Apple Crumble Tart

As the holidays are approaching and family gatherings are on the way, it's time to start fantasizing about all the food that's coming your way. Or if you're the cook in the family, begin to have nightmares about all the work coming your way. Well, I'm here to make life just a bit easier for us cooks.

When I was developing this recipe, I knew I wanted something with minimal baking, because I just wanted something easy. I want to enjoy family time, and not have to spend all day in the kitchen baking away. I wanted something that plays on all of your senses and is a take on a bunch of different apple desserts combined because I'm greedy like that. This is that something. It's an apple crumble tart.

It has a graham cracker crust which is super easy to make and takes 10 minutes to bake. It has a cream-based filling that is a no-churn and no-freeze dupe for vanilla ice cream. Topped with a homemade apple filling mixture and a cakey-crunchy streusel topping. It has those layers of love and it looks good but tastes even better. This is the dessert you want to make this holiday season so you can show off, enjoy a few satisfying slices, and spend the maximum amount of time with your family.

REASONS YOU SHOULD TRY THIS RECIPE:

  • great way to use up apples during peak apple season
  • great dessert for family functions during the holidays
  • multiple layers of great textures and flavors
apple crumble pie with caramel sauce drizzle on plate

INGREDIENTS FOR THIS APPLE CRUMBLE TART:

Crust

  • Graham Crackers– The base of our crust
  • Granulated Sugar - Sweetens the crust and helps in browning the crust
  • Butter – Helps bind the crust mixture
  • Salt– Brings out the other flavors
  • Cinnamon – Brings out the graham cracker flavor more and adds a bit of warm spice
  • Vanilla extract– Adds more flavor

Vanilla Cream Filling

  • Heavy Cream - The base of our filling
  • Mascarpone - Helps in thickening the filling mixture
  • Confectioners' Sugar - Adds sweetness and thickens the cream
  • Milk Powder - Adds more of a milk flavor to make our filling taste more like ice cream
  • Vanilla extract and vanilla beans - Adds more vanilla flavor

Apple Mixture

  • Apples - Any baking apples will do, but I used a mix of Granny Smith and Gala
  • Butter - Helps thicken the mixture
  • Apple Juice - Reinforces apple flavor
  • Dark Brown Sugar - Adds sweetness and a molasses flavor
  • Granulated Sugar - Adds sweetness
  • Salt - Brings out the rest of the flavors
  • Nutmeg - Adds warm spice flavor that complements the apple flavor
  • Cinnamon - Adds a warm spice flavor
  • Lemon - Complements the tartness of the apples
  • Cornstarch - Helps in thickening the mixture

Streusel Topping

  • All-Purpose Flour - Binds the mixture
  • Granulated and brown sugar - Adds sweetness and helps with browning
  • Cinnamon and salt - Adds warm spice and brings out the rest of the flavors
  • Butter - Helps in binding the streusel mixture and adds a buttery flavor. The butter being cold is key.
  • Vanilla - Ups the flavor of our streusel.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can I use a different crust?

I've tested this recipe with a sugar cookie crust and it worked out well. Just use your favorite sugar cookie dough recipe. However, if you use that type of crust, the shelf life may not be as long and the crust may get soggy sooner. You can also use a gingersnap crust as a different and more stable option than the cookie dough crust.

How long does this take to set up before serving?

I would recommend letting this set up in the fridge for at least four hours, however, you can also make this a day ahead.

Does apple crumble tart need to be refrigerated?

Yes! The filling is a cream base and that means it needs to be refrigerated in order to stay stable and fresh. It will last for about four days but will be best served within the first couple of days.

Can I use different apples?

Yes! I used Granny Smith and Gala personally. You can use any baking apple mix but I definitely recommend at least using Granny Smith as one option if you're using another variety as well.

HOW TO MAKE MY Apple crumble tart:

  • Make the crust - Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl, except the butter. Pour in your melted butter. Begin to mix with your hands until the mixture clumps together like wet sand in your hands. Pour the mixture into an 8" tart pan greased with cooking spray. Use your hands to begin to spread the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pan. Use your hands and the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten the bottom of the crust and to get the mixture up the sides as evenly as possible. It won't look perfect, but just do the best you can to get it as even as possible. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and you begin to smell the aroma from the oven. Set it aside to cool.
  • Make the apple filling - Add most ingredients except the cornstarch, vanilla extract, and apple juice in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the apples are tender. (By tender, I mean they should no longer be firm to the bite but also not mushy.) When your apples are almost at the point of being finished, you want to combine cornstarch with apple juice in a small separate bowl. This creates a slurry which will help thicken our apple mixture. Add the slurry to the pot. Continue to cook the apple mixture for a few minutes after the slurry is added until the mixture thickens a bit. Pour out the apple mixture into a medium-sized bowl, stir in the vanilla extract, and set it aside to cool.
  • Make the streusel topping - Combine the streusel topping ingredients all together in a medium-sized bowl. Begin to work it with your hands a bit by mixing it all together before pouring the mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Use your hands to clump up together the flour and butter into big clumps. We want bigger clumps so it creates a streusel topping. Smaller clumps of the mixture will end up overbaking.
  • Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and the flour is no longer raw. I believe my oven took about 30-35 minutes but every oven is different. That's why it's important to check throughout. You can take it out of the oven at the 20-minute mark if you're unsure and try a piece. If it needs longer, just put it back in the oven and continue baking in five-minute increments. The edges or small amounts on the outside may be a bit burned or overbaked, but that's fine. We'll pick through and use the good ones. Set the topping to the side to cool and move on to making your filling.
  • Make the filling - After giving a bit of time for your apple mixture, crust, and streusel topping to cool, begin to make the filling. In a cold bowl, use a cold whisk to begin whisking cold cream side to side in a rapid motion. After about 30 seconds, add the powdered sugar, milk powder, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract. After another 30 seconds to a minute, once you start to see the mixture start to thicken slightly, add in the mascarpone and begin to whisk that in. Whip this mixture until you achieve a medium peak. This means the cream will hold its shape and have some body to it, but still be soft and light. It should stick to a spoon if you scoop a bit out onto a spoon.
  • Assemble, decorate, and serve - Pour the filling immediately after making it into the cooled crust. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread as evenly the best you can. Top it with most, if not all of the cooled apple mixture. Spread as evenly as possible making sure you don't spread to the edges. We want a bit of a gap between the edges and the apple mixture so some cream filling should be peaking through there.
  • Crumble up your streusel topping on the sheet tray into medium-sized pieces. Add the softer pieces on top of your apple mixture, again avoiding the edges. Decorate this as you please from here. I just dust on a bit of powdered sugar to finish it off. Refrigerate for at least four hours or up to overnight before serving.
MORE GREAT DESSERT RECIPES:

