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Julia Child’s Tarte Tatin for my 1st Blog Anniversary

January 26, 2012

The purple spoon is 1 today!  It has been a butter packed, sugar filled year I must say 🙂  First, thank you, thank you, thank you!  Baking with you has been so much fun!

Blogging was not on my “when I grow up” list at all.  It was really my husband egging me on and the fact that my little black book of recipes was expanding quicker than I could file the pages.  I became enamored with Julia Childs after watching Julie and Julia.  I knew of her but hadn’t really been exposed to her show or her books growing up.  Now the movie didn’t make me want to go start a blog but I did become slightly obsessed with Julia and her kooky mannerisms in the kitchen.  One of the first episodes of The French Chef that I saw was her “Apple Dessert” or La Tarte Tatin.  And as she’s explaining how to slice and prepare the apples she just slips in, “and stir it with a purple spoon!”  I just loved how absolutely random a comment it was (that and how can you go wrong with the color purple)!  My sister and I used the quip repeatedly as we baked the following months.  I got frustrated one day trying to find a recipe and I (finally) declared, “I’m starting a blog! Out of the kitchen!”.  Umm people, I had never even turned our camera on let alone taken pictures of food.  I did however have an absolute love of baking and sharing and The Purple Spoon was born.

I do have a small confession.  This was my first time making or trying tart tatin.  I have this weird thing with textures and I don’t really like cooked fruit so I’m very hesitant to try any dessert that boasts it as its primary ingredient.  I know, what kind of baker am I that I don’t eat cooked fruit!  In any case, there are several versions of this recipe online but I wanted to stick as close to what I saw originally as possible.  I did use this recipe as a reference for quantities and I played the show on repeat while preparing it.

I can’t believe I waited this long to try this dish!  My results weren’t perfect but neither were Julia’s if you watch the episode.  I should have cut my apples thicker and arranged them a little nicer but you live and learn 🙂  The flavor though is indescribable!  It’s buttery, caramel-y, and sweet with a slight tartness, oh and rich.  I devoured the first slice, went for a second, and after eating 2 bites realized it was 2 bites too much and I would make myself sick if I continued.  But honestly it’s a flavor unlike anything I’ve ever had before and I am hooked!

Oh but I skipped the un-molding I was so excited about the flavor!  I started and stopped this step about 7 times, completely over thinking how I was going to accomplish this step with a tart that would stay together enough for pictures.  Once I went for it, it really wasn’t all that bad with only 1 or 2 stray apples.

I really do thank you for taking the time to read and comment and bake with me.  I was very unaware of the world of food blogging and how intricate but inviting it was.  I apologize if I stepped on toes along the way, I’m learning and I look forward to another year of baking with you!

Julia Child’s Tarte Tatin
Recipe from The French Chef


1 cup flour (all purpose or pastry)
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (4 ounces/1 stick) unsalted butter, cold and cut in pieces
1/4 cup ice water

6 medium sized tart apples, I used Golden delicious
1 1/2 cups sugar, divided
1 whole lemon, zested and juiced
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened


1. For the pie crust: (for pictures of making the crust click hereIn a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and salt.  Add in the butter and cut in with 2 knives, a pastry blender or work the butter through your fingers, massaging it until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs with pieces no larger than the size of small peas.  Drizzle the water over the flour butter mixture and stir with a fork until the water is coating everything.  Gather the dough together and press it into a rough ball, don’t really knead it, just gather and flatten once or twice.

2. Flour your board or counter and dump the dough onto it.  Cover with a sheet of parchment paper and let it sit for 10 minutes.  If you’re kitchen is warm you may want to let it do the sitting in the fridge.

3. To roll out: keep the parchment paper on the dough and roll or press the dough into a rough rectangle.  There are going to be bits and pieces of dough falling everywhere-its ok, just stick them back in and keep on doing your thing.  Fold over one side of the dough into the middle like a letter (see picture-its more like a gather the dough and fold).  Cover with parchment again and roll back into a rectangle.  Repeat this with all four sides, folding in and rolling out-you don’t need to roll out a lot just enough to make the whole thing look like a rectangle again.  By the last fold your dough will come together and look like something you can work with.  Then roll it out to 1/4 inch thickness in a 10 inch circle (roughly).   Place the dough between layers of plastic wrap and lay it flat in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

4. For the filling: Peel, core and slice the apples into wedges.  I cut mine way too thin, a better way is to slice the apples in half and then cut each half into 4 lengthwise wedges. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon zest and juice and 1/2 cup of the sugar.  Let the apples sit for about 20 minutes to let excess moisture drain from them.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).  Melt the butter in a 9-10 inch oven-proof skillet.  Sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of sugar over the butter and remove from the heat.  Arrange the first layer of apples evenly over the bottom of the skillet, the tart is flipped so this will be the top eventually so make it pretty 🙂  Once the first layer is down you can continue arranging or spoon the rest of the apples over top.  Return the skillet to high heat and cook for about 10-12 minutes, basting the apples periodically until the filling is very bubbly and golden brown-deeper than the color of honey.  Remove from the heat.

6. Remove the pie crust from the fridge and place it on top of the hot apples.  Carefully trim any excess and tuck the edges around the apples inside the skillet.  Cut 4 small steam holes in the top of the crust and place in the oven.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust is golden brown, the filling is very bubbly (and fragrant!) and the apples are tender.  Remove from the oven and let the pan sit for a few minutes to settle before flipping it over onto a serving plate.  Serve warm with creme fraiche or whipped cream.

