Perfect Brown Sugar Apple Crumble Tart + Hot Tips

brown sugar apple crumble tart
Hey, here’s a hot baking tip for ya (is that a pun?):  just because a recipe is maybe miswritten or isn’t written to your liking or is incomplete or ingredients or instructions lead you awry, doesn’t mean you can’t bake.  I hear you scoffing.

And I mean no offense there, recipe writers.

Don’t give up.  I know it’s frustrating but hang in there with me.

Oh and here’s another tip:  yeah folks always say make the recipe once as written and then alter after.  Yeeaaahhhh, I get it and I may have uttered a variation of that too, but if you like cinnamon, say, toss some in, don’t ignore your instincts.  Or you sense so and so baked thingie would rock it with nuts, by all means.

Don’t be afraid to try things.  This is how we learn.

Case in point for me was this particular recipe which I found at Stuck in the Kitchen.  Drool-worthy concept right off the big ol’ bat, amiright?!  Tart?  Apple?  Crumble?!  Brown sugar?!?  Whoa.  Fan me down.

So I made it for the first time a month or two back….

close up of apple crumble tart top
Yup.
Oh and hey, I am a million times on board with fast and easy desserts.  A million.  Sometimes though, ya know, guests come by (although not here, thanks Finn) or we’re invited somewhere or for zero reason at all, sometimes I wanna do it up, take the time, go the extra mile.

As you should, for no reason at all.  Life is short, you only get one go.  Make the nice dessert.

But right, for no other reason than it sounding faboo, I made this for a no-special-occasion dinner with my folks.  Everybody loved it.  I wasn’t satisfied.  Oh don’t get me wrong, it was good but ho ho ho-okay, my standards can be a tad excessively high.  *Are.  “Needs work,” I wrote on the sheet.

I always print out recipes (hot tip!) so I can write notes as I go or as we’re devouring the final product.  The recipe is in a book or you can’t print it?  Use a sticky note or paper and tuck it into the book if you’re not willing to write in it.

Originally I planned to share this recipe under the guise of I Made This Once Following the Make it Once As Written Rule Ignoring My Instincts, It Needs Work (in my opinion), Don’t Fret, It Happens to Everyone, Here’s What I’d Do to Fix It, I’ll Give It a Whirl Again Sometime.

As with many ventures in life, including baking, (hot tip!) mindset is more than half the battle.  We’re all only human, humans make errors.  Oh and haha, there are plenty o’ times it is for sure me, but just know, as I said, it’s not always you, don’t give up.   PMA, aka Positive Mental Attitude (the only lesson I remember from my algebra teacher — she was awesome).

So the opportunity to bake it again arose….Mike, “hey babe, I’m going to grill tonight,”  Bec, “oh ok babe, sounds great.  I’m gonna make dessert since we’re out.  Maybe that apple crumble tart again?”  

Incredulously, “uhhhhh ok, get on that right away then, wouldja?”  Twenty minutes later, “oh!  Oh my gosh babe, I was just kidding but look, you actually are.”  “Mmmmm hm, suuure you were.”  “No but I…” said doth protestor too much.

Long story short, I fixed it.  But I’ll still take you through several conundrums.  

And other long story short, I was excited to give my new tart pan* a run at it.  My previous one hadn’t seen much use sadly, hence it was rusted.  Heh.  Yikes.  Gross.

Aaand, major apologies as all the photos here today are from my first attempt, not my successful second.  Doh!  Sorry!!

Ahoy!  Tweaks ahead!

Starting with!  The apples.  Get a mix of apples.  This time I had one Honeycrisp, a tiny Michigan Gala (mmm mm, childhood), Cortlands, and Fujis.  That may sound excessive and you hardly need to go that far but different apples bring different flavors and textures resulting in a more rounded finished product.  If all you have in the house is one kind or you prefer a particular apple, don’t fret:  ignore my advice, do what makes you happy.

