With just a few ingredients and no special equipment other than a potato peeler, someone who's never baked before can create this beautiful dessert that looks like it came from a professional pastry shop. These individual tarts have a buttery, crispy pastry with a massive amount of apple flavor and they're sweetened just enough with a touch of sugar and cinnamon. Brush the tops with simple syrup or melted apricot jam and serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe Summary test

40 mins
45 mins
10 mins
95 mins
2 individual tarts

There are many things I love about this adorable apple tartlet, but my favorite thing doesn't have anything to do with the taste, texture, or appearance. It's the fact that we're creating a professional-looking apple pastry without having to slice apples, thanks to our trusty potato peeler. By building this tart with thin ribbons of apple, we're able to unlock a ton of flavor, in a very visually enticing way, as well as achieve what I think is the perfect cooked apple texture.

On second thought, I guess my "favorite thing" does have something to do with the taste, texture, and appearance after all. Any baking apple will work for this recipe, but Honeycrisp really works well. They are generally nice and large, and their natural sweetness means we don't have to use a lot of sugar. By the way, feel free to use a lot of sugar. If you want something sweeter and more syrupy, you can easily double the amount, and the rest of the technique should work out the same.

If you're not into fun-sized apple tarts, I'm guessing this 'peel and coil' method would work for a standard size tart pan, but I've never tried that myself. If you do, please report back. But, no matter what size pan or ramekin you use, I really do hope you give this a try soon. Enjoy!


Original recipe yields 2 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set out two 6-ounce ramekins.

  • Place puff pastry sheet on a work surface and let thaw for just 5 minutes; it should still be partially frozen and very firm. Use a round pastry cutter the same diameter as your ramekins to cut out 2 rounds of dough. Transfer to the prepared baking sheet. Prick each pastry round all over with a fork.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until the pastries are puffed up and the bottoms are golden brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and slide parchment paper off the baking pan onto a work surface; press warm pastries down lightly with the back of a fork to deflate them a bit. Let cool.

  • Increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

  • Mix brown sugar, white sugar, a pinch of cinnamon, and a very small pinch of salt together in a bowl.

  • Use 1 1/2 teaspoons butter to generously grease the bottom and sides of each ramekin. Spoon the sugar mixture evenly into each ramekin, reserving about 1 1/2 teaspoons for later. Shake ramekins gently to settle and flatten the sugar mixture.

  • Fill a bowl with 3 cups cold water. Add lemon juice.

  • Turn one apple on its side; trim about 1/4 inch off the top and bottom of the apple, then cut it in half through the center. Repeat with the second apple.

  • Peel around the apple halves to remove the peel; discard. Continue to peel the flesh, making ribbons as long and as thick as possible until you reach the core, letting the ribbons drop into the water. As long as your ribbons are 3- to 4-inches long, that's fine.

  • Pull out 3 to 4 of the longest ribbons and line them up on a work surface into one long ribbon, overlapping the ends an inch or so. Roll the ribbon up tightly to form the center of the tart, then turn it up on its end. Coil more ribbons around the center, overlapping as you go, until you have a coil that's the same diameter as your ramekin. Pick up the apple coil and place it into the ramekin, with the flat side on top of the sugar. Repeat to make the second tart.

  • Dot 1/2 teaspoon butter over each tart, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture. Top each tart with a pastry round, placing the fork-poked side down on the apples.

  • Bake in the preheated oven until pastries have browned and juices are bubbling, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and press the hot pastries down gently with a fork. Let cool for about 10 minutes.

  • Run a knife around each pastry, then turn over onto serving plates. Use a spoon to go around each tart to separate the layers and create more definition, if desired.

Chef's Notes:

If you don't have a pastry cutter, just place your ramekin over the dough and trace around with the tip of a knife.

You can use any other pie apple, such as Granny Smith. You'll probably use one apple per pie, maybe one and a half.

Nutrition Facts

919 calories; protein 9.5g; carbohydrates 103.8g; fat 53.9g; cholesterol 20.2mg; sodium 384.6mg. Full Nutrition

Reviews (2)

Rating: 5 stars
I modified the recipe some. I used sugar substitute for both the white and brown sugars and we were very happy with the result. I also used pie dough rounds instead of pastry. I wasn’t happy with the pie crust texture. I will try snickerdoodles in the next attempt. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Again, Chef John didn't steer us wrong. These are darling and delicious. Followed the recipe exactly. My only problem was with dexterity using that new fangled speical equipment, that confounded potato peeler! Chef made it look so easy!! I have bloody knuckles...but it was worth it. Read More