apple tarte tatin with cardamom and pistachios

Last week, in between bouts of bronchial nasty, I strove to finish my ode to B.T. McElrath and Black Dinah Chocolatiers. In fact, the last few paragraphs were typed as I lay sprawled across a small rug near a heating vent, nearly unable to lift my head to peruse the scenery out of doors. I was illin’, and I spent the next four days doing very little but chewing down Echinacea pills like they were going out of style, gulping orange juice as fast as I could pour it (which was slow), and reading three and a half books from Stephen King’s Dark Tower series.

But there was a twinkle in my sickly eye. Remember those Black Dinah truffles with a smooth rose-cardamom caramel softly enveloping a whole pistachio? I most definitely remember them. And, although I was sick, I fiercely wanted to recreate those taste sensations in some kind of baked good.

This week, all semi-healed up and ready to bake, that twinkle begat a glimmer, which begat a candle, which begat a beacon, and that beacon hath emblazoned upon me the desire to make an Apple Tarte Tatin, with Cardamon and Pistachios thrown in for good measure.

It’s a simple concept. Sweet meets salty, with a nice helping of butter in between.

The cardamom goes mostly undetected, but adds depth to the apples. The salty pistachios take center stage underneath their so-sweet topping, and add extra oomph to a salty pie crust that I previously thought could not be made more delicious.

This is the perfect tarte to eat, perhaps with a cup of tea, as you let your thoughts drift to sowing vegetable seeds and planting perennials come spring, all the while staring out your window, musing at the foot – or more – of snow that fell over the weekend.


Apple Tarte Tatin with Cardamon and Pistachios


3/4 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp sugar
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp ice-cold water
1 tbsp ground salted pistachios

3 apples (I used Braeburns)
6 tbsp salted butter
1/2 c + 2 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp cardamom


Making the Crust

In a food processor, combine flour, salt, and sugar. Add small pieces of frozen unsalted butter and pulse until thoroughly mixed. Add in cold water slowly until mixture makes a ball or near-ball in the food processor. Add pistachios, and pulse until mixed. Note: I added my pistachios last so that they would remain in larger pieces. Add them with the flour if you wish them to be well-incorporated.

Roll out on a lightly-floured surface until disc of dough is the size necessary to fit into the pan you will cook your apples in. Chill in fridge on a sheet pan.

Making the Tarte

Heat oven to 375 F.

Get out your heaviest pan – for me, this is a cast-iron skillet. This recipe makes a small tarte tatin, so the smaller the pan the better. However, if the pan isn’t heavy enough, the caramel will burn quickly [this I learned the difficult way].

Peel and core the apples. Lovely rustic tartes often leave the apples in quarters, but I chose to cut mine up into smaller pieces. Do as you wish.

Melt the salted butter in the heavy pan your choosing, and then add sugar. Remove pan from heat and spread butter mixture evenly over the pan’s bottom surface. Arrange the apples in an artful manner, reserving a few (if desired) for later. Sprinkle half of the cardamom over the apples.

Return to heat, which should now be turned on high. Yes, high. Cook for around 10 minutes, or until a medium caramel color appears. Remove from heat, and flip apples. If there are gaps due to apple shrinkage, add additional slices where needed. Sprinkle remaining cardamom over apples. Return to heat and cook five minutes more.

Take crust from fridge and place over apples, tucking dough around the sides of the apples if possible. Place in preheated oven and cook for around 25 minutes until crust turns a light golden brown.

Remove pan from oven, quickly run a knife or spatula around the edge/bottom of the tarte, and flip onto a serving plate.

Serve warm, and enjoy.


25 thoughts on “apple tarte tatin with cardamom and pistachios

  1. Fabulous all around! Sweet and salty, apples, cardamom, pistachios…mmmmhmm! Sorry to hear that you were sick, but good to know you’re on the mend. That stained glass in tea photo is neat!

    1. Jessica, I’ve been trying to figure out how to work that tea photo into a blog post – it intrigues me, and makes me want to jump into the mug!

