Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents

Preparing a Tarte Tatin in this way guarantees a crisp and flaky crust. Unlike traditional Tarte Tatin recipes, the puff pastry crust is baked separately from the caramelized apples. The basket-shaped puff pastry crust is made ahead of time and filled right before serving.

In addition to looking spiffier than the typical brown disk, I think this method is also easier and more foolproof. Unmolding a traditional Tarte Tatin can end in disaster if it decides to remain glued to the skillet. Still delicious, but not pretty.

A vol-au-vent is a hollow puff pastry shell meant to contain a sweet or savory filling. Vol-au-vents tend to be more diminutive in scale than this 8-inch tart and are usually served in appetizer or hors d’oeuvre form. French for “flight of the wind,” the puff pastry crust lives up to its name as a light and airy nest for the golden brown apples and buttery caramel.

recipe adapted from Sherry Yard’s Desserts by the Yard

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents

makes two 8-inch Tarte Tatins, about 8 servings

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents Empty


two 8-inch puff pastry squares, preferably all-butter
one lightly beaten egg (for egg wash)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
6 apples, peeled, split in half lengthwise, cored, and quartered
1/2 cup heavy cream (optional)
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


  • Until I mess around with homemade puff pastry, I’ll be using Trader Joe’s all-butter puff pastry. Containing two 8-inch squares (with a bit of trimming), additional rolling is unnecessary for this recipe. Less rolling = more puff.
  • The original recipe recommends Fuji apples.

Puff Pastry Crust Directions:

Preheat Oven    400ºF / 205ºC with a rack in the middle of the oven

Prepare a half-sheet pan or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

Shape the Puff Pastry
                Using a paring knife, cut a 3/4-inch frame around the
                puff pastry, such that 2 opposing corners are still
                attached to the center.

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents Puff Pastry

                Lift one unattached corner and fold to the opposing

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents Fold

                Repeat with the opposing unattached corner to finish.

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents Shaped

Dock            Using a fork, prick or dock the center of the puff
                pastry (Trader Joe's puff pastry comes pre-docked).

Glaze           Glaze the tops of the borders with the lightly beaten
                egg. Keep the egg wash from dripping down the sides to
                allow the pastry crust to fully rise in the oven.

Bake            400ºF / 205ºC for 15 minutes. Lower the heat to
                350ºF / 175ºC, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for
                another 15 to 20 minutes, until the puff pastry crust
                is well-browned.

Cool            Let the puff pastry crust cool completely on a wire
                rack before filling.

Caramelized Apple Filling Directions and Tarte Tatin Assembly:

  1. Make the Caramelized Apple Filling. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt the butter. Continue cooking the butter until lightly browned. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the sugars evenly on the skillet. Arrange the apples in a tight circular pattern on the skillet, cut side down.
  2. Return the skillet to medium-high heat and cook for about 12 minutes. Using tongs or a spatula, turn the apples onto the other cut side and cook for another 12 to 15 minutes, until the apples are a deep golden brown.
  3. Remove the apples, leaving the caramel in the skillet. Add the heavy cream, if using, and the lemon juice to the caramel. Lower the heat to medium-low and whisk continuously to deglaze. Cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, until the caramel is thickened and warm.
  4. Assemble the Tarte Tatin. Place rows of apples in the puff pastry, about eight to twelve slices for each puff pastry crust.
  5. Spoon the caramel over the apples or serve on the side. Slice the Tarte Tatin into serving portions and serve while still warm.

Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents Top

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41 Responses to “Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents”

  1. Meeta says:

    what a lovely idea. i really like puff pastry and fruit so this is looking really good!

  2. Pigpigscorner says:

    Great dessert! Sounds relatively healthy =P Love how you made the crust.

  3. MyKitchenInHalfCups says:

    Thanks for the step by step of cutting and flipping the edges.
    Very very beautiful!!

  4. Rosa says:

    That’s a great and original idea! Surely delicious!



  5. Zita says:

    Hmmm… neat methode:) so next step your own puff pastry ;)

  6. Joelen says:

    Sooo beautiful!

  7. Gera @ SweetsFoods says:

    You’ve done a very creative delicious extra-idea for this dessert. So beautiful – in my list to try :)
    Thanks Jude!

