Sheet Pan

Brown Butter Apple Tart

January 27, 2015
13 Ratings
Photo by Phyllis Grant
  • Serves 6
Author Notes

This is inspired by an apple tart that my father had in Paris many years ago. If possible, cook it on a pizza stone. This allows the crust to get quite crisp. The apples are so thinly sliced that they cook quickly. Make sure to leave on the skin because the border of the apple slices brown nicely in the oven.

Just know that in order to make lovely apple circles, you will need to sacrifice at least half of each apple. Just plan on using the scraps for a compote or snacking. You can even julienne it up right away, toss with lemon juice, and save for a salad. Or not all of the slices have to be circles. Up to you. In the photo above, I've used only circles. But you could also play with making a pattern with all different shaped slices.

Serve with vanilla bean ice cream or crème fraîche. Alternatively, this tart makes a great dinner alongside cheese and a tangy green salad. —Phyllis Grant

What You'll Need
  • 1 recipe of your favorite tart or pie dough (or puff pastry)
  • 6 to 8 Granny Smith apples
  • 3 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1/2 vanilla bean, halved and scraped of its seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons turbinado sugar
  • 3 tablespoons apricot jam, any large chunks of fruit finely chopped up
  1. Take your dough out of the fridge 20 minutes before rolling it out (or 1 hour before if it's in the freezer).
  2. Heat your oven to 450° F. Place your pizza stone or sheet pan in the oven to warm up. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Swirl it around a few times. It will foam and spatter. After 3 to 4 minutes, it will start to smell nutty. Don’t walk away. It’s ready when the sizzling quiets down and you see little brown bits drop to the bottom of the pan. Cool. Whisk in vanilla bean seeds and extract.
  3. Cut a piece of parchment paper that's about a 10-inch square. Roll out your dough into about a 12-inch round. It doesn't need to be perfect -- you're going to fold over the edges. Roll dough onto your rolling pin. Unroll dough onto the piece of parchment.
  4. Using a very sharp knife or a mandoline, with the apple stem facing north, very thinly slice about 5 circles off of two opposing sides of the apple. Stop once you hit the core. Repeat with the remaining apples. Save remaining apple and the outermost discs with lots of skin for applesauce or some other use.
  5. Starting about 2 inches in from the border of the rolled out dough, make a circle with the apple discs, having them overlap. Continue with a second layer that overlaps the bigger circle. Do a third and smaller circle. And a fourth. Finish it off with a few discs in the middle in a flower pattern. Paint all exposed apple surface with the brown butter vanilla mixture. Fold the outer border of the dough in to enclose about half of the exterior edge of the outermost apple discs. Let it be funky!
  6. Whisk together egg and heavy cream. Paint exposed border of dough with a thin layer of egg wash. Refrigerate any leftover egg wash and save for your next tart or pie (it will last a few days). Generously sprinkle the turbinado sugar all over the apples and the egg-washed dough.
  7. Remove hot pizza stone or sheet pan from the oven. Quickly slide the tart (keeping it on the parchment) onto the hot surface. Bake until apples are golden brown and the crust is crisp, about 20 to 25 minutes.
  8. Warm up the apricot jam. Using a pastry brush, paint surface of the cooked apples with warm jam. Serve immediately.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

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    Emily Love
  • holly dart
    holly dart
  • Marie
  • Strudel
  • BBQGuy
Phyllis Grant is an IACP finalist for Personal Essays/Memoir Writing and a three-time Saveur Food Blog Awards finalist for her blog, Dash and Bella. Her essays and recipes have been published in a dozen anthologies and cookbooks including Best Food Writing 2015 and 2016. Her work has been featured both in print and online for various outlets, including Oprah, The New York Times, Food52, Saveur, The Huffington Post, Time Magazine, The San Francisco Chronicle, Tasting Table and Salon. Her memoir with recipes, Everything Is Out of Control, is coming out April 2020 from Farrar Straus & Giroux. She lives in Berkeley, California with her husband and two children.

