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Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin

This upside down Five Spice Apple Tarte Tatin recipe is a real collision of food cultures, with a distinctly delicious flavour. 

Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin close up featured image

Five Spice Apple Tarte Tatin.

Chinese Five Spice is a mixture of cinnamon, anise, cloves, cassia and ginger used in many Chinese dishes. However, here it adds a distinctive flavor to a classic French dessert.

The truth is I use this five spice blend in plenty of baking recipes, especially apple recipes. I very often add it in place of cinnamon or in addition to cinnamon.

Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin just out of the oven

Five Spice Apple Tarte Tatin.

Sometimes I replace half of the cinnamon in a recipe with it. The exotic flavor of the spice blend is absolutely delicious with apples without overwhelming them.

I’ve added Five Spice powder to an apple pie for example. It had friends scratching their heads as to what is so familiar yet so differently delicious it. I won’t tell if you don’t.

Red delicious apples on a red background. Stock photo.

I like Red Delicious Apples for this recipe but you can use any firm apple you like.

Absolutely delicious with whipped cream or my favorite, homemade vanilla gelato. Hey,  I just realized that serving it with Italian gelato would make this a fusion of three culinary cultures!

Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin shown uncut on a clear glass plate

Five Spice Apple Tarte Tatin.

If you are a big pie lover like me, be sure to check our collection of Rock Recipes Best Pies.

Top Ten Pie Recipes by Rock Recipes photo collage with title text for Pinterest 

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Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin photo with title text added for Pinterest

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Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin close up featured image
Yield: 8 servings

Apple Five Spice Tarte Tatin

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes

This Five Spice Apple Tarte Tatin is a twist on the classic French dessert That unusually but deliciously uses Chinese Five Spice Powder instead of cinnamon for an exotic, fragrant spice flavor.


For the sour cream pastry

  • 2 ½ cups flour
  • 1 cup butter cut in small pieces
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ¼ cup cold water
  • ½ tsp salt

For the spiced apples

  • 6 large apples, peeled, cored and cut in large wedges
  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 tsp Five Spice Powder
  • ½ cup brown sugar


For the spiced apples

  1. Melt the butter in an oven proof skillet. Add brown sugar and five spice powder and cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the caramel mixture begins to get bubbly.
  2. Arrange the apple wedges evenly in the caramel in the bottom of the pan.

For the pastry

  1. Using a food processor or a pastry blender cut cold butter into flour and salt until mixture resembles a coarse meal. Small pieces of butter should still be visible.
  2. Pour sour cream and cold water over the mixture and work in by tossing with a fork until dough begins to form. Use your hands as little as possible and work the dough as little as possible.
  3. Divide dough into 2 balls, flatten into 2 rounds, wrap in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator to rest for a minimum of 20 minutes. You can make your dough the previous day but make sure you take it out of the fridge for 10 minutes to warm slightly before rolling out.
  4. Roll one of the dough rounds into a circle about an inch larger than the diameter of your pan. You can free the other dough round for another time.
  5. Place the pastry over the apples, slightly tucking in around the edges. Cut a couple of small slits in the pastry with the tip of a sharp knife to allow steam to escape.
  6. Bake in a preheated 425 degree F oven for 15 minutes then reduce the heat to 375 degrees for an additional 10-15 minutes until the crust is evenly golden brown.
  7. Just before serving, place a serving plate over the pan and flip over to invert the tarte, fruit side up. Do this just before serving or the juice from the apples can cause the pastry to get soggy if it is allowed to sit for too long. Delicious served with vanilla gelato.


The pastry recipe makes enough for two tarts. I recommend you wrap one pastry round well in plastic wrap and freeze it for next time or for another purpose.

Nutrition Information



Serving Size

1 serving

Amount Per Serving Calories 354Total Fat 18gSaturated Fat 11gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 47mgSodium 233mgCarbohydrates 48gFiber 4gSugar 28gProtein 3g

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