Apple Tart: A Sweet Delight With A Rich History

If you are looking for a fruity dessert with buttery and flaky crusts, it must be an apple tart. There's something truly magical about biting into a warm, gooey slice of apple tart, with all the cinnamon-y, sugary goodness oozing out and tickling your taste buds. It might seem like a hug from your grandma wrapped in a dessert! This classic French pastry is made with thinly sliced apples, arranged in a circular pattern on a buttery and flaky crust, and baked to perfection. The combination of sweet and tart apples (preferably Granny Smith apples), cinnamon, sugar, and buttery crust creates a symphony of flavours that are simply irresistible. The perfectly arranged apple slices on top of the crust in an apple tart make it a beautiful dessert, perfect for any occasion. Also, it is an all-time favourite among many pastry lovers worldwide.

Apple tart is a versatile dessert that can be served warm or cold, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or even caramel sauce. It is perfect for a cosy evening with family, a weekend brunch, or a formal dinner party. But where did this delicious dish come from? To uncover the history of the classic apple tart, we have to travel back in time to the early days of baking.

History Of Apple Tart

The history of apple tart is as delightful and quirky as the dessert itself. It all began in the Middle Ages when apples were one of the few fruits readily available in Europe. While apples were eaten fresh, it was also common to preserve them in various forms for use during the winter months. One of these forms was apple jelly, which was made by cooking and straining apples until they produced thick, translucent jelly.

The first recorded recipe for an apple tart appeared in a French cookbook in the late 14th century. It was a simple recipe that called for a crust made of flour, butter, and water, filled with sliced apples that had been cooked with sugar and spices. The tart was then baked until the crust was golden brown and the apples were tender.

Over the years, apple tarts evolved and became more elaborate. In the 16th century, Queen Elizabeth I of England was known to enjoy a version of apple tart that was filled with candied citrus peel, quince marmalade, and dried fruit in addition to the apples. The tart was often served at court banquets, and it became popular among the nobility.

During the Renaissance, pastry chefs in France and Italy began experimenting with new ways to make apple tarts. They added cream, eggs, and even cheese to the filling, creating a rich and decadent dessert that was enjoyed by the upper classes. One popular variation was the tarte tatin, which was invented in the late 19th century by the Tatin sisters in France. Legend has it that they accidentally dropped an apple tart while trying to flip it over, and in a stroke of genius, they decided to serve it upside down. The result was a caramelised apple tart that was so delicious it became a classic French dessert. 

In America, apple pie was the preferred apple dessert, but apple tarts started to gain popularity in the early 20th century. One of the most famous versions was the apple tartlet, which was served at the White House during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. The tartlet was made with a flaky pastry crust and a filling of spiced apples, raisins, and currants.

Today, apple tart continues to be a beloved dessert around the world. It can be made in many different ways, with various types of crusts, fillings, and toppings. Some people prefer a classic apple tart made with a buttery crust and thinly sliced apples, while others like to experiment with different flavours and textures. You might find an apple tart topped with crumbly streusel, drizzled with caramel sauce, or even sprinkled with bacon bits!

Here's an easy recipe for a delicious apple tart:


  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
  • 3-4 tablespoons ice water
  • 4 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon coarse sugar (optional)


  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Cut in the chilled butter with a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  • Gradually add the ice water, one tablespoon at a time, until the dough comes together in a ball. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough into a 12-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim the edges with a sharp knife.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine the sliced apples, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Toss to coat the apples evenly.
  • Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles over the pastry crust. Drizzle the melted butter over the apples.
  • Brush the beaten egg over the edges of the pastry crust. Sprinkle the coarse sugar over the egg wash, if desired.
  • Bake the tart in the preheated oven for 45–50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. If the crust starts to brown too quickly, cover it with aluminium foil.
  • Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for 10–15 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

From its humble beginnings as a simple pie to its current status as a sophisticated dessert, the apple tart has remained a favourite of sweet-toothed individuals all over the world. So, before tasting your apple tart, take a moment to appreciate the centuries of culinary history that have gone into creating this delicious treat!