
The most ingredients you will need are for the sweet pastry crust. Once that pastry is made, you will only need 3 ingredients to fill the tart!
To make the sweet almond pastry, you will need:
- Butter at room temperature
- Plain Flour
- Powdered Sugar (or icing sugar)
- Almond Meal
For the apple tart filling, you will need:
- fresh Apples
- a little bit of Lemon Juice
For the Apples, I used Pink Lady Apples - the perfect mix of sweet and tart. The kind of apple you use will really change the taste of the dessert so it is up to you to pick the one you prefer!
Something like a Granny Smith will give a strong, acid taste to the dessert while a Crispin or Golden Delicious will add a lot of sweetness.
Make sure you read my "Best Apple for Baking Guide" to pick the right apple for you and your dessert!
How to make an Apple Tart with Applesauce Filling
As you can tell, there are 3 elements that make this dessert:
- the pastry
- the filling
- the fruits
The pastry part is probably the trickiest, especially if you are not used to make your own. The other two are extremely easy - anyone can do it! Let's look into the 3 steps in more details.
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
There are two ways of making a pastry: by sablage (rubbing dry ingredients with butter then adding a liquid) or by cremage (creaming the butter and sugar then adding the rest of the ingredients).
This recipe was made with the sablage technique in the mixer:
- Mix all the dry ingredients in the bowl of your mixer: Flour, Powdered Sugar, Almond Meal and Salt. Add the Butter cut in small cubes, at room temperature.
- Mix with the flat beater attachment until you get really small crumbs of dough and the butter looks evenly distributed in the flour.
- Add the beaten Egg and quickly mix until combined, then transfer between two sheets of baking paper. Roll the the required dimensions and place in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes
You can read more about this Pastry here, including lots of tips and tricks to get the perfect crust every time!
Note that you can also make it by hands, using your fingers or a Pastry Blender to cut the butter into the dry ingredients. Or even use your food processor!
This tart filling is probably the easiest you will ever find - especially if you buy a pre-made applesauce. Yes, it is a one-ingredient only tart filling!
I usually make my own applesauce so I can control the spices and amount of sugar that goes in, but you can absolutely buy a jar of applesauce if you do not have time to make it.
If you use a store-bought applesauce, I recommend tasting it first and adjusting the flavours to your taste if needed: more or different spices, level of sweetness, a little bit more acidity with lemon juice etc,...
To finish the tart, I very thinly sliced some apples and placed them in 3 circles on the applesauce filling. To get a super thin slice of apple (or any fruit/veg), I highly recommend using a Mandoline Slicer to get evenly sliced apples.
While you slice the apples, place them in a tray or bowl with a little bit of lemon juice. This is to make sure they do not start oxidising and turn brown before baking. At this point, you could also add some spices or sugar to the apples if you want.
This tart is better eaten straight away, or within 24 hours. The Applesauce filling is rather liquid/wet and will start soaking the pastry straight away; which is not especially a problem for taste, but will change the texture of the pastry overtime.
If not eaten straight away, I recommend keeping this apple tart in the fridge for 24 hours (for an optimal texture) or up to 48 hours. Re-heat it a little bit in the oven at low temperature before serving it.
Although technically, you could basically freeze anything, I do not recommend freezing this one.
With the applesauce filling and the thinly sliced apples, it is a rather delicate dessert that would not do well in the freezer. What can easily be done though, if you want to start making this tart early, is to prepare the Sweet Pastry, chill it, fill the tart pan THEN freeze it unbaked.
Unbaked pastries actually do great in the freezer! That way, the hardest part can be done early and you will just have to fill the pastry and bake it with the fillings on the day. Simply add 5 minutes to the blind-baking time to thaw the pastry in the oven.
Like I mentioned above, this tart is better eaten straight away or within 24 hours, before the applesauce starts to soak the pastry. If you would like to make this tart in advance, there are two options:
- make the pastry and freeze it before baking it (see above), then bake it with the apples and filling on the day
- make the pastry and blind bake it the day before, wrap it well and keep it at room temperature for 24 hours then finish the baking with the apples and filling just before serving it.
What to serve with this dessert
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of serving this tart is Vanilla Ice Cream. It's a classic combo between the vanilla and the apples, the hot and cold,... just an all around winner!
But if you want something a bit more original, here are a few other ideas:
- More Applesauce - always homemade!
- a Raspberry Coulis to play with the colours and flavours
- a simple Crème Anglaise
- some Berry Compote
- a little bit of Whipped Cream or Chantilly
More Fruit Tart Ideas:
- Plum and Vanilla Custard Tart
- Orange Cream Tart
- Rhubarb Custard Tart
- Pear Frangipane Tartlets
- Strawberry Tartlets with Custard
- 4 Ingredients Berry Tarts from Kidgredients
More French Dessert Ideas:
- How to make Profiteroles
- Triple French Chocolate Tart
- Choux à la Crème (French Cream Puffs)
- How to make Pastry Cream
- Gluten-Free Apple Cake
- French Buckwheat Crepes
- Almond Cream Filling (Frangipane)
- Sablé Breton Cookies (French Salted Butter Cookies)
- French Chocolate Ganache Tart
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Easy French Apple Tart
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- 120 gr (1/2 cup) Butter - soft, at room temperature
- 15 gr (2 tbsp) Powdered Sugar - Or icing sugar
- 1 Egg
- 40 gr (1/3 cup + 2 tbsp) Almond Meal
- 1 pinch Salt
- 200 gr ( 1 1/3 cup) Plain Flour
Apple Tart Filling
- 350 ml (12 oz) Applesauce - preferably homemade
- 3 large Apples
- 2 tbsp Lemon Juice
Sweet Shortcrust Pastry
- Cream the soft Butter and Powdered Sugar in the bowl of your mixer for about 2 to 3 minutes or until pale and fluffy. Mix in the Egg, Almond Meal and Salt until combined.
- Mix in the Flour on the lowest speed and stop as soon as the dough comes together to avoid overworking the pastry.
- Place the pastry between two sheets of baking paper and roll into a thin circle, larger than your tart pan. Place over a flat tray in the fridge to rest for at least 30 minutes to 1 hour, then line your tart pan with the pastry (see note 1). Prick the bottom with a fork and place back in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat your oven on 160'C/325'F. While the over is preheating, place the pastry in the freezer. Blind bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the pastry is dry to the touch (see note 2). Set aside to cool down completely.
Apple Tart Filling
- Thinly slice the Apples, using a Mandoline or a sharp knife. Place in a tray with the Lemon Juice amd mix with your fingers to insure there is lemon juice all over the sliced apples.
- Fill the pastry crust with the Applesauce, using a spatula or the back of a spoon to spread it evenly.
- Place the sliced apples in circle over the applesauce, starting from the edges and finishing in the center of the tart.
- Bake for another 10 minutes, just to soften up the apple slices.
- Optional: you can brush some Apricot Jam (or any fruit jam/preserve) over the baked apples for a shiny finish
- Leave to cool down a bit then serve warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream
- If the pastry feels hard and difficult to handle, leave on your bench for a few minutes until it comes back to room temperature.
- The pastry should be almost fully cooked by then. If the pastry edges seems to be getting a pronounced colour, remove from the oven or lower the temperature.