Vegan tarte tatin

Vegan tarte tatin

vegan tarte tatin

Now that autumn is finally here, we have a classic French recipe to share with you: vegan tarte tatin. This dish marries up apples, autumn spices and brandy and presents them on a deliciously flaky pastry crust.

This dish is so wonderful because you get that amazing apple pie experience without all the difficult and intricate pastry work that sometimes comes with making an actual pie. You just bathe the apples in some olive oil, maple syrup and spices, whack a sheet of puff pastry on the top of the pan and stick it in the oven for 30 minutes… Turn it upside down and you have a rich autumn dessert that you won’t be able to stop eating!

A lot of you will be thinking that it might have been difficult to ‘veganise’ a dish that traditionally involves apples cooked in butter and is served on puff pastry (which is traditionally butter and flour). Firstly, most puff pastry that you find in the supermarkets (like Jus-Rol or Pepperidge Farm*) is actually vegan as they replace butter with vegetable oils to reduce costs.

Ironically, vegans get a lot of criticism for finding imaginative alternatives to ‘old school’ cooking, but a lot of the time most store-bought processed versions of cakes and sweets deviate even more from the original recipe! To make the rest of the recipe vegan I substituted sugar for maple syrup and butter for olive oil. Because butter typically brings richness, I decided that I needed to be on my ‘A’ game for this recipe, so I added in some autumnal spices, vanilla and brandy, just to give it an extra kick.

The trick with this recipe is getting the fruit to the point that, by the time you take the tart out of the oven, the fruit holds together but is right on the cusp of breaking up. Ideally, you should be able to cut through the apples with a spoon very easily.

We went for a very dark caramelisation on the fruit, so our version is not massively sweet as the sugar loses its sweetness when the caramel is darker. If you want a sweeter tart you could achieve this by not letting the sugar turn as brown (4th step) which would also result in a tart that was a lot lighter in colour. However dark your finished product, this is amazing as an after dinner autumn dessert and perfectly respectable as an afternoon snack to have with coffee. Enjoy!

apples in caramel for vegan tarte tatin

apples in caramel for vegan tarte tatin close up

vegan tarte tatin rolling out pastry

vegan tarte tatin apples after baking

vegan tarte tatin pastry close up

vegan tarte tatin slice

24 cm / 9.5"
15 min
55 min
24 cm / 9.5"
15 min
55 min
  • 1.2 kg / 2.6 lb apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • 130 g / ½ cup + 2 tbsp caster sugar OR 150 ml / ½ cup + 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 45 ml / 3 tbsp olive oil (mild tasting)
  • 1 star anise
  • 3 cardamom pods
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks (I used 2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks)
  • ½ vanilla pod
  • 1 tbsp brandy
  • 400 g vegan puff pastry*
  1. Peel the apples, cut them into quarters and cut out the core using a pairing knife.
  2. Put the caster sugar or maple syrup, olive oil, star anise, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick into a 24 cm / 9.5″ ovenproof frying pan / skillet.
  3. Scrape the seeds from the half a vanilla pod and put them and the pod itself into the pan.
  4. Place on a medium heat and give it a good stir. If using sugar, the mixture will look like an olive oil granita until the sugar melts into the oil. After a few minutes of gentle bubbling, the mixture will separate, turn an amber colour and start to bubble more vigorously. Watch the mixture carefully and the minute the sugar turns dark amber (don’t push it too far as it will burn), take the pan off the heat.
  5. Add the cut apple pieces into the pan gradually, coat them in the caramel mixture and start to simmer on a low heat. As the apple starts to shrink you should then be able to fit all of the apple pieces in the pan. Caramelise the apples for another 15 minutes until they turn golden. Move the pieces around the pan so that they caramelise at the same pace. The sides touching the pan will cook quicker so if some pieces look more done than others, remove them from the pan and set aside on a small plate so that the other pieces have a chance to catch up.
  6. Add brandy and simmer for another 10 minutes (until the apple pieces are the same colour as the 2nd and 3rd photo). By the end, the apples should be pre-cooked enough that you should be able to insert a skewer into the flesh with a considerable amount of resistance.
  7. Preheat the oven to 200° C / 390° F.
  8. Leave the apple mixture to cool for 15 minutes so that you can handle the apples with your hands. At this point arrange the apple pieces on a side, in a spiral shape. Make sure the cinnamon stick, cardamom pods, vanilla pod and star anise are on the pan itself so they can be removed easily once the tart is cooked.
  9. Roll out the puff pastry to 3 mm / 0.1″ and, using a plate that is slightly larger than the pan, cut out a circle of pastry.
  10. Drape the pastry over the pan and make sure you tuck in all the edges down the side of the pan. This will give you that rustic tarte tatin crust.
  11. Pierce the pastry 3-5 times with a skewer to allow the steam to escape and bake in the oven for 15 minutes.
  12. Turn the oven temperature down to 180° C / 355° F and cook for a further 15-25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown. Be careful not to burn yourself when removing the pan out of the oven as the pan’s handle will be piping hot.
  13. Leave the tart to cool for at least 15 minutes (making sure the pan handle has cooled from the oven!). Place a plate on top of the pan and, holding the plate against the pan, flip the pan upside down
  14. Serve on its own or with some vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.