22 Reviews

Penny L. October 28, 2018
I loved it! I splurged on European butter, the brown butter flavor was amazing. I appreciate the subtle flavors, and less sweetness than a traditional apple pie. Took one shortcut by using pizza dough for the crust. The only thing I would change would be to pile the apples higher, I only used 3 large granny smiths. My hard-to-please husband is a big fan!
Emily L. January 28, 2017
I make many a galette in the summer with fresh berries so decided to give this one a try. I was a fan of cooking it at a higher temp (I normally do 350 longer) - it gives the crust a good crunch. However I could not taste the brown butter at all! Luckily I had added some cinnamon and nutmeg to the apples but they still had almost no flavor.
sbf-ct February 25, 2016
Any thoughts on whether or not it would work to sneak a small layer of goat cheese in there.. or maybe mix in some crubmled goat cheese? Thinking of using pears & blackberries in lieu of apples (that's what I've got!). Thoughts?
Phyllis G. February 27, 2016
sorry. just saw this! love the idea of a layer of goat cheese. sometimes i mixed it with an egg and a bit of cream to make it more spreadable. or you could just crumble it on. pears and blackberries would be delicious but very juicy. so maybe thinly slice the pears (peeled?), paint them with brown butter mixture, and then toss the blackberries with a bit of sugar and lemon juice and scatter them over the top. let me know how it goes.
holly D. January 25, 2016
i wish my crust had been saltier and filling had been a little sweeter. I love the brown butter flavor. I cut up 4.5 apples and could only fit maybe 2-3 of the apples into the crust! They were big apples. Baked on parchment I slid onto my preheated baking steel- which made the bottom golden and impossibly crispy it was amazing.
Marie March 23, 2015
Looks so delish! I may use condensed coconut milk instead of cream. Great photo and can't wait to try it!!! :0)
Olena March 10, 2015
The best galette I've ever made with apples. I made it with all butter crust noted in the comments and that turned out beautiful! Thank you!
Strudel March 8, 2015
Wish to make late in the afternoon day before I plan to serve..will it last overnight?
Phyllis G. March 8, 2015
absolutely. just make sure to heat it up on a hot sheet pan or pizza stone 10 minutes before serving. that way it won't be soggy.
Asiedua February 18, 2015
Hi, I'm going to try this recipe. Looks scrumptious. I need one clarification though. Can I just slide the parchment on to the pizza stone? When you say remove from oven, that stone would be very hot by then. When you say slide on to the hot surface, is it the stone? I sound stupid but please indulge me. Thx.
degustibus_dan February 18, 2015
That's how I do it, especially with pizza. After 4 minutes or so, slide the parchment out and the crust has direct contact with the stone. Save the parchment as it can be re-used a few times.
Phyllis G. February 18, 2015
Yes. Great question! Take the hot stone out of the oven. Quickly slide the parchment (with the tart on it) onto the pizza stone. When it's cooked, take the pizza stone out of the oven and then slide the parchment (with the tart on it) onto the counter. Sorry that wasn't clear!
Verna May 27, 2015
I thought this recipe had possibilities; then I read your reply saying "take the hot stone out of the oven'' !! Why would you not just slide the parchment onto the hot stone while it is in the oven? And same for removing at the end--just slide the galette off without having to remove the hot stone.
Phyllis G. May 27, 2015
After carefully assembling the delicate tart, i find that It's just too risky to carry the tart on the parchment across the kitchen to the oven. Instead, I find it very easy to remove the stone from the oven, pace it on the counter, and then quickly slide the parchment (with the tart) onto the hot stone. When it's done, you could slide it off the hot stone in the oven, but you might end up with a hot tart on your toes or the floor. So again, I briefly remove the stone from the oven. But do whatever is easiest. i'm always open to ideas that make it risk-free and easy.
Verna May 28, 2015
I use a pizza peel or you could use a rimless cookie sheet.
BBQGuy February 18, 2015
Why not remove the core and slice "vertically"? You might sacrifice some of the look, true..
Phyllis G. February 18, 2015
so true! i keep meaning to get a apple corer. you would sacrifice a lot less apple. but it's true that it wouldn't be as pretty. but that's okay!
PFossil February 4, 2015
I made this beautiful galette last night. It was surprisingly simple to make and delicious, but I felt the fantastic brown butter/vanilla flavor disappeared under the apricot glaze. Have you had that experience? Next time I might opt for a less glossy but more buttery galette.
ellie A. January 29, 2015
looks amazing. how do you make your crust, feel like that is one of the most defining attributes to a real french tarte, what's on the ground..??
Phyllis G. January 30, 2015
i make an all-butter crust. this one is almost identical to the one i make:
Linda C. January 28, 2015
Looks delicious, but reminds me more of a galette than a tart.
Phyllis G. January 30, 2015
totally agree. i think that by definition a galette is a funky rustic free-form tart. sometimes i make this tart in a perfect square and fold the edges over very neatly. depends on my mood!