31 Comments leave one →
  1. January 26, 2012 8:49 am

    Looks delicious! Happy Blogiversary! 🙂

  2. January 26, 2012 9:01 am

    Happy Blogiversary!! This is a great recipe and one of my favorites! YUMMM!

  3. January 26, 2012 9:41 am

    Happy Blog birthday! And a beautiful creation to boot!

  4. January 26, 2012 9:45 am

    Happy blogiversary! haha is that a real term now? Congratulations! And this tarte tatin looks gorgeous! I’ve never made one either but its on my list of recipes to try 🙂

  5. January 26, 2012 10:21 am

    Congratulations!! You’ve really accomplished a huge amount in just one year, and I can only aspire to be nearly as successful at blogging when I draw up toward the one year mark. 🙂
    Oh, that tarte tatin looks beyond delicious 🙂 I love tarte tatin but have never tried to make it myself – I may have to save this one for a “brave” day.

  6. January 26, 2012 10:40 am

    I love your blog! Happy blogiversary!

  7. January 26, 2012 10:52 am

    Happy Blogiversary!

    This looks so good – perfectly caramalized!

  8. January 26, 2012 11:37 am

    This is beautiful! Congrats on the 1st Anniversary!

  9. January 26, 2012 11:39 am

    Congradulations on your 1 year anniversary! I thoroughly enjoyed each post and am looking forward to more! Keep up the great work ( even if I can’t enjoy the results !) love you much!

  10. January 26, 2012 12:25 pm

    Happy 1 year anniversary…this looks yummy, we just might have to give a try!!!

  11. January 26, 2012 2:18 pm

    Delicious way to celebrate-Happy blogoversary! Julie Child would be very proud of you, this dessert looks fabulous-yum! I look forward to more tasty goodies from you. Have a wonderful day!

  12. January 26, 2012 2:53 pm

    You can’t go wrong with Julia Childs’ recipes, this looks amazing! Happy Anniversary to your blog, how exciting!! 🙂

  13. Francesca permalink
    January 26, 2012 3:27 pm

    Happy 1st Blog-anniversary. Thank you for sharing you ideas, knowledge and talent. I hope you have many more anniversaries to follow.

  14. January 26, 2012 4:20 pm

    Congratulations on the anniversary – you are doing a fabulous job!

  15. January 26, 2012 7:14 pm

    Happy, happy birthday to your beautiful blog!!! I loved hearing about how The Purple Spoon came to be. Your tarte tatin is amazing…I love all apple desserts, so I would dive right in! Yours looks perfect.

  16. January 26, 2012 10:45 pm

    Happy 1st blog – anniversary. The Tarte Tatin looks gorgeous.
    Happy blogging for many more recipes.

  17. January 27, 2012 8:40 am

    Happy Blogiversary…!!! And celebrate it with this Tarta Tatin is perfect…!!!

  18. January 27, 2012 9:27 am

    A very Happy 1st Blogoversary to you, Linda. I was fascinated to hear where your blog title had come from. It has always intrigued me. You’ve done a great job with the tarte tatin. Isn’t it just one of the best desserts!

  19. January 27, 2012 11:42 pm

    Happy blogoversary!! I love purple too. My favorite color in fact. I think we’ll get along just fine 🙂

  20. January 28, 2012 7:42 am

    Congrats on your blog. You can never go wrong with a Julia recipe.

  21. January 28, 2012 9:16 am

    Congrats on the Top 9!!!! I’m not surprised at all 🙂

  22. January 28, 2012 7:29 pm

    Congrats on top 9. Congrats on 1 year. This is a remarkable recipe and yours turned out beautifully.

  23. January 29, 2012 12:07 am

    Happy blog anniversary,dear!Loved your Tarte tatin recipe and it does look out-of-the-world!Congrats on your Top 9 feature:)

  24. January 30, 2012 1:29 am

    Congratulations to your 1st Blogversary!!! I’ve never made a tarte tatin at home but this looks great 😀 So yummy!

  25. January 30, 2012 1:56 pm

    Happy Blogoversary! Always so exciting when you reach a year. Yay for you! This tarte looks great! Love Julia!

  26. January 31, 2012 9:14 am

    A very happy blogoversary! Like you, I loved that movie but it didn’t insire me to start a blog. However, I could still watch it over and over. Your tarte tatin looks perfect for an anniversary!

  27. January 31, 2012 9:31 am

    What a BEAUTIFUL dessert!!! You did Julia proud 🙂

  28. William Kempe permalink
    February 11, 2012 4:08 pm

    Has it really been a year? My how time fries!

  29. December 17, 2012 7:28 am

    Hi, just wanted to tell you, I enjoyed this post. It was inspiring.
    Keep on posting!

  30. December 18, 2012 3:23 pm

    Greetings from Los angeles! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your website on my iphone during lunch break. I enjoy the knowledge you present here and can’t wait to
    take a look when I get home. I’m surprised at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone .. I’m not
    even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, fantastic blog!

  31. Karen permalink
    January 25, 2015 11:38 am

    You go girl! Your attempt is lovely! No runny mushy tart like Julia’s did in that episode. She is so awesome! Nothing ever goes wrong in Julias kitchen! Love how she always makes it ok.
    I’ve made this tart in the skillet and in a crock, it’s always yummy! My boys love it.
    An FYI, my local library has Julia’s French Chef DVD’s so be sure to check your local library!

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