Cooking with Cannabis: Apple Tarte Tatin

Getty Images

Danksgiving is behind us, but our need for pie and delicious desserts continues! With Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, Christmas, and other celebrated holidays fast approaching there will be no shortage of parties and occasions to whip up this perfectly sweet – and trippy – apple tarte Tatin.

The perfectly sweet aspect of this dessert is especially nice over the holidays when most of us are indulging in more rich foods than we typically enjoy. While this dessert may not be traditionally healthy, its ingredients have incredible anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diabetic, and digestive properties that are worth exploring.

Another aspect of this dessert that I can get behind is that there are relatively few steps in the directions, making it easy to execute this classic dish every time.

While there is no time like the holidays to bake for friends and family, it is likely you will find many occasions (brunch, perhaps?) to flex this timeless, and always classy, apple tarte Tatin.

The origin of this well-loved recipe traces back to a French hotel, L’Hotel Tatin, in 1888. Two sisters ran the hotel, and one day the sister who was the baker was unable to make an apple pie that evening for their guests, so she asked her sister to help.

With the main baker offsite, the other sister got to work on the pie, cooking the apples and sugar on the stovetop. It was only a matter of time before she realized she had forgotten about the apples – now a caramelized mess in the pan.

Being short on time and wanting to save her pie, the stand-in baker topped off the mess with a puff pastry and finished it in the oven. When it came out, it was still a step away from looking like a pie. So, she flipped it!

That’s right, when you finish baking this dessert, you will flip it over onto a platter, revealing a beautiful, and quite perfect, apple tarte Tatin. As you can imagine, the dessert was an instant hit and became a staple on the menu. Rumor has it, a competitor sent a spy to the hotel to find out how the tarte Tatin was made and successfully stole the recipe to serve in his restaurant.

If the origin story wasn’t an inspiring enough reason to roll up your sleeves, here are some fun, science-based facts to go along with the sweet synergy of this dessert.

  • Cannabis can be a wonderful digestive complement to end any meal. See more on this in the Wacky Mac n’ Cheese recipe.
  • Cannabis, allspice, clove, cinnamon, and nutmeg have potent anti-inflammatory properties and all contain the terpene caryophyllene. Caryophyllene is a major terpene present in marijuana and hemp flowers. Beta-caryophyllene is a dominant terpene found in cannabis that demonstrates anti-inflammatory properties. Caryophyllene has an affinity to the CB2 receptor, and strains that contain this powerful terpene are commonly used in treating pain, arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Digestive aids work to aid overall digestion when consumed before or after a meal.
  • Warming spices like the ones in this recipe improve blood flow and circulation. You can sometimes feel the heat of this action in your body.
  • Apples and cannabis are natural antihistamines both containing high amounts of quercetin. Quercetin assists with the allergic load in the body, helping to manage allergic reactions. Note, most of the quercetin in an apple exists in the skin. If you are looking for this benefit from your apples, keep the skin on.
  • Apples provide most of the sweetness in this dessert, but still have a low glycemic index, and due to the high fiber content, apples do not affect blood sugar as rapidly as other fruits.
  • The polyphenols in apples help with the processing of carbohydrates. These polyphenols can also be found in spices and herbs, including cannabis.
  • Cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar and have an anti-diabetic effect.
  • Both cannabis and cinnamon contribute to tumor cell death.
  • Food is medicine philosophy states that food is our first line of defense against disease. This makes sense when you think about the immunity of a person or the hardiness of a cannabis plant. When a plant is getting optimal nutrients, it is more resistant to disease and external stressors. The same goes for humans, when we use food as medicine our resiliency toward stress and infection increases. I’m not saying this apple tarte Tatin is a substitute for a health plan, but as far as dessert goes, this one takes the cake!

Let’s get started, shall we?

Editor’s Note: The following recipe is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.

Apple Tarte Tatin


  • 10” cast iron skillet or similar oven-safe skillet
  • 12”-14” platter to use for serving the dessert
  • knife
  • spatula
  • tongs


  • 1 sheet puff pastry, pre-made, typically frozen (vegan, gluten-free option: Schar’s puff pastry)
  • 2 lbs. apples (approximately 5 large apples)
  • ½ to 1 T. (0.25 -0.5 oz.) cannabis tincture (Note: Tincture potency can vary greatly so read the label and use an amount that works for your guests. If your dessert has 300mg and 8 servings, each serving will have 37.5mg of cannabinoids. This may be way too much for your guests. For a milder experience reduce the amount of tincture used or try a CBD dominant tincture.)
  • 1 T. cinnamon
  • ¼ t. clove
  • ¼ t. allspice
  • ¼ t. nutmeg
  • 3 T. honey (vegan substitute: white sugar)
  • ¼ c. white sugar
  • 3 T. unsalted butter
  • 2 t. lemon juice
  • optional, serve with vanilla ice cream


  • To prepare the puff pastry for use it must be thawed. Thaw per instructions.
  • Roll out the puff pastry to be roughly the size of the skillet. This doesn’t need to be exact since you will tuck the extra pastry in.
  • Place rolled-out pastry in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it. Pastry is more successful when cooked cold.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Prepare apples by slicing them thinly. Set aside in a bowl.
  • Combine honey and tincture in a small bowl.
  • In a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat combine butter, sugar, and cannabis honey. This is when the yummy caramelization happens.
  • Allow butter, sugar, and honey to melt until all the sugar has dissolved and the color starts to turn a light to medium brown.
  • Add spices and apples to the skillet. Mixing with the tongs until most apples are covered with the sugar mixture and spices.
  • Add lemon juice to the mixture turn apples to incorporate. The acid in the lemon adds brightness to the dish.
  • Cook on stovetop for 5-10 minutes.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Remove puff pastry from the refrigerator and place on top of the apple mixture. Some of the pastry will be hanging over the edge, tuck that in the sides. This is most easily done with a spatula.
  • Place in oven to bake for 30-35 minutes, removing it from oven once the puff pastry is golden brown.
  • Let stand about 5-10 minutes before flipping it onto a platter. To do this without a mess, place the platter on top of the skillet and with two hands (use potholders) flip it upside down and gently lift the skillet straight off of the dessert. It should come out without sticking at all.
  • Serves 8-10

Easy as pie, this is the sort of recipe you can travel home and make while you’re there, filling the house with the intoxicating scent of cinnamon apples, sugar, and butter. Have you ever noticed how amazing butter smells just before it browns? Aromas like that that keep me in the kitchen whipping up more delicious things to eat.

Bonus, this recipe is affordable, and all the ingredients can be found at a local market. Plus, the puff pastry is flakey and delightfully fancy. Everyone will think this took ages to make this gorgeous apple tarte Tatin.


Kathryn Cannon is an experienced Plant Medicine Integration Specialist, Cannabis Coach, and community herbalist. She founded Terra Uma LLC to empower clients to optimize performance, mental health, and overall wellness with cannabis, and other plants and fungi. Kathryn is also the founder of a lifestyle medicine center and urban farm in Portland, Oregon, and a cannabis collective and coaching practice in Washington, DC.

Kathryn Cannon