Apple tart recipes are as diverse as apple pie recipes. Tarte Tatin is probably the most famous upside down apple dessert. Now, many people ask “What’s the difference between a tart and a pie?”. In the pastry world there are different types of desserts – pies, tarts, galettes, crumbles, crisps and each of these varieties has its own characteristics.
Generally, pies and tarts are very similar. They can be called “cousins” and the galette is another relative in this group. The common feature is that these are all baked desserts, wrapped in crust and with a sweet filling.
By definition, a pie is a sweet or savory dish with a crust and a filling. Pies are baked in pans with sloped sides and can have a single or double crust.
A tart is a freestanding shallow open-faced pastry. It is baked in a shallow-sided tart pan with a removable bottom so the tart can be served freestanding on a plate or platter.
While pies are served right out of the pie dish tarts are removed from the pan before serving.
The crust is also different. A pie crust is traditionally made of flour, salt, cold water, and lard (or shortening) and a tart crust is usually made from pastry dough: traditionally flour, unsalted butter, cold water, and sometimes sugar. A pie crust is crisp and flaky while a tart crust is firm and crumbly.
Apple tart recipes variations – galettes, crumbles and crisps
As we mentioned above, the galette is a tart or pie made without using a pie dish or a tart pan. Typically, this French dessert is made by rolling the dough on a baking sheet and piling the filling in the center, leaving about 1-2 inches of space between the filling and the edge of the pasty. Then you fold the edges up so that the top of the filling stays exposed. Galettes can have fruit, sweet or savory filling.
Crumble is the easy alternative to pies and it has no pie crust. Crumbles are prepared with streusel topping which is ideal for any fruit dessert.
Crisps are another quick and easy alternative to pies and tarts. It is different from the crumble although they look quite alike. The difference is in the topping. While the crumble is topped with streusel, a crisp is topped with a mixture of oats, flour, sugar and butter, sometimes nuts and spices.
French Apple tart
For the crust:
- 2/3 cup (156g) butter, softened
- 2 cups (241g) all purpose flour
- ½ cup (57g) confectioners’ sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
For the filling:
- 1/2 cup (113g) butter, softened
- 1 cup (198g) sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ¾ cup (72g) almond flour
- 1/4 cup (28g) all purpose flour
- 1 to 2 medium apples, cored, thinly sliced
Prepare the crust:
Mix together all the ingredients. You can use a food processor or stand mixer, or you can do it by hand. The dough will come together in a ball. Once it’s smooth, drop spoonfuls of the dough into a greased 9” tart pan. Using your fingertips, press the dough into the base of the pan and up the sides in an even layer. Place the crust in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare the filling.
Prepare the filling:
Beat together the butter and sugar until pale in color and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Whisk together the almond flour and all-purpose flour, then fold into the wet ingredients.
Assemble and bake:
Pour the filling into the chilled crust and smooth the top. Arrange the thin apple slices in two concentric circles, overlapping each slice very slightly, over the surface of the tart. Depending on the size of your apples, you may need more or fewer slices.
Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown, the apples begin to brown on the edges, and the filling is puffed and set. Remove the tart from the oven, and let it cool for at least 15 minutes before serving.
Classic apple tart recipes – Tarte Tatin
- 7 small Granny Smith (Pink Lady or Gala) apples, peeled, cored, halved
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ¾ cup (150 grams) granulated sugar
- ¼ cup (57 grams) cold unsalted butter, cubed
- 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
- Créme fraîche, to serve
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a 12-inch circle, about ⅛ inch thick. Place on a lightly floured plate, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Combine the apples, lemon juice and vanilla in a medium bowl.
Cook sugar in a skillet over medium heat, without stirring, until it begins to liquefy, 2 to 4 minutes. When it starts to melt and brown, reduce heat and stir with a whisk to avoid any sugar clumps. Remove from heat; add cold butter, and swirl to melt.
Return skillet to heat and add apples. Cook over medium heat, gently stirring and turning, until apples soften and start to turn translucent at the edges, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat; let cool slightly.
Transfer apples into an ovenproof skillet. Arrange them in a circle around outside, overlapping them slightly. Arrange remaining apples in center of ring. Scrape any leftover caramel over apples in skillet.
Top with pastry round, tucking edges in all around. Cut a few vents in center, and place skillet on a baking sheet.
Bake until pastry is nicely browned and apples are bubbling around the edges, 30 to 35 minutes. Run a knife around edges to loosen. Let cool in pan for 15 minutes. Place a serving plate over the top of the pan. Carefully invert the tart onto the plate. Cut into wedges and serve immediately with créme fraîche.
Apple rose tart
For the tart:
- 16.4 oz/ 465 g ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry
- 12 apples
- 3 lemons
For the frangipane:
- 6 oz/170 g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 6 oz/170 g caster sugar
- 6 oz/170 g eggs (shelled and weighed), beaten
- 6 oz/170 g ground almonds
Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
Make the frangipane. Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a free-standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Cream together until they are completely smooth and combined. Add a little of the egg and then a spoonful of the almonds. Repeat until all of the eggs and almonds have been added and everything has blended together.
Line a 21cm (8½ inch) round, 3.5cm (1¼ inch) deep loose-bottom tin with the pastry. Fill the pastry case with frangipane.
Prepare the apple roses. Fill a large microwaveable bowl with cold water and squeeze in the juice of half a lemon.
Core and halve 4 of the apples then cut each half vertically into slices about 1mm thick. Use a mandolin or try to slice the apples as finely as you can. Place the cut apple slices in the lemon water. Microwave the bowl of apples for 5 minutes to soften the flesh. Drain off the water and submerge the slices in cold lemon water.
Lay 8 of the apple slices on a clean tea towel in a neat row, overlapping each slice. Start to roll one end of the row to resemble a rose. Place the apple rose in the frangipane, skin facing up. Repeat with the rest of the apples, preparing another batch of apple slices when needed. Continue until all of the frangipane layer has been covered with roses
Place the tart on a baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes. Insert a skewer into the middle of the tart and if it comes out clean, it is ready.
Remove from the oven and leave the tart to cool before removing it from the tin.
- 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, plus 2 tablespoons melted
- 1/3 cup ice water
- 3 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 large apples—peeled, cored and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
- 2 tablespoons melted and strained apricot preserves
In a food processor, pulse 1 1/2 cups of the flour with the salt. Add the cold butter and process just until the butter is the size of peas. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and process just until moistened. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a disk. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 16- to 17-inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto the prepared baking sheet.
In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour and sprinkle over the dough. Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping concentric circles to within 3 inches of the edge. Fold the dough over the apples in a free-form fashion. Brush the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Refrigerate the unbaked tart until slightly chilled, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400F/200 C. Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and golden and the crust is deep golden and cooked through. Brush the apples with the melted preserves. Slide the parchment onto a wire rack and let the tart cool slightly before serving.