And as promised, here is the photo of my very first tart, an apple tart which turned not so pretty in so many ways. I knew that the recipe required blind baking, but I decided to be smart about it and skipped it – this is the result my friends – horribly shrunk pastry with awful looking sides. The tart was barely deep enough to contain some apples. Talking about the apples, look at how ‘dry’ they look. I forgot what recipe I used, but it’s definitely too dry because the apples dried out after further baking in the oven. The tart crusts are also a tad too pale for my liking. And for this particular photo, I believe I blind baked the tarts before adding the filling. In the recipe below, you bake the filling together with the crust, so you save time because you don’t have to blind bake!

My tart-making skills have only marginally improved now, considering how ‘rustic’ looking my tarts still look. Anyway, I just wanted showcase how versatile muffin trays can be and how the lack of pie/tart tins shouldn’t stop you from making tarts or pies. I just used my 12-hole muffin tray and placed the circles of pie dough into each hole before filling each of them with apple filling. It’s that easy really! 

Apple Crumble Tart
Makes 6 muffin sized pies

For the pastry, 
Refer to Bourke Street Bakery’s Pate Brisee recipe. I used about 25% of the dough here. Instructions below are assuming you have already thawed the frozen dough.

For the apple filling, 
Adapted from Grandma Ople’s recipe 

30 g     unsalted butter
6 g       all-purpose flour
15 g     water
20 g     white sugar
20 g     brown sugar
2          apples, peeled, cored and sliced.
1 g       ground cinnamon

For the crumble topping, 
30g brown sugar
30g butter
45g flour
15g ground almonds
3g   ground cinnamon

Method: 

  1. To make the apple filling, melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in the flour to form a paste before adding water, white and brown sugars. Bring the mixture to a boil before reducing the temperature and letting it simmer for about 2-3 minutes. Add in the ground cinnamon and any other spices you wish to add. The mixture should have thickened considerably by now. Add in the sliced apples in the mixture and remove from heat. 
  2. To prepare the crumble topping, sift together the flour, ground almonds and ground cinnamon. Add in the brown sugar. Dice the butter into small cubes before cutting them into the flour mixture. Use your fingers to rub the butter into the flour mixture until you get large breadcrumb-like sizes. Store in the fridge until the tarts are ready to be topped. 
  3. To make the tart crusts, remove the pastry dough disc from the refrigerator 20 minutes before you wish to roll it. After flouring your work surface and rolling pin, roll out the disc to about 3-5mm thick. Using a round cutter, cut rounds of pastry dough to fit into your muffin holes. If you don’t have an appropriately sized cutter (like me), leave your dough slightly thicker (about 8mm or more) before cutting the rounds. You can then use your fingers or a rolling pin to roll the dough till it is thinner. Fit them into your muffin holes. Cut away the excess dough from the lip of the muffin hole or you can fold them inwards. 
  4. Put the muffin tray into the freezer for at least 20 minutes to relax the dough. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 180°C. Make sure that the apple filling has cooled to room temperature before you portion them into each tart. Add about a tablespoon of crumble topping to the top of each tart and be sure to press them into the filling before baking. 
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are a deep golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool in the muffin tray for about 15 minutes before placing them on the wire rack to cool for a further 30 minutes or more. The filling inside will be very hot if you consume the tarts any earlier (voice of experience speaking), so do take care!

Janine’s jots: 

