This apple tart recipe is made with a delicious gingersnap crust and a gorgeous apple rose in the middle. It is baked to perfection and brushed with a simple honey butter reduction. It is perfect for a holiday gathering.
Have no fear, this apple tart may look fancy, but it is really easy to make. It just takes a little time. If you are looking for more easy holiday desserts these soft gingerbread cookies or these chocolate chai cheesecake bars.
Simple Apple Tart Recipe
Yes, we mentioned above that this apple tart is made with a gingersnap crust rather than a traditional pie crust made of pastry dough (like other apple tarts). We love the simplicity of the gingersnap crust and the big flavor and extra bit it gives this delicious tart.
We recognize that this tart recipe looks a bit complicated, but you will surprise yourself when you make a gorgeous tart and serve it to your family.
Other reasons to make this easy apple tart.
- Its not your average apple pie.
- This tart is made up of thin apple slices and a ginger crust to die for.
- The ingredients for this apple tart are ingredients that you probably have in your pantry right now.
- It is a great recipe to take to a party to impress your friends and family.
Ingredients You Need
- Honey crisp apples- we combined a sweet apple like an apple crisp with a tart apple.
- Granny smith apples– the tart apple we use in this recipe are the classic granny smith.
- Ginger snaps– buy a box of your favorite gingersnaps and they will be a part of the dry rub that you toss with the apples and the main ingredient in the ginger snap crust.
- Brown sugar- both the apple pie filling and the crust have brown sugar.
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg)- the spices that you coat your apples with are classic warming spices that are the perfect combination of cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg. You can also use one teaspoon of our pumpkin pie spice if you have it on hand instead).
- Salt- there is both table salt and kosher salt in this recipe. It draws out the moisture from the apple slices and brings out all of the flavor in the apple tart itself.
- Cold unsalted butter- be sure the butter for the crust is cold and then you will also need butter for the orange juice reduction.
- Orange juice- you only use a little bit of orange juice to create a sweet butter reduction.
- Water- this thins out your reduction rather than using more orange juice. It’s sweet enough as it is.
- Apple juices (be sure you save these!)- you get all the flavors from the apples, spices, and other tasty ingredients from the apples.
- Honey- the honey both gives this apple crisp both a shiny glaze and a bit of natural sweetness.
Don’t have orange juice? Use lemon juice, it will give you more of a tart flavor rather than the sweet that comes from the orange juice.
Don’t have honey? Many people skip the reduction all together and use jams or preserves. Apricot jam or apricot preserves are a great option. They are sweet, sticky, and have just a hint of flavor.
Tools You Need
Kitchen mandolin– the most important tool for this recipe (in my our opinion) is a mandolin. It is the easiest way to get exactly the same thickness for every single apple slice.
9-inch tart pan– we have this tart pan and prefer the scalloped edges. If you have a 9 inch pan with no scallops, thats ok.
Be aware that some tarts pans have a removable bottom, so be sure to grab the sides of the plate rather than placing your hand on the bottom. You may end up with a mess.
Small saucepan– the small sauce pan is used to make the reduction that will be brushed on to the top of the tart.
Pastry brush- whether you use a pastry brush or a new small paint brush, it is so helpful to have a brush rather than pouring the sauce over the tart. You will end up with puddles of reduction.
Food processor– you will have to process the ginger snaps and butter together to create the base of your tart. Be sure you have a big enough food processor.
How to Make a Simple Apple Tart
- Slice the apples. The first thing you have to do for this apple tart is slice your apples. The tricky part is that you want all of your apple slices to be basically the same thickness. Of course you can try to do it with a sharp knife, but using a mandolin will make your life a heck of a lot easier. You want to slice the apple slices thin enough that they will bend but thick enough that they won’t dissolve while sitting or baking.
- Draw moisture out of the apples. Once the apple slices are ready, place them in a bowl and sprinkle the apples with all the spices (don’t forget the salt) and ground ginger snaps. We use ground ginger snaps instead of all purpose flour here.
- Make your crust. Place the ginger snaps into a high powered food processor and process until the ginger snaps begin to look like bread crumps. Add the cold butter to the food processor in cold chunks and pulse until a crumble forms.
- Bake the crust. Add the ginger snap mixture to a greased tart pan and then use your hands to press the crumble into the pan. Use your hands to make sure the ginger snap crumble lines the sides of the pan. We use a measuring cup to add pressure to both the bottom of the crust as well as the sides. Carefully place the tart in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it cool for 10-15 minutes.
- Simmer a reduction. Carefully pour your apples into a strainer and catch the apple drippings. Place the apple drippings in a saucepan and add the other ingredients for the reduction to the saucepan and heat over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Remove from the heat.
