Monday, 21 November 2011

Tarte aux Pommes

The moment I tasted the tart you see here, I danced around my kitchen in jubilation. I've been trying to recreate this recipe for almost as long as I've been cooking.

The tarte aux pommes at Chez Simon is legendary. It's a Verbier staple - I've eaten it every winter for 19 years.

I finally discovered the key a few days ago: cream (as in all good things). There's this wonderful touch of creaminess underneath the apples I couldn't work out. It's not a full layer - just a tiny touch that slightly curdles into the juices. I can't explain why this is so heavenly, but it is. You can use either double cream or sour cream.

Together with a simple pastry, just-cooked apples and plenty of cinnamon and sugar, you have winter perfection. All you need is hot chocolate and a blustery wind to redden your cheeks. Sparkly snow optional.

Tarte aux Pommes
(inspired by Chez Simon's original, though I don't have his recipe)

For the pastry:
60g plain flour
1 tsp sugar
pinch salt
30g cold butter, cut into cubes
cold water to bind (about 1.5 tbsp)

For the filling:
1 tsp lemon juice
1-2 fairly tart apples, such as Granny Smith
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp double cream or sour cream

Sieve the flour, sugar and salt into a mixing bowl. Toss in the cubes of cold butter. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingers until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add a tablespoon of water and use a blunt knife to combine with the crumbs. Add a dribble more water until the dough comes together into a ball (use your hands at the end). Squish into a disc, wrap in cling film and chill for at least 20 minutes.

When the pastry has chilled, roll it out on a lightly flour-dusted surface into a circle an inch larger than your tin (a shallow 8” tin is perfect) – there is enough dough but it will be thin. Drape the pastry over your rolling pin and place it into the tin. Press into the corners and sides. Leave to rest in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Trim the sides down to 2cm, press in again and prick the bottom all over with a fork. Then line with paper and pack tightly to the top with baking beans. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked except for a little dampness in the centre.

Place the lemon juice in a medium sized bowl and add a few inches of water. Peel the apples, placing them in the water as you go to stop browning. Half and quarter the apples and slice out the core. Thinly cut them lengthways into strips, so you have a pile of semi-circles – this is faster if you have a mandolin.

Turn the oven up to 220C/425F. Mix the sugar and cinnamon together in a small container. Spread the sour cream over the bottom of the pastry case in a thin layer. Drain the apple slices, then tart arranging them in the case – begin with a row down the middle, tightly overlapping them so you don’t see the cored middle. Continue to the bottom and then start another row, repeating until the case is covered.

Sprinkle evenly with the sugar mix and bake at the top of the oven for 10-15 minutes or until the apples are soft (and knife should easily go through them) and the pastry is lightly browned. Best eaten while it’s still warm with your hands, like a slice of pizza.

(Makes 6 slices)


  1. Who would have thought such a small amount of cream could transform and make a dish hey! Great job!

  2. Simplicity is always so appealling. You can never go wrong with a touch of cream. Gorgeous tart - I bet this didn't stay around long.

  3. I love that moment when you figure out the secret to a dish. I can exactly picture how the cream transforms this apple tart. I'll have to try it!

  4. How utterly wonderful...thank you thank you for recipe :)!!!!!!!

  5. Delicious! Not even a lot of cream - healthy, I would say! As we approach summer I appreciate your wonderful wintery photo! day!

  6. This looks so good!! Awexome that you were able to figure out the recipe on your own and I bet when you first tasted it was a good feeling! I am drooling over the picture!!

  7. Oh, it looks just perfect! Great job on figuring out the recipe. It is always hard to recreate something to the t.

  8. Such a sumptuous tart with seasonal apples. A very delightful treat to savor with a cup of tea. It is just beautiful!

  9. This looks absolutely gorgeous (as does the beautiful photo of sparkling snow!). How wonderful to be able to create a dish that you love so much, and with something as simple as a touch of cream. Beautiful.

  10. Sips and Spoonfuls - Crazy, isn't it - just a little touch.

    Amber - Thank you!

    Sally - Simplicity is wonderful, as you say. Something so comforting about it. It didn't stay around at all - I gobbled it up at a quite ashaming rate.

    susaneatslondon - It's a wonderful moment, isn't it. Do try it, it's lovely :)

    Maria - My pleasure! Glad you like it.

    Marcellina - Haha yes it's positively angelic! (especially when I add hot chocolate...) To be honest, Verbier is very sunny and we have no snow at the moment - that is from last year!

    Courtney - It was such a good feeling when that flood of recognition came through. Glad you like it!

    Kirsten - It is difficult - I should probably have layered the apples a little thicker to be totally correct, but I like how light it is like this - just a snack, not a heavy pudding.

    Deb - I don't believe I've ever had it with tea (always hot chocolate!) but I'm sure it would be wonderful :)

    thelittleloaf - It's a wonderful feeling - I've been wanting to know how to make it for ages and I've never plucked up the courage to ask the recipe, even though we know the owner and his family (Simon himself helped my mum find me on his skidoo when I got lost on the slopes as a 3yr old!).

  11. Emma, this does look like simple perfection. Isn't it so satisfying when all those attempts to recreate a taste you love actually work? I would be dancing too!
    And thanks for that sweet note about my mom.

  12. This tart looks like absolute perfection. Seriously, everytime I see that first photo I start drooling!

  13. Yummy, I seriously could eat a piece (or two) right now! I love that you've used colour photos, your black and white ones are stunning but the colour ones are better as we get to see your creations in all their glory! x

  14. This apple tart turned out beautifully: very thin, with delicate flavours =) thank you for posting this recipe!

  15. This looks so delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  16. Erin - So satisfying, like a good murder mystery! It was the cream in the drawing room with the candlestick :)

    Steph - Hehe thanks! Hope your keyboard is ok :P

    Anonymous - Glad you like it. It was very addictive, I had to have a second slice!

    pommesetcaramel - I'm so happy to hear you made it and liked it! Always a pleasure to spread the joy :)

  17. Oh my goodness, this is beautiful. And a perfect way to use apples. Can't wait to give this a try soon.

  18. This looks beautiful! I have so many childhood memories based around tarte aux pommes – I always got the task of layering the apples whenever my mum made one. We usually make an Alsace-style tarte with lots of cream, but I think next time I make one, I'll try your version to compare – it certainly looks delicious!!


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