Apple Tarte Normande: A French Classic

Apple Tarte Normande

I probably don’t need to say this. It’s probably obvious by the spelling, but Tarte Normande hails from the Normandy region of France. However, unless you’re a more robust francophile than I am I probably do need to say that Normandy is dairy country. An area of France where the cream is rich and butter is a way of life. It’s a place where the neighborhood fromagerie is likely to carry a dozen types of local butter – all with fat contents nearly impossible to find in North America and all holding their own AOC (appellation d’origine) designations. So another thing I probably don’t need to say is that a Tarte Normande is very, very rich and indulgent.

Oh, while I’m saying all these obvious (and not so obvious) things, I may as well add that Normandy is also apple country. So naturally their signature Tarte Normande is an apple tart made with rich custard and caramelized apples. I’ve adapted my recipe to include brown butter and optional sliced almonds, but otherwise, this is a fairly traditional version of a French classic. GREG

Apple Tarte Normande Apple Tarte Normande

Apple Tarte Normande 

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Apple Tarte Normande


  • 6 tablespoon unsalted butter (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 ½ pound firm, tart apples (about 3 medium, peeled, cored and cut into ½‑inch dice)
  • 2 tablespoon dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (9 or 10-inch) pre-baked tart shell (in a tart ring with a removeable bottom)
  • 1 cup sliced almonds (optional)


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. When the butter begins to foam add the vegetable oil and swirl to combine. Add the diced apples, in as close to a single layer as possible, and cook stirring occasionally until caramelized on all sides. Don’t be afraid the let them get good and brown.

Once you’re happy with the color, add the dark brown sugar and continue to cook the apples until the sugar has melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Whisk the cream, light brown sugar, egg yolks, cornstarch, and vanilla together in a large bowl. Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter until brown and foamy. Continue heating, swirling the pan often, until bubbles subside, the butter is brown and gives off a nutty aroma. Remove from heat, allow to cool slightly, then whisk the brown butter into the cream and egg yolk mixture until a smooth batter is formed.

Once the apples have cooled scrape them into the pre-baked tart shell spreading them out in an even layer. Set the tart shell on a rimmed baking sheet then pour the batter over the apples until it almost reaches the top. Do not overfill, you might not use all the batter. Spread the almonds across the top of the tart in a thin layer (if using). 

Bake the tart in the heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size, until the tart is firm, but the middle still jiggles slightly.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Remove the tart from the tart ring and serve at room temperature.