- Build your gorgeous apple rose. Now it’s time to build. Your apple filling for this tart is going to be in the shape of a beautiful rose to do this takes a little time, but it’s quite relaxing. Create the apple tart rose by lining the gingersnap crust with the spiced apple slices. Place the apples skin side up around the edge of the tart so they overlap lap each other until one row of apples is complete. Continue to layer the apples working towards the center of the tart.
- Bake the tart. Brush the top of the tart with the reduction using a pastry brush. You will use some of the reduction now and some later. Bake the tart for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
- Brush the top of the tart. Brush the tart one more time and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Let it set. Remove the tart from the oven and let it cool for at least 1-2 hours. Enjoy.
The Key to a Beautiful Rose
Making a gorgeous rose shape in the middle of your apple tart is beautiful and actually pretty simple. It just take a little time which can be very meditative and fun. Below are some tips and tricks to make a beautiful apple tart.
Uniform apple slices. To make a beautiful and uniform rose be sure that your apple slices are sliced to about the same thickness.
Set aside broken apples. Save broken apple slices for the end to fill in holes within your apple rose.
Take your time. Take your time as you line the apple tart with the apple slices, row by row.
Set apples aside for the middle. The middle of the apple rose is key to making the apple tart look like a rose. Line 3-4 slices of apple up in a line, overlapping at each end of the apple and roll the slices of apple into a beautiful apple twist. Set the apple twist aside. You will place this into the middle of the apple tart at the end.
Add more apples. If you run out of apples before your tart is finished slice more apples and sprinkle them with cinnamon and let them sit for a few minutes. Then finish your tart.
This apple tart is delicious on it’s own but you can bring it up a notch by serving it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Sometimes it’s fun to add a little crunch by topping the whipped cream and ice cream with chopped walnuts or pecans.
Don’t have time to make a gingersnap crust? Despise ginger snaps? You can use any of the crust ideas below instead of the gingersnap crust.
– Use a store bought refrigerated pie crust
– Feel free to substitute graham crackers for the ginger snaps
– Get creative and do the crust your own way!
Yes, you can freeze this apple tart. I’d freeze this apple tart unbaked. Create the apple rose and then cover the tart with plastic wrap. Freeze the tart for up to 3 months and then bake it from frozen.
Store this apple tart covered and in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. It tends to get a little soggy after that.
- 2 tablespoons orange juice
- 1 tablespoon water
- Drippings from apples 1-2 tablespoons
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon butter
- Place all of the ingredients for the apple filling into a large bowl. Carefully fold the ingredients together so that the apples are covered in sugar and spices. Be careful that you do not break the apples apart.
- Set apples aside and let them sit for 30 minutes to release liquid from the apples.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and spray a 9-inch tart pan (we used this pan) with non-stick cooking spray.
- Prepare the gingersnap crust and place the ginger snaps in a food processor and process until they turn into crumbs. Add the brown sugar, cold butter, and kosher salt to the food processor and pulse the ingredients together until the mixture turns into a crumbly consistency.
- Pour the gingersnap crumble into the greased tart pan and carefully press the crumble into the bottom of the tart pan and then up the sides. Using the bottom of a measuring cup to press the bottom of the crust works great.
- Place the crust into the oven and bake for 5 minutes.
- Remove the crust from the oven and let it cool.
- Meanwhile, place a strainer over a saucepan and then pour the apple mixture into the strainer, using a spatula to scrape all the liquid into the bowl.
- Let any excess liquid from the apples drain into the saucepan. Move the apples around gently allowing them to release any other liquid.
- Set the apples aside and scrape as much of the excess spices and liquid from the stainer into the saucepan.
- Place the saucepan on the stove top and add the orange juice, water, and honey to the saucepan with the apple drippings and whisk all the ingredients together.
- Bring the mixture to a boil over medium/high heat and then let it simmer for 3-4 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and add 1 tablespoon of butter. Whisk until the butter is melted and then cover the saucepan to keep the mixture cool.
- Create the apple tart rose by lining the gingersnap crust with the spiced apple slices. Place the apples skin side up around the edge of the tart so they overlap lap each other until one row of apples is complete.
- Repeat step 14 until and continue to overlap apples rows that move to the center of the tart pan. When you get to the middle, roll three apple slices together and place them in the center of the tart creating a rose shaped center.*
- Fill any hole in the tart with pieces of apple that may have been broken.
- Brush the top of the tart with the orange juice reduction using a pastry brush.
- Place the tart in the oven for 30 minutes at 350ºF.
- REmove from the oven and paint the tart with the remaining orange juice reduction and place the tart back into the oven and bake for an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and let the tart cool for 1-2 hours to set.
- Serve with ice cream or cool whip.