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French Apple Custard Tart (Tarte Normande)

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Apples, je t’aime.

This classic French apple custard tart recipe (tarte Normande) offers all the deliciousness of apple pie with the classy satisfaction of a silky French custard tart. This is the apple dessert you’ve been waiting for.

Classic French Apple Custard Tart slice

Say “bonjour” to this French apple tart recipe!

I’ll open by saying how much a love a classic apple pie. In fact, I love apple pie so much that I have it on my birthday instead of cake. So other apple desserts have to meet a pretty high bar. And this does.

Meet this tarte Normande, or Normandy apple tart. Rather than a double-crust apple pie, this apple tart combines a sweet butter pastry crust with tart apples and a creamy vanilla custard for a truly special dessert.

French apple custard tart ingredients on marble slab

This French apple custard tart, or tarte Normande, will give you a pretty dessert that tastes creamy and crisp, with just a hint of cinnamon.
French Apple Tart Dessert
Voilà. The finished French apple custard tart.

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French Apple Tart Dessert

French Apple Custard Tart (Tarte Normande)

This lovely apple custard tart recipe combines a crisp butter crust with creamy custard and tart baked apples for a French alternative to classic apple pie.
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time1 hour 10 minutes
Chilling Time for the Tart Dough1 hour
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: French
Keywords:: apple custard tart, apple pie, best apple tart, french apple tart, normandy tart, tarte normande
Servings: 1 x 9" tart
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Ingredients

For the Tart Shell (Pâte Sucrée)

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 8 tablespoons (4 ounces; 1 stick) cool unsalted butter, cubed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon (or so) cold water

For the Custard and Tart Filling

  • 3 tart baking apples, such as Honeycrisp or Granny Smith
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus an additional teaspoon or two if you have particularly tart apples
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

To Finish

  • 1/3 cup apricot jam

Instructions

For the Tart Shell (Pâte Sucrée)

  • In the bowl of a food processor, combine the flour, powdered sugar, and salt. Add the cubed butter and process until crumbly. The texture will be like lightly-moistened sand.
  • Add the egg yolk and water. Mix in the food processor until the dough comes together in a large ball. It is ok if there is a little loose dough, but it will basically be a whole ball. You may need an additional teaspoon of water.
  • Turn the dough out onto a clean, lightly-floured surface. Knead it a few times into a smooth ball. Do not overwork the dough. Using the palm of your hand or a rolling pin, flatten the dough into a flat, even disk about eight inches in diameter. Lightly dust both sides with flour. Use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 11" diameter, so that there is enough dough to lay into the tart shell and cover the sides, plus a little overlap.
  • Gently drape the tart dough in a 9" tart pan, and gently press the dough into the sides and bottom of the tart pan. Just patch up any tears or holes with a little extra dough.
  • Run the rolling pin or a paring knife over the rim of the tart shell to remove the excess dough. This should leave a neat, clean rim. Dock the bottom of the crust all over with the tines of a fork. Cover the tart shell loosely in plastic wrap or a clean dish towel, and chill for at least one hour, preferably two hours or even overnight.
    PRO TIP: Chilling the tart shell is an essential part of the technique. The chilling time allows the gluten to relax. This will prevent the tart shell from shrinking when baked, and keeps the texture tender.

For the Apple Tart

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  • Peel and slice the apples into 1/4" slices. Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. Arrange the apple slices however you like. I like a circular diagonal pattern, but you can do an overlapping rose pattern working from the outside rim toward the center, or keep it casual and just toss them in.
  • Bake the tart shell for about 35 minutes, until the apples and crust are golden brown and the apples have softened a bit.
    PRO TIP: Set the tart shell on a baking sheet. This makes it much easier to take in and out of the oven.
  • While the apples are baking, whisk together the cinnamon, eggs, sour cream, sugar, milk, and vanilla.
  • Remove the apple-filled tart shell from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Pour the custard over the apples almost to the rim of the tart shell and apples, leaving a very slight lip and letting the top of the apples show.
  • Place the tart back in the oven and bake until the custard is set, about 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool at room temperature.
    PRO TIP: You will know the custard is set when it doesn't jiggle or slosh. If you'd like a little more color, you can throw the tart under the broiler for a minute or so (keep an eye on it) to toast the top of the apples.
  • When cool, use a fork and a little splash of water to whisk the apricot jam to a smooth texture. Use a pastry brush to brush the tart all over with a thin layer of apricot jam to give it a gloss. You may not use all of it. Chill as needed, and serve at cool room temperature.
    This tart can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated, covered. Remove the tart from the fridge an hour or so before serving.

10 comments

  • Where’s The Custard?

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Ruth! The custard is the mixture of sour cream, eggs, milk, and vanilla that you pour into the tart shell along with the sliced apples and bake. Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any additional questions.

  • Linda Rose

    I made this tart and it was excellent the only difficulty was that the bottom crust was soggy. What would be your suggestion to blind bake before putting in the apples Would I dock the crust first the fill with weights and bake. What temp and for how long.

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Linda! Ah, the soggy bottom issue. Ugh. Sorry to hear that. (Out of curiosity, what type of pie plate did you use?) Blind baking the crust is a very nice idea. Rest/chill the tart dough in the pie plate and dock it with a fork. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the tart dough shell with parchment, then fill the shell with dried beans or pie weights, and bake for about 15-20 minutes. Remove the beans or weights, and continue baking for 5 minutes more or so, until the tart shell looks dry on the bottom. Because the tart will have to bake so long with the apples and custard, I recommend this short parbake of the shell, as opposed to a full bake, like you would for a custard tart–this could overcook the tart shell. Thanks for the great question!

  • Can a plain low fat Greek Yogurt replace sour cream in this tart? This looks so delicious!
    Thank you!

    • Unpeeled

      Hi, Myrna. Yes, but I recommend using full-fat Greek yogurt if possible for the most creaminess.

  • 5 stars
    Very good flavor. Will add slightly more cinnamon next time.

  • 5 stars
    Made this last weekend and it was a big hit. It is not quite as simple as apple pie because of the crust, custard, etc., but well worth it because it looked so nice and tasted so good. Thanks!

  • 5 stars
    This was very good. I increased the cinnamon slightly because I like the flavor. I did not use all of the custard, but I think my tart pan is a little on the shallow side. Came out great.

  • Suzanne

    5 stars
    Just lovely and the flavor was excellent. I enjoyed this very much.

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