      I’m on the mend indeed, so all is well. Wish I could keep reading books all week though:)

  2. Looks delicious, Emma. Wish I could share it with you and Eli. Say, that’s a beautiful cup of tea (wink wink).

    1. Martha, we wish you were here too! I wish you were here very much.

      I love my glass!! I’m so glad you saw the photo, I put it in with the hopes that you would see it. Tea time has never been prettier – I’m almost done with your Red Rose box, by the way;)

    1. And that’s why there’s no more left! It was amazing:)

      Ooh, sundresses. That’s a foreign concept with all this snow on the ground!

    1. Alayna, amen to that! Nothing like tasty warm apples – except tasty warm apples served with a side of caramel on a bed of salty pastry! :)

    1. sarah, isn’t that glass pretty? We can all thank my friend Martha for that contribution:) I saw it reflecting in the mug out of the corner of my eye and knew that I had to capture it!

  3. Seems like everyone is sick at the moment! I’m over what I had last week, but still unfairly having to blow my nose all the time.

    I’ve been wanting to make an apple tarte tatin for a while, your post has given me extra motivation. Especially with a small packet of pistachios in my cupboard…and it’ll be an upside to the current ‘end of summer’ weather being so rubbishly wintery. Seriously, this tarte looks stunning :)

    1. Laura, I feel that being so sick is just unfair. What did I do to deserve being sick for a month? To waste so much kleenex? To dream of the better days, when chocolate tasted good??! Thankfully, chocolate tastes good again. I hope your sniffles go away soon!

      How lame that you have wintery end-of-summer weather. Maybe you’ll be lucky and have an Indian summer in the coming month? In the meantime, maybe you’ll make a tasty tarte to eschew such nasty wintery weather!

  4. OMG you have a mail slot!!! Makes me imagine that Dill could visit you and tell you things through the slot…ha, ha!
    Beautiful apple tart, sounds like it was fun to make. I’m definitely going to try this one. And extra points for that exquisite art glass photo. Seriously neat!

    1. OMG you said OMG!

      How much would I love it if Dill visited me? He wouldn’t though, because I have no sick Alice secreted away whom he could give get-well cards. But perhaps he would, given my in-depth interest in trebuchets?

      Try the tart, but you may want to use another apple or two – this didn’t make that much:)

      Yay to the arty glass!

  5. There is nothing here – word, flavours, recipe – that I do not love and feel enveloped by, except of course for the you-being-sick-thing, which I abhor because I have also been plagued by the Demon of Ill lately and it’s just poopy. So I hope you feel wonderfully better and jazzy as soon as possible, so that you can work out a way to freeze this amazing tarte tatin in time until I arrive to eat it all up.


    1. Hannah, please do not feel enveloped by my sickness. It is disgusting and revolting and everything you don’t need to be encased in, especially given your recent proximity to the Demon of Ill.

      I am feeling jazzier with each day, fools better watch out for my jazzercising ways!

      The tarte is gonnnnnnne – – but I can easily and happily make another!

  6. I’m glad you’re feeling better this week. I love that photo of the stained glass in the tea! I have long wanted to make a tarte tatin, but I have a 12 in cast iron skillet and can’t fathom consuming a warm, spicy, appley delight of that size while it’s warm and fresh. This makes me long for said tarte tatin even more. Perhaps my paycheck will begat some spare money to begat a smaller skillet. (That sentence had me rolling in laughter!)

    1. Brianne, 12 inches on the bottom? Or top? Either way, I guess, that’s pretty big. I made half of what I originally planned to, since I set out to make it in a small pan that proved much too thin. But doubling this recipe would work perfectly in your sized skillet, and I swear, it wouldn’t seem like that much. I ate two pieces and half of this was gone! It’s good reheated, which is a plus.

      Begat skillets where you can:)

  7. Today, I am pretty sure that I will give in to this dang cold and leave this world for good, but after seeing your pictures and recipe, I want to live long enough to make and taste your wonderful apple tart… thanks for the pick me up.

    1. lucinda, coldness is capable of inspiring such terrible thoughts! Thankfully, tasty sugary treats such as this tarte will make you want to live forever – so that you can partake in many such similar occurrences;)

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