Apple Crumble Tart


I’ve been baking Apple Pie every Christmas for about 4 years now. In other words, I bake Apple Pie once in a year – only on Christmas. Why? Well, firstly, making your own pastry dough can be extremely strenuous and intimidating. A good pie crust is buttery, flaky and crispy. However, all these desirable traits depend on a few factors namely how you deal with your dough, the ingredients used, and the weather. The heat and humidity in Singapore is definitely not ideal to yield a mouth-watering pie crust. Secondly, because I value homemade freshness over frozen or store-bought goods, making a Pie can be relatively time-consuming. Hence, I always leave it for special occasions. Yet in Singapore, this western dessert doesn’t really fit into the many Asian festivals/special occasions that we celebrate. For example, Apple Pie for Chinese New Year? No way. Christmas is by far the best festival to have an Apple Pie as a celebratory dessert.
Just a few days back, I was craving Apple Pie. Somehow I had some spare time to kill, so I decided to make one. But because it was the first time I was making an Apple Pie on an ordinary day for no special valid reason, I decided to play around a little. Something must have came to me that day, but I suddenly had the idea of combining an Apple Pie and an Apple Crumble = Apple Crumble Tart! I wouldn’t call it a “pie” because I perceive pies to be covered with a double crust. This, on the other hand, has the bottom crust acting as a holder/basket/base for all the wonderful fillings. So yes “tart” 🙂 Anyway, all I did was halved the pastry recipe, and instead of covering the apples with another sheet of dough, I topped it off with a crumble (or you could have a streusel topping if you want, either way, they’re both deliciously sweet and crunchy :)).

The result: Amazing. It’s rather simple, yet delicious – not too sweet, nor was it heavily spiced. Yet, it was extremely flavorful. Top it off with vanilla ice cream or whip cream and it’s a perfect dessert, unique and perfect on its own. Or you could just chose to have it for breakfast! 🙂 The thing I love about this tart, second to its flavor, is the rich, unmistakable scent of buttery brilliance which hit the air just 10 minutes into the oven. Yummy omnomnomn

Apple Crumble Tart
There are basically just 3 elements to making this perfect Apple Crumble Tart – the crust, the apples, and the crumble.
Firstly, the key to a fantastic crust is to keep everything cold, especially the fat that you are using, and to work fast. So for a flaky crust, always chill the fat and liquid before you begin. Usually, the dough is made in a food processor. However, if you don’t have a food processor like me, just grate the cold butter in and work them with your hands. But handle it as little as possible though, to minimize the heat and prevent the butter from melting. Then, the dough needs to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. This allows the flour to absorb all the liquid, lets the dough relax and become more elastic, and keeps the fat in discrete pieces. Visible fat = light, airy, flaky crust = *drools* J When rolling out the dough, always work quickly, so the dough stays cold. And make sure you are generous with flour! You definitely do not want to create a big mess with your dough sticking everywhere. Also, remember to handle it as little as possible, overworking will make it tough ie. Hard, dense crust.
An extremely detailed demonstration on how to make the perfect pie crust can be found on Smitten Kitchen’s Pie Crust 101, 102 and 103.
For the apples, I made this with Granny Smith Apples. But you could just use any kind of apple which has a firm texture and will not lose its shape when baked. Some examples include Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or Breaburn. Also, the most important step to ensure that there is as much flavor as possible is to macerate the apples with sugar and spices once they are sliced. Macerating the apples allows the apples to release their juices. The juice is then cooked with a little butter for a more concentrated and slightly caramel flavor, before adding it back to the apples. It definitely adds to the overall wholesomeness and deliciousness of the apples.
Lastly, you can hardly go wrong with the crumble topping. Oats, sugar, butter yum yum 🙂 Also, because it’s a crumble topping instead of another pie crust, the baking time will be shorter than a usual double crust Apple Pie. So when it’s 30 minutes, start watching your oven! Once the topping turns golden brown and you, it’s done. I baked mine for about 37 minutes.
162g plain flour
90g cold unsalted butter, cubed
1 Tb caster sugar
Ice Water
Preheat oven to 190 degrees C.
Make pastry by working together the flour, butter, sugar and a pinch of salt in a food processor, until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add 20 – 30 ml water slowly and mix until the dough comes together. Put dough in a bowl and cover with plastic sheet, and refrigerate for a min of 30 minutes.
Roll out dough to cover pie dish (20 x 20 x 5cm), bake until it is done. Set aside.
Apple Filling:
4 green apples
40g white sugar
Juice of half lemon
2 Tb unsalted butter, room temp
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
To make the filling, peel and slice thinly the apples. Place in a large bowl, and combine the sugar, salt, lemon juice, and toss to mix. Allow the apples to macerate at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Drain apples for about 20 min.
Transfer liquid from apples to a cup, add butter, and microwave and boil on high for about 5 – 8 minutes. Liquid should be reduced to about 80ml, and is syrupy and lightly caramelized.
Pour the syrup over the apples, tossing gently. Put the entire apple mixture inside the pie dish.
Crumble Topping:
65g flour
50g white sugar
40g brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
84g cold unsalted butter
30g old-fashioned rolled oats
40g nuts (I used almonds)
To make the topping,place flour, sugars, spices, oats and nuts in a bowl. Grate your butter in, and mix mixture with fingertips until it is crumbly (looks like coarse meal) and there are no large pieces of butter visible. Spread topping evenly over apples.
Bake for approximately 30-40 minutes or until bubbly and topping is golden brown. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for about 30 minutes before serving.

This entry was posted in American/New American, Breakfast/Brunch, Dessert, Quick/Easy, Recipe (Baking/Cooking), Snack and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Apple Crumble Tart

  1. Pingback: Apple Cake | The Cinnamon Sheep

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