Food & Drink

Upside-Down Apple Tart

Excerpted from Lucinda Scala Quinn’s Mad Hungry Family (Artisan Books).

Classically called a tarte tatin, the ne plus ultra of French desserts, this version is a no-fail, easy-to-pull-off yet impressive and delicious dessert. To serve, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Upside-Down Apple Tart


  • 3½ pounds apples, such as Gala
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed according to package instructions
  • All-purpose flour, for dusting
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Peel, core, and quarter the apples lengthwise. As each one is peeled, toss with the lemon juice to prevent browning.
  2. Spread 5 tablespoons of the butter evenly over the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch cast-iron or other oven-safe skillet. Sprinkle ½ cup of the sugar and the salt evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Arrange the apple slices around the edge of the pan in circles, working toward the center of the skillet.
  3. Place the skillet over medium heat and cook, undisturbed, for 18 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and bake until the apples have softened and shrunken slightly, about 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to an 11-inch square. Using a plate as a guide, cut out a 10-inch circle and transfer it to a parchment paper–lined baking sheet. Chill until needed.
  5. When the apples are ready, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter and brush it over the pastry. Combine the remaining ¼ cup sugar and the cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle it over the pastry. Slide the pastry, cinnamon side down, over the apples. Return the skillet to the oven and bake until the pastry is golden and brown, about 20 minutes.
  6. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes and then slide a knife around the edge of the pastry to loosen and invert onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges to serve.


About the Book:

Author of the beloved Mad Hungry: Feeding Men and Boys, Lucinda Scala Quinn is the country’s foremost evangelist for family meals every day of the week. And she knows that the only way to make them a reality is by building a repertoire of dishes that are quick and easy to prepare, and guaranteed to please. In Mad Hungry Family, Scala Quinn has collected all the no-fuss, big-flavor recipes that send her family stampeding to the kitchen table—from flat roast chicken to second-day spaghetti pancakes—and peppered them with tips, tricks, and solutions learned over a lifetime of cooking both professionally and for her family of five. Here are survival strategies for nothing-in-the-fridge crises, feeding unexpected guests, getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table before your family revolts, and more. Also included are primers on the ingredients and techniques you need—and permission to ignore those you don’t. With soulful, satisfying recipes and real talk about what it takes to make family meals a reality, Mad Hungry Family is the “you-can-do-this” handbook every home cook needs.

Buy the Book
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Workman

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