Pastis with Apples


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2003

  • About

The dessert called pastis, a specialty of the Landes, a region in France not far from the Pyrenees and Spain, is closely related to the tourtière, an other regional dessert from Quercy. Both desserts are made with a version of phyllo dough baked up crisp and paper thin. The filling for this pastis is made of apples deeply flavored with vanilla, rum, Armagnac, and grated lemon zest, a wonderful combination very typical of the region.

The dessert is especially delicious when served with vanilla ice cream.


  • 1 pound Granny Smith apples
  • ¾ cup superfine or baker’s sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 3 tablespoons Armagnac
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum
  • ½ pound phyllo leaves, about 10 sheets
  • cup clarified butter, melted and warm
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for garnish
  • Vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche, as accompaniment


  1. Peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Combine the apple slices with ½ cup of the superfine sugar, the vanilla, lemon zest, Armagnac, and rum in a saucepan. Cover and cook over medium-low heat until the apples are soft, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the apples, reserving the juices.
  2. Return the aromatic juices to the saucepan and boil until reduced to about ½ cup syrup, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix with the apples and leave to cool. (The apples can be cooked a day ahead)
  3. A few hours before serving, preheat the oven to 400°F. Place 3 of the phyllo sheets in a buttered 12-inch pizza pan, brushing or spraying each sheet with clarified butter, and allowing the phyllo to extend over the sides of pan. Spread half the cold apple slices evenly over the phyllo. Fold the overhanging phyllo over the filling and brush or spray with butter. Cover with 2 more sheets of phyllo and repeat, then cover with 3 buttered phyllo sheets. Trim off the extended leaves of phyllo, cut into strips, and scatter attractively over the top of the pie. Sprinkle with any remaining butter and a few drops of cold water.
  4. Bake the pastis for 12 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F and bake for 30 minutes longer.
  5. Sprinkle the remaining superfine sugar over the top of the pastry. Run under the broiler just long enough to caramelize the top here and there, 1 to 2 minutes.
  6. Slide the pastis onto a wire rack and let cool to lukewarm. Just before serving, dust with confectioners’ sugar. Serve with vanilla ice cream or dollops of crème fraîche.