Next, don’t chop them chunky fat as originally written, slice them about a 1/8” thick.  Unless you prefer them chunkier but you’ll need to adjust the time on the next step.  Personally, despite seeing what the author was getting at, I felt the chunky didn’t work.

preparing to saute apples with brown sugar
Don’t do this.  Or, you can, but cook them longer.  Chunks were a weird textural thing against the whole though, IMHO.
Now, saute* them to floppy.  Well wait, not overdone but past just-softened, I should say.  If you note the bake time, you’ll see they’re not in the oven long therefore you need to get them pre-cooked enough.

Be sure to add some oomph here, like cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg for example, whatever your favorites are.

Remove those apples to a strainer* over a bowl then yep, you got it, cook down them juices until thick and sticky and gooey and caramelized.  Scoop that flavor-laden goo into the apples and mix ‘em up. 

Sweet!  Ok!  Onward to the crumble.

Here I had ended up with a dry, powdery, not crunchy crumbly, missing flavor sort of mess the first go around. 

crumble ingredients in a food processor bowl
Again, don’t do this.  Leave the oats out at first.
Cut the flour quantity, I decided.  And hold back the oats until the final couple pulses.*  Oh, and toss in a sprinkle of cinnamon and salt.  Lo, bingo, crumble issues resolved.  Ta da!  

So ok then, the tart shell.  Yeah this needed absolutely no freakin’ work what-so-freaking-ever as oh my goodness, I am doubled over, it is fan-freaking-tastic.  Leave it as written.  Add it to your repertoire immediately.  Done.


What’s stellar about it too is it’s not an all day dough affair either, no pre-planning, no waiting.  It’s nearly a make and bake so you can keep on rollin’ on. 

Speaking of (and yes I’m trying to pretend I didn’t roll out [two bad] puns ah ha ha), after a brief chilling, roll the dough out to a smidge less than 1/4″ thick, trimming to around 11″ inches if the pan is 9″ inches in diameter (at the bottom, measured from the outside [hot tip]).  The original recipe called for a 10″ pan so ultimately either is fine.  If you have a 10’er, trim to 12″.

Gingerly load the dough into the pan, fold the edges towards the outside, tuck them gently in, lightly smush the dough into the flutes until it squishes upwards about a quarter inch or so proud of the rim.  As the shell bakes, it’ll shrink back down to flush with the edge.  Cool trick!

pressing tart dough into pan
Ah crap, what a mess. It must’ve been warm that day. What a freakin’ train wreck. Don’t do this.
Once the shell has finished its twenty in the oven, brush* it with your preserves which in my case was apple jelly to keep building that apple flavor…

prebaked tart shell and apple jelly
Don’t prick the bottom.  You run the risk of going too far and major leaks.  Not that ahem, I’d know anything about that.  And as you can see, the tart shell shrank below the edge because I didn’t do that spiffy trick I mentioned above.

…load the apples in, no need to arrange prettily…

apples added to tart pan
All aboard the Tart Ship!
…then top with the crumble.

layering the crumble atop the apples
Don’t do this.  See, too powdery and dry and not clumpy enough.
Into the oven….out of the oven and voila, the perfect apple tart!  Eat this warm, cold is exceptional too, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream, or a scoop of melty vanilla ice cream, or even just plain.  It is apple heaven I tell ya, apple Heav. En.   And surprisingly not overly sweet either.  It’s truly perfect.

baked apple crumble tart
And voila.  I’m not drooling, you’re drooling.
Next time I make this, and oh I will, I’ll get more accurate photos of the proper end result.

plated apple crumble tart
Holy apple tart. Promise this will be the best apple tart ever.

Note:  This content originally appeared on Flaky Bakers.

baked brown sugar apple crumble tart on a plate


Brown Sugar Apple Crumble Tart

Brown Sugar Apple Crumble Tart

Yield
12 slices
Prep time
1 H & 30 M
Cook time
45 Min
Total time
2 H & 15 M
All the best of fall rolled into a crunchy crumbly, lightly brown sugar sweetened apple crumble tart bursting with the flavorful season.

