French Apple Tart with Maple Syrup Glaze

When you work from home, baking from scratch can become part of your usual routine, like making the same French apple tart recipe three times in one month.

Vertical image of a whole round dessert topped with fruit slices, with text on the top and bottom of the image.

It’s been far easier to cook and bake from home, ever since I started freelance writing. It’s a pretty sweet arrangement, although it has changed a bit, now that I have this little person who needs one-on-one attention every 1.5 hours or so.

Right alongside working from home and raising a child, Tim and I are cooking more together again – which is why we’ve had this dessert three times recently.

Vertical image of a pastry topped with slices of fruit in a pan next to fruit, a bowl of flour, and a metal serving knife.

The first time was when we were in Chicago about a week ago, and Time and I helped my mom make it. Hers was executed beautifully, with perfectly sliced and arranged apples glazed with apricot jam, and a cookie-like sweet pastry crust.

The next two times were here at home. Clearly, the flavor is a solid A+.

Horizontal top-down image of a whole pastry covered in thin slices of fruit arranged in groups.

If I never eat another apple dessert ever again, it will be totally okay. I’m telling you, Tim and I would be happy with just this one… over and over again.

The recipe is close to my mom’s version – she makes two distinct layers of apples: a bottom layer of lightly sweetened cooked apples, and a top layer comprised of a beautiful arrangement of sliced fruit.

The only big difference is that I glaze mine with maple syrup, which is always on hand in my kitchen throughout my fall and winter holiday baking.

Vertical close-up image of arranged apple slices on a cooked pastry.

What originally won me over with this tart is the crust. It’s not a flaky pie crust. Known as pâte sablée in the French pastry world, this is a sweet pastry dough.

The best way that I can describe it is that it tastes like a cookie crust – sweet, firm, and buttery like a vanilla shortbread, yet rolled into a crust.

Vertical top-down image of

Making the crust and prepping all of the fruit takes a little elbow grease, or at least it did for me, balancing a baby on one hip while I rolled out the dough… but it’s worth it.

Worth it, worth it, worth it.

Print
Horizontal image of a whole apple pastry in a pan next to a bowl of flour, whole fruit, and a serving knife.

French Apple Tart with Maple Syrup Glaze


  • Author: Shanna Mallon
  • Prep Time: 35 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
  • Yield: 1 9-inch tart (8 servings) 1x

Description

Looking for a dessert to show off a bunch of pretty apples? Make our beautiful French apple tart with a maple syrup glaze.


Scale

Ingredients

For the Tart Dough:

  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons cold water
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the Filling:

  • 45 apples
  • 1 teaspoon lemon (or lime) juice
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon water

For the Top:

  • 23 apples
  • 1 tablespoon cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Instructions

For the Crust:

  1. Set out a clean 9-inch-round tart pan.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
  4. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until all of the butter pieces are no larger than small peas throughout.
  5. Add the egg mixture, and mix with your hands until everything is combined and comes together to form a dough.
  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Use a floured rolling pin to roll out the dough in a circle shape until it is a little larger than the size of the 9-inch tart pan.
  7. Transfer the dough to the tart pan. Use your fingers and hands to press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Cut off any excess dough.
  8. Let chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.

For the Filling:

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples for the filling. If they are small, use 5.
  3. In a large saucepan, combine all of the filling ingredients. Cook the mixture over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft enough that a fork can easily be inserted into a slice.
  4. Remove from the heat and let cool completely in the pan while you slice the remaining apples.

To Assemble and Bake:

  1. Core and thinly slice the remaining 2-3 apples for the topping. If they are small, use 3.
  2. Spread the cooled apple mixture into the bottom of the chilled tart crust. Arrange the sliced apples decoratively on top.
  3. Evenly dot the top of the tart with the pieces of butter.
  4. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the apples are soft and browned on top and the crust is golden.
  5. Remove from the oven. While still warm, brush with maple syrup all over the top of the fruit to create a thin glaze.
  6. Serve warm or cold. Store in the refrigerator.