  8. Leela says:

    I agree. Traditional tarte tatin is delicious but not pretty. No wonder it’s not a bake shop staple. Done this way, the crust stays flaky until serving time, the apple pieces hold their shape well, and the temperature and consistency of the caramel stay under control. Aesthetically pleasant, practical, and delicious. Very creative, Jude.

  9. snooky doodle says:

    wow how nice . It’s got a sort of rustic look which is really nice. I like this version of tart tatin . no last minute disasters with this tart :)

  10. kat says:

    That is absolutely gorgeous!

  11. Ben says:

    That’s what I’ve been doing wrong then. I always bake the puff pastry and the toppings together. duh! Another great post my friend :)

  12. Kate says:

    Oh my – what a delight! The apples remind me of one of my childhood favorites: fried apples (which aren’t exactly fried, more like stewed, but still). I could eat that by the bowlful, until I popped!

    I have to say, though, despite how lovely all these photos are, my favorite is the finished, unbaked ’shaped’ puff pastry. I don’t know why, but it just looks really neat. :D

  13. lisaiscooking says:

    Beautiful tart, and the apples look perfectly cooked!

  14. grace says:

    i do love a tart, and sweet, caramelized apples are the perfect topping to your fancy work. bravo!

  15. Susan/Wild Yeast says:

    Oh my goodness. I am stunned.

  16. erin @ dessert girl says:

    So cool!! Very impressive!

  17. The Duo Dishes says:

    That’s definitely a work of art!

  18. Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella says:

    Very cool Jude! I’ve always wondered how to get that incredibly risen side area. Look at all of those layers!

  19. Aimee says:

    Very sexy! A dressed up version of apple pie.

  20. Sara says:

    This looks gorgeous! I have a sheet of trader joe’s puff pastry in my freezer, I definitely need to make this!

  21. Natashya says:

    That’s so beautiful Jude! So grown up and elegant looking.

  22. Irene says:

    The colors are beautiful! I’ve always been intimidated of tarte tatin, but this seems very doable! By the way, I have finally gathered the courage to try the pain a l’ancienne this weekend. Cross your fingers!

  23. noble pig says:

    It’s so beautiful! I absolutely love what you’ve done here!

  24. sweetbird says:

    Apples and puff pastry? I think I’m in love…

  25. redmenace says:

    Gorgeous and very explanatory. Thanks!

  26. maris says:

    I love the shape of your puff pastry!

  27. Hannah says:

    This is the first I’ve seen a tarte tatin in this format, but I think I prefer the look to the standard! It’s really beautiful.

  28. Soma says:

    Unique.. love ur recipe, instructions & that twist.

  29. Arlette says:

    I am going to do this next week…
    thank you very much for this lovely Tart

  30. Moomins says:

    Love the pastry, really good idea :)
    Nice Job will try it,

  31. Girl Japan says:

    You did an amazing JOB! The contrast in colors, the green plate, the plating, and of course the dish dessert is utterly delicious.

  32. nico says:

    very nice, I’ll try it soon

  33. Karen says:

    I made this for a dinner party last night – it came out exactly as it looks in the pix, tasted wonderful, and everyone was impressed with the creativity of my pastry edges. Much easier than making an apple pie – and much more impressive!

  34. Faery says:

    Wow wow wow beautiful and yummy I’ll copy this recipe,I made puff pastry the other day and did not know what to do with it…
    thanks so much :)

  35. Karen, glad the recipe worked out well for you :)

  36. Recipe Round-Up! ~ Feb 21-27 Sugared Ellipses . . . says:

    [...] said image. Spectacular. That’s the word that exploded right between my eyes when I saw this Tarte Tatin in Vol-au-Vents from Apple Pie, Patis, & [...]

  37. Stuart says:

    I made this as a take along desert to my sister in-laws house unpacking, ma in-law and sister in-law most impressed and gave my wife a hard time about why had she not made it.
    I liked cut and flip to make the case in fact have since used the same process to make a quick dinner of tinned salmon in a white sauce with onions pie. It was great knowing that the pastry would be well cooked and not soggy.

  38. Tried it a few times with savory fillings and it works like a charm. It always makes for tasty little serving containers.

  39. Nannette Meinke says:

    I made a movie about this, would you consider looking at it and maybe leaving a message on what you think about it? (I left the url in the “website” box) thanks much!

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