Ingredients

Apple Filling
  • 3 lbs. (1360 g) mixed apples peeled, cored, cut into 1/8” thin slices
  • 3 tablespoons (40 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.3 g) cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
Crumble
  • 2/3 cup (80 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup (107 g) brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 teaspoon (1.3 g) cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon (1.5 g) fine sea salt
  • 5 tablespoons (71 g) cold butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup (45 g) rolled oats
Tart Dough
  • 7 tablespoons (99 g) cold butter, cubed
  • 1/3 cup (71 g) brown sugar packed
  • 1 1/3 cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
  • 1 cold egg yolk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml)  ice water
  • 3 tablespoons (64 g) jam preserves or jelly, slightly melted

Instructions

Apple Filling
  1. Place the sliced apples, brown sugar, and spices in a saute pan on medium heat. Cook the apples until they are softened but not too soft, about 15-20 minutes. Scoop the apples into a colander or fine-mesh sieve over a bowl to drain the liquid.
  2. Pour the liquid back into the saute pan over medium heat and cook it until it reduces, caramelizes, and thickens, careful not to burn it. With a heat resistant spatula, scoop the thickened juices into the apples and toss.
Crumble
  1. In a food processor, toss the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt along with the butter then pulse a few times until the butter is broken up into hazelnut sized chunks. Add the oats and pulse about 5-6 times. This can also be done with a pastry cutter or by hand.
  2. Dump the crumble into a bowl and squeeze together a bunch of large clumps with your fingers. Place the bowl in the fridge until final assembly and wipe out the food processor bowl.
Tart Dough
  1. Start the oven preheat to 355° F (180° C), or 350° F if you are unable to set by fives. Add the butter, brown sugar, and flour to the food processor and pulse until the butter is chunky, only a few pulses.
  2. Slip in the yolk and 1 tablespoon of ice water, pulse a few times and check to see if the dough holds together when squished between fingers. If not, add more ice water 1 tablespoon at a time.
  3. Turn the dough out onto a large piece of plastic wrap and pull the dough together, kneading slightly, into a disc. Cover and chill the dough for 15 minutes then on a floured counter, roll the dough until a little less than 1/4” thick. Trim it to a circle 2” larger than the tart pan (9” tart pan, 11” circle) or leave it as is and tear off edges by eye.
  4. Place your tart pan on a rimmed cookie sheet. Gently place the dough into the pan, lightly pressing into the fold of the pan. Fold the tart dough edges in half outwards and tuck into the pan. Lightly smush the dough into the fluted edge until the dough rises above the pan by about 1/4”.
  5. Chill the dough in the freezer for about 5 minutes.
  6. Place a circle of parchment paper on top of the dough and add beans, rice, or pie weights then place everything in the oven for about 13 minutes. Remove the pan, remove the parchment with the weights carefully, and place the cookie sheet with the tart pan back in the oven for 7 more minutes.
  7. The dough may puff a bit but it can be lightly pressed back down or it will relax after a few moments out of the oven.
  8. While still hot, brush the jam, preserves, or jelly evenly around the base and up the sides of the tart shell.
  9. Pour in the apple slices (you may not be able to fit them all in which is ok, you can use them for breakfast tomorrow) and top the tart with the crumble, smushing more larger clumps together as you go. You may not end up using all of the crumble either.
  10. Bake on the cookie sheet for another 25 minutes then allow the tart to cool for about 20 minutes before serving or cool completely.
  11. Serve with whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or plain, warmed or left cool or cold.

Notes:

Modified and adapted from Stuck in the Kitchen.

Nutrition Facts

Calories

361.31

Fat (grams)

6.78

Sat. Fat (grams)

3.88

Carbs (grams)

71.39

Fiber (grams)

4.26

Net carbs

67.13

Sugar (grams)

30.98

Protein (grams)

5.30

Sodium (milligrams)

99.47

Cholesterol (grams)

30.63

Please see the "info" section for nutrition details.

apple, tart
recipe
American
Created using The Recipes Generator


*My new tart pan, saute pans, strainers, food processors, and pastry brushes are Amazon affiliate links.  Happy baking, thanks!  Please see the "info" tab for more, well, info.

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