  • Note: To make sure that the crust is thoroughly baked, it is best to work with an oven with two racks, one placed at the bottom and another placed in the middle. Begin baking with the rack at the bottom and bake for 15 minutes before moving the tray up for the last 10-15 minutes. Also, my muffin tray is non-stick and dark colored, which I think helped with the browning of the bottom of the tarts. The bottoms were a lovely golden brown and were not soggy at all!
  • Taste: I initially thought the apple filling was a little too thick and contemplated adding more water but I was glad I didn’t. After baking, the apples became really soft and sweet and the filling wasn’t at all dry – in fact, it was super moist and delish! The only thing I would change is probably adding a pinch of salt because I felt the apple filling tasted a tad bland with just unsalted butter. I will also use a Granny Smith together with my Pacific Rose apples the next time for greater complexity of taste from the filling.
  • Texture: I loved how there was the crunch of the crumble topping (I purposely left my ground almonds quite coarse), the warmth and gooey apple filling and then the flakiness of the pastry all around. Quite a delight for the mouth really!
  • Serving size: The quarter recipe of pie dough is sufficient to make about 6 muffin sized pies only, or slightly or less depending on how big/small your muffin tray is. 
  • Modifications: I’m not entirely happy with my recipe for the crumble topping, which I put together on a whim. I find that it’s not textural enough – I might probably add more butter and use some oats the next time round. For the apple filling, I’ll also try adding some lemon zest the next time round for a tad more zippiness. 
  • Storage: The tarts taste best on the day itself, but I kept some at room temperature for about 3 days and they still tasted great. Be sure to give them a zap in the microwave or toaster to heat them up for the best results. Also, I kept one in the fridge for a week and it still tasted great after being heated up. 
  • Would I make this again?: Definitely! With the pie dough ready and frozen, it takes about 2 hours from start to finish (making the filling, the pie crusts and finishing baking). That’s just 2 hours standing between you and a yummy apple tart! 
  • Other comments: When making the apple filling, the syrup crystallizes rather easily, so be sure to use low heat. You can opt to place the apples in the pie first before pouring in the mixture, but I prefer to coat the apples with the mixture first to ensure that every apple slice is coated. You have to press the crumble topping into the filling because otherwise, the crumble topping will fall off very easily from the tarts after they’re baked! For the crust, you can also use the ‘patching’ method, i.e., peel bits of the dough to patch up the inside of the muffin hole – this method works well if you don’t have a round cutter. 

In pictures: 

For the bottom tart, I used my fingers to compact the crumble before adding it, hence the less crumbly look.
Doesn’t matter if you have uneven crusts – it contributes to the rustic look!

Be generous with that crumble topping!

The same tarts, now baked. 

Look at the gooey apple filling. Absolutely delicious! And tastes better than McD’s Apple Pie :p

Oh and I forgot to add that I’ll be submitting this as my second entry to Aspiring Bakers #10: Easy as Pie (August 2011), hosted by myself. For those who haven’t got tart tins, there’s no reason for you not to bake any tarts now, so do join in the fun :]

15 comments

  1. sotong says:

    absolutely yum! love your photos especially that one with the soft focused half eaten tart with the pretty flowery paper?

  2. sotong says:

    absolutely yum! love your photos especially that one with the soft focused half eaten tart with the pretty flowery paper?

  3. This is sure a keeper for afternoon tea gathering :) Lovely bake you have over there :)

  4. Jean says:

    wow i love the gooey apple sauce threatening to flow out of the tart, but yet stay obediently inside the tart!! looks really divine!

  5. Your tarts look good! The apple filling looks so moist and delicious, better than McD’s works fine for me! I have been planning on making more tarts and pies, but have been busy this past week! Will try something next week!

  6. shaz says:

    I love mini versions of food. These cute tarts are gorgeous. Well done, on perfecting the pie.

  7. You have very helpful notes on pie baking in your posts. The standard of my pies are touch-and-go but I do love any with custard/fruits in them.

  8. Janine says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Janine says:

    @sotong: thanks! and yes it’s paper ;p

    @ellena: yup i had a couple of them with my friends for a pre-lunch hehe :)

    @jean: thanks – it wasn’t all that obedient once the crust crumbles though ;p

    @kitchen flavors: do try this out! it really was yummy!

    @shaz: thanks, and nah i haven’t perfected it yet!

    @the experimental cook: glad the post was of help!

  10. MaryMoh says:

    I love all desserts with apples. Never mind the look. I will eat all if you don’t want :P Hope you are have lots of fun baking. MaryMoh at http://www.keeplearningkeepsmiling.com

  11. crustabakes says:

    wowwwww! u definitely went a very very long way since your first tarts! these are amazinggg looking!

  12. I love crumble, i love apple based desserts and I love tarts. What I am getting at is, I love this! And love the rustic look!

    I also want to thank you for stopping by my blog and would like you to check out my giveaway in case you find the time before 15th Aug:
    http://thenovicehousewife.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/celebrating-first-blogiversary-with-tartlets-a-giveaway/

  13. I love crumble, i love apple based desserts and I love tarts. What I am getting at is, I love this! And love the rustic look!

    I also want to thank you for stopping by my blog and would like you to check out my giveaway in case you find the time before 15th Aug:
    http://thenovicehousewife.wordpress.com/2011/07/29/celebrating-first-blogiversary-with-tartlets-a-giveaway/

  14. Zoe says:

    Love all your photos. They are all very nicely focused and taken. The tarts looks very delicious with your fantastic presentation skills. Yum!

  15. Karly says:

    These look outrageously good and I love your photos!

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