Recipe: Tarte Fine Aux Pommes

I enjoy writing about finance, monetary freedoms and the disciplines we need to master to get to that goal. I don’t enjoy doing this on an empty stomach, however.

Not wanting to let my budget get shredded to pieces by my gastromonic impulses, I’ve had to build a collection of affordable meals I can cook at home over time. I’ll be collecting these into a group post once I have enough of them, but in the meantime, here is the first.

I made this last night when I had a sweet tooth and spent a quarter hour in the shop looking at the chocolate and biscuits and talking myself out of buying any. The ingredients are easy to find, the process simple, the result very satisfying.

For the enjoyment of your taste buds, I present to you, my Tarte Fine Aux Pommes, otherwise known as a (thin) apple tart.

Tarte Fine Aux Pommes Recipe

French Apple Tart

The “fine” in this recipe refers to the thickness of this apple tart, and gives a hint as to why it is so very easy to make.

A simple layer of apple slices on shortbread pastry with a little lemon and sugar, and you have a quality dessert that feeds 4 very hungry people (or 6 normal people) at a price that can’t be beaten.

Moreover, since our focus here at ninja central is on saving money and spending our time on things that are financially productive, this recipe comes with two very important benefits: It takes very little time to prepare and the ingredients cost very little to purchase (and less to make from scratch if you have the desire).

IngredientsMethodCost & Time


  • Two large sweet apples
  • Shortcrust pastry (~320 grams)
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • ~50g unsalted butter
  • Half a lemon
  • Ground cinnamon (optional)

Notes : Apples should not be too acidic, so avoid Granny Smith, for example. The lemon is used to avoid the apples oxidizing too much as you prepare.

Cooking Equipment : An oven tray, some greaseproof paper. You don’t actually need any specific dish for this, or any dish at all. It can be cooked directly on the paper which you place on the baking tray.


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C
  2. Place a sheet of baking paper on an over-proof dish (or the oven tray itself). Spread a thin layer of melted butter on the baking paper and sprinkle with a little sugar
  3. Lay out the shortcrust pastry on the buttered baking paper
  4. Peel the apples and cut them into thin slices, as regular as you can manage, about 2 to 3 millimeters thick. If you keep these temporarily in a bowl, occasionally put a little lemon juice on them to prevent them going brown (oxidation)
  5. Lay out the apple quarters in an attractive pattern on your pastry. They should overlap a little but not too much. Leave a 1 centimeter gap around the edges of the pastry for the edge of the tart
  6. Once the pastry is evenly covered, rub a little melted butter over the exposed edges of the pastry
  7. Sprinkle the apple slices with the remaining sugar and place a few small bits of butter on the surface of the pie to melt in the oven
  8. If you like cinnamon, sprinkle some onto the tart now. Don’t overdo it or it will overpower the other ingredients
  9. Cook in the oven for 30 minutes. At the end, if the apple slices have not browned, use the grill, but observe closely because they will brown suddenly when the right temperature is reached, usually within a minute or two

Cost & Time

This apple tart’s core ingredients are 2 apples, a lemon and some shortcrust pastry. In the UK, shortcrust pastry costs about £1.55 for a roll from a supermarket and the apples and lemon perhaps another £1.50, so the cost of a home cooked dessert is about £3.05.

I can make this in about 25 minutes, including the time spent fiddling with the oven and making sure the surface of the tart is golden brown. With a mandolin it would be quicker, but I cut the apples with a chef’s knife.

If you make the pastry yourself, you’ll replace the roll of pastry with some butter and flour and a bit of work. This will save you about £1.

The other ingredients are used in such small quantities that it’s hard to account for them separately. Call it £0.10 perhaps.