Apple Caramel Cheesecake

Traditional Apple Pie

Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

SHOP MY BAKING ESSENTIALS:

https://www.amazon.com/shop/fayesfood

Apple Crumble Tart

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Servings 8

Ingredients
  

Graham Cracker Crust

  • 1 ½ cups graham cracker crumbs
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter melted
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Apple Mixture

  • 1 pound baking apples small diced, (1 lb = 3 apples)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3 ounces dark brown sugar (3 ounces = 6 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ small lemon zest and juice
  • ½ tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 ounce sugar-free apple juice (1 ounce = 2 tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Struesel Topping

  • 8 ½ ounces all-purpose flour (8 ½ ounces = ~ a little less than 2 cups)
  • 60 grams granulated sugar (60 grams = ~ 4 + ¾ tablespoons)
  • 60 grams light brown sugar (60 grams = ~ 4 + ¾ tablespoons)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 160 grams unsalted butter cold and diced large chunks, (160 grams =~1 stick of butter +2 ½ tablespoons of butter)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Cream Filling

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • ½ cup + 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone
  • 3 teaspoons dry milk powder
  • 1 whole vanilla bean seeds
  • ½ tablespoon vanilla extract

Instructions
 

Make the Crust

  • Combine all of the crust ingredients in a large bowl, except the butter. Pour in your melted butter. Begin to mix with your hands until the mixture clumps together like wet sand in your hands. Pour the mixture into an 8" tart pan greased with cooking spray. Use your hands to begin to spread the mixture onto the bottom and sides of the pan.
    Use your hands and the bottom of a measuring cup to flatten the bottom of the crust and to get the mixture up the sides as evenly as possible. It won't look perfect, but just do the best you can to get it as even as possible. Bake the crust for 10 minutes at 350°F for 10 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and you begin to smell the aroma from the oven. Set it aside to cool.

Make the Apple Filling

  • Add most ingredients except the cornstarch, vanilla extract and apple juice in a pot. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until the apples are tender. (By tender, I mean they should no longer be firm to the bite but also not mushy.) When your apples are almost at the point of being finished, you want to combine cornstarch with apple juice in a small separate bowl. This creates a slurry which will help thicken our apple mixture. Add the slurry to the pot. Continue to cook the apple mixture for a few minutes after the slurry is added until the mixture thickens a bit. Pour out the apple mixture into a medium-sized bowl, stir in the vanilla extract and set it aside to cool.

Make the Struesel Topping

  • Combine the streusel topping ingredients all together in a medium-sized bowl. Begin to work it with your hands a bit by mixing it all together before pouring the mixture onto a parchment-lined sheet tray. Use your hands to clump up together the flour and butter into big clumps. We want bigger clumps so it creates a streusel topping. Smaller clumps of the mixture will end up overbaking. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes or until the streusel is golden brown and the flour is no longer raw.
    I believe my oven took about 30-35 minutes but every oven is different. That's why it's important to check throughout. You can take it out of the oven at the 20-minute mark if you're unsure and try a piece. If it needs longer, just put it back in the oven and continue baking in five-minute increments. The edges or small amounts on the outside may be a bit burned or overbaked, but that's fine. We'll pick through and use the good ones. Set the topping to the side to cool and move on to making your filling.

Make the Filling

  • After giving a bit of time for your apple mixture, crust, and streusel topping to cool, begin to make the filling. In a cold bowl, use a cold whisk to begin whisking cold cream side to side in a rapid motion. After about 30 seconds, add the powdered sugar, milk powder, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract. After another 30 seconds to a minute, once you start to see the mixture start to thicken slightly, add in the mascarpone and begin to whisk that in. Whip this mixture until you achieve a medium peak. This means the cream will hold its shape and have some body to it, but still be soft and light. It should stick to a spoon if you scoop a bit out onto a spoon.

Assemble, Decorate, and Serve

  • Pour the filling immediately after making it into the cooled crust. Use an offset spatula or butter knife to spread as evenly the best you can. Top it with most, if not all of the cooled apple mixture. Spread as evenly as possible making sure you don't spread to the edges. We want a bit of a gap between the edges and the apple mixture so some cream filling should be peaking through there.
    Crumble up your streusel topping on the sheet tray into medium-sized pieces. Add the softer pieces on top of your apple mixture, again avoiding the edges. Decorate this as you please from here. I just dust on a bit of powdered sugar to finish it off. Refrigerate for at least four hours or up to overnight before serving.

Video

Notes

It's recommended to serve within the first couple of days, but it will last refrigerated and covered for up to four days.
Keyword apple crumble tart

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