  • Category: Tart
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Dessert

Keywords: French apple tart, apple, maple syrup

Cooking by the Numbers…

Step 1 – Make the Dough

Horizontal image of a light brown liquid mixture on a blue and white patterned cloth.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolk, water, and vanilla extract, and set aside.

Horizontal image of a whisk in a bowl of dry white ingredients next to bowls of other ingredients and whole fruit.

In a large bowl, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, and salt.

Horizontal image of cutting butter into flour with a pastry cutter.
Cut the unsalted butter into the flour mixture until all of the butter pieces are no larger than small peas throughout the mixture. I prefer to use a pastry cutter for this step, but you could also use two knives.

Horizontal image of a hand mixing wet and dry ingredients together in a white bowl.

Add the egg mixture, and mix with your hands until everything is combined and a dough forms. Don’t mix too much, or else the final texture will be too chewy.

Horizontal image of a thick dough in a white bowl next to whole apples.

The egg, an ingredient that isn’t included in a traditional pie crust, helps to stabilize the mixture, so it’s not as delicate as a typical pie crust. The texture becomes more cookie-like, and the flavor is delicious, especially with the addition of vanilla extract.

Step 2 – Roll out the Dough

Horizontal image of a thick dough on a wooden cutting board covered in flour next to a rolling pin.

Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface. Lightly flour the top of the dough, and use a floured rolling pin to roll it out in a circle shape until it is a little larger in diameter than your 9-inch tart pan.

Horizontal image of an empty tart pan on top of rolled out pie dough.

Keep some extra flour in a bowl nearby. You will definitely need to dust the rolling pin, your hands, the rolling surface, and the dough itself with additional flour to prevent sticking as you continue to flatten and shape the dough.

Step 3 – Line Tart Pan with the Dough

Horizontal image of a folding piece of dough on top of an empty metal pan.

Transfer the dough to the tart pan.

Not really sure how, without ripping the dough? You can either roll the dough around the rolling pin, and then un-roll it over the pan…

Horizontal image of a thick dough gently placed on top of a circle pan.

… Or, you can gently fold the dough in half and transfer it over to the pan, lining the folded edge up in the middle of the pan, and then unfold. This is the method that I used for this recipe, which you can see pictured above.

Use your lightly floured fingers and hands to firmly press the dough into the bottom of the pan, and up the sides. Trim off any excess dough.

Horizontal image of a dough-covered circular pan on a cutting board, with excess pieces of pastry surrounding it.

Transfer the pan to the refrigerator to chill while you make the filling.

Step 4 – Make the Filling

Preheat your oven to 425°F.

Peel, core, and thinly slice 4 to 5 apples. Go for 5 if the fruit is on the smaller side.

Not sure which type of apples to use? Check out our guide to the choosing the best types for cooking and baking.

Horizontal image of a bowl of gently cooked skinned apple slices.

In a large saucepan, combine all of the filling ingredients: the prepped fruit, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and water.

Cook the mixture over low heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the apples are soft enough that a fork can easily be inserted into them. Remove from the heat and let cool completely while you slice the apples for the topping.

Step 5 – Slice the Fruit for the Topping

Horizontal image of slices of apples placed in small groups on a wooden cutting board.

Core and thinly slice the remaining 2-3 apples for the topping. Again, if they’re on the small side, prep one or two more. Use a sharp knife and a sturdy cutting board for this step to get clean, even slices.

I like the look of the skins on the fruit, but you can definitely peel them if you prefer.

Step 6 – Assemble

Horizontal image of gently cooked skinned and sliced apples inside of a tart, with more sliced apples with skins on a cutting board next to it.

Spread the cooled apple mixture into the bottom of the prepared and chilled tart crust.