*I know that Jus-Rol and Pepperidge Farm are definitely vegan and that Dufour definitely isn’t. If in doubt, check the packet for more details.

19 g
16 g
4 g
3 g
38 g
*per serving
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4 reviews, 12 comments
Maya Reese:
This came out beautiful and absolutely delicious. The only thing I changed is the shape of how I cut the apples to get the more classic look.
    Glad to hear that you enjoyed this, Maya! And thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review - much appreciated. x Ania
Hi Lazy Cats,
I made this last night using the maple syrup version and it was delicious. I really liked your instructions, particularly the way you staggered the apple frying to fit as many as possible in the tarte. I didn't have any light olive oil and used macadamia oil instead, which has a much higher burn point anyway, and it worked very well. Thank you!
    We are delighted to hear that, Martha! Thanks for taking the time to let us know! Ania
Just made this and absolutely had to review! This recipe is perfect and I think this is one of the best deserts I’ve ever eaten! Even those who do not follow a plant based diet cannot fault this desert. Will definetly be making again :) thank you! Xx
    Aw, thank you for your kind words, Cass! I'm delighted to hear that! Ania
Dear Ania and Duncan - I only just discovered your IG page and I am in love! I'm wondering whether you can substitute the caster sugar here for coconut sugar? Many thanks :)
    Hi Malinder,
    Thank you, we are so glad to hear that you found us too! And pleased to hear you like the recipes. I don't really use coconut sugar myself, but I don't see why it wouldn't work in this instance. Let me know how you get on! Ania
Mitanti Ghosh:
I am a big fan of Tarte Tatin and a favorite dessert whenever I am eating out (I live in Paris) or I have the luxury of cooking time. I am however not a vegan, and never tried "veganising" dishes. But your tarte tatin looks delicious and perfect. I must say the picture is just as good as the non-vegan ones with lots of butter that we get here in Paris. Congratulations and keep cooking such lovely dishes.
    Thanks so much, Mitanti for your kind words! I'm really pleased to hear that! :) Ania
This is absolutely gorgeous! Love the photos. I'm about to make a vegan tarte tatin myself (apricot) and stumbled across this whilst looking for inspiration. I'll have to give your recipe a try when apples are in season in Australia!
    Thanks, Bek! That's so nice of you to say! Apricot tart tatin sounds like a dream, especially that it's depth of winter where I'm now!
I love nothing more than my mums classic apple tart tatin! But I might have to give this a go.
    Nothing ever beats mum's cooking, does it? ;) Hope you'll like it!
Jeannie Mayer:
This looks really good. I am getting more apples in my CSA this week so I definitely will try this. Thanks!
    Thanks, Jeannie. That's so nice to hear! Hope'll love it!
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