Arrange the sliced apples on top. Depending on how large the slices are, you may not need to use all of them. Save any leftovers for a snack!

Horizontal image of slices of apples arranged in a cool pattern in a tart.

Evenly dot the top of the tart with the pieces of butter.

Horizontal image of a sliced fruit with squares of butter in a circular pan.

Need a little extra design inspiration for how exactly you can arrange the slices on top? Use one of our preferred options for a decorative look:

Rustic Charm

This one is easy and simple: just pile the apple slices on top – intentionally messy, but in a good way!

Classic and Elegant

Neatly shingle pieces on top of each other in a round pattern, starting around the circumference from the outside and working your way to the center.

Fun and Whimsical

For something that’s more one-of-a-kind, group slices together and arrange them upright in random sections on the top of the tart. It’s what we did with our version that you see here!

Step 6 – Bake and Glaze

Place in the oven, and bake for 10 minutes.

Horizontal image of glazing a whole fruit pastry in syrup with a red pastry brush.

Lower the temperature to 350°F and bake for an additional 50-60 minutes, or until the apples are soft and browned and the crust is golden.

Remove from the oven. While it’s still warm, glaze with maple syrup all over the top of the tart using a pastry brush to create a thin, even coating.

Step 7 – Serve

Horizontal image of a whole apple pastry in a pan next to a bowl of flour, whole fruit, and a serving knife.

As my mom’s notes on this recipe say, “Serve warm or cold – great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!”

It really is delicious at any time of day. If serving warm, consider topping each slice with some homemade ice cream.

Display, Not Hide, Those Beautiful Apples!

Why hide something so pretty?

You tend to cover up most traditional apple pies with a top crust, or a thick coating of crunchy streusel. All are tasty options, of course, but a French apple tart shows off the meticulously cut and arranged fruit slices on top – a layer of beauty!

Horizontal image of a French apple tart in front of whole fruit.

What will you choose to do? Rustic, classic, or whimsical?

Do you have any other fun ways of arranging the fruit on top? Leave us a message in the comment section below!

Looking for more apple recipes? Try these sweet seasonal desserts next:

Photos by Nikki Cervone, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on October 11, 2015. Last updated: November 18, 2019 at 14:47 pm. With additional writing and editing by Nikki Cervone.

Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Sauces and Spreads Dips Breakfast and Brunch Recipes Soups & Stews Pressure Cooked French Valentine's Day Casseroles Breads French Press Beef Slow Cooker and Crock-Pot Meals Desserts Herbs and Spices How To Pies
Sort by

About Shanna Mallon

Shanna Mallon is a freelance writer who holds an MA in writing from DePaul University. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets, including The Kitchn, Better Homes & Gardens, Taste of Home, Houzz.com, Foodista, Entrepreneur, and Ragan PR. In 2014, she co-authored The Einkorn Cookbook with her husband, Tim. Today, you can find her digging into food topics and celebrating the everyday grace of eating on her blog, Go Eat Your Bread with Joy. Shanna lives in Nashville, Tennessee, with Tim and their two small kids.

10 thoughts on “French Apple Tart with Maple Syrup Glaze”

  1. I am in love with all things apple. I hate how it gets pushed behind pumpkin in the fall! Can’t wait to try this. p.s. your arrangement game looks pretty strong to me! 🙂

  2. i’m sure it’s bitter sweet to be back to work. and it sounds like you are settling into life as a family of 3. it makes me giddy to watch as Rocco grows.

    this apple tart is beautiful simplicity. and lovely work on the pattern! xo

  3. Hey Shanna! if this is your favorite apple tart, then I definitely have to try it. Do you think gluten-free flour blend would work as a 1:1 substitute? By the way, I might use this crust in ramekins instead of a tart pan cos I don’t have one currently. Anyway, love that you and Tim cook so much together! Juan and I cook together once in a while, but most recently, since I’m doing most of the cooking while he washes up. Which is fair game too. 🙂

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.