Dessert/ polish/ sweet tarts

Apple tart with meringue topping

13 November 2019 | Last Updated: 15 November 2019

A delicious apple pie is the essence of the fall. But have you tried topping your pie with meringue? This apple tart (or pie! this can be easily made in a pie dish) with meringue topping is so amazing! It’s a pastry crust filled with sauteed apples, that are flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, then topped with meringue, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Apple tart with meringue topping on a plate

INGREDIENTS + SUBSTITUTIONS:

  • Pastry crust – this is pretty standard pastry crust, with the exception that it uses 4 egg yolks. 4 egg whites will be needed for the meringue.
  • Apple filling – the apples are sauteed with vanilla extract, lemon juice, and cinnamon. I sauteed the apples to ensure that the pastry crust is baked through (I hate soggy pastry crust) and to enhance the apple flavor (more apples will fit in the pastry crust since the water has evaporated and the apples have reduced their volume).
    What kind of apples are best: some say that the best apple variety for apple pie is sour apple variety like Granny smith but honestly I like my apple pie also with sweet apples. When using sweet apples you just need to add more lemon juice (the apple filling should be slightly sour to contrast the sweetness of the meringue). When using very sour apples add more sugar. You can also use both types of apples, sweet and sour variety, to balance both flavors.
    Which apple variety is best: it’s best to use apples that are suitable for baking that have a firm flesh – like Golden Delicious, Gala, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathan. Soft apple varieties will turn into applesauce. Best apples for baking according to Cook’s Illustrated.
  • Meringue – I love it when the meringue is crunchy, at least on top. No chewy meringue for me! To achieve that I’m baking this tart with the fan function on, which dries out the meringue. If you do not wish to top your apple tart with meringue you can just skip it and top the tart with more shortcrust pastry. I would then omit the egg yolks in the pastry crust and increase its amount by 1/2. This tart would be then vegan.
overhead shot on apple tart with meringue topping on a plate and a fork

HOW TO MAKE APPLE TART STEP BY STEP:

pastry crust preparation steps

Start with making the pastry crust:

STEP 1: Add all the ingredients for the pastry except the water into the mixing bowl (1.5 cups flour (6.7oz/190g) flour, pinch of salt, 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar (0.9oz/25g) sugar, 4 large egg yolks, 1/2 cup butter (4oz/115g) cold diced butter).

STEP 2: Mix at the lowest speed using a paddle-shaped attachment, until large lumps are formed (they can be of different sizes, 0.5-1.5 cm / ¼- ½ inch). Add cold water (about 1 tablespoon or a little more) and mix until a smooth dough is formed (be careful not to overmix it). You can add a little more water if the dough is too dry and does not come together.

STEP 3: Flatten the dough, wrap in plastic foil and put in the fridge for 1 hour.

apple filling preparation steps

Next, make the apple filling:

STEP 4: Peel 4.4 lbs (2kg) apples, cut them into quarters, core the quarters, cut each quarter into slices.

STEP 5: Heat the 1 tablespoon of butter in a large frying pan, then add 5 tablespoons light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Cook for a minute (the liquid should evaporate a little, especially if you have added more lemon juice as in the recipe).

STEP 6: Add the sliced apples and cook, stirring from time to time, until tender. It took me about 20 minutes. Cooking time will depend on the apple variety. It’s important that the apples are not watery!

STEP 7: Let the apples cool down.

meringue preparation steps

Meringue preparation steps: the meringue should be prepared just before popping the tart into the oven. I wanted to show you assemble steps in one photo (pastry crust – the apples – meringue, see below) so that the layers are more clear, but I’m preparing the meringue after I rolled out the dough. How to make meringue: I’m using basic meringue egg whites to sugar ratio 1:1, so you need to weigh your egg whites. If you don’t have an electric scale you can just assume that 1 large egg white weighs about 1.4oz/40g, so for 4 large egg whites you’ll need 5.6oz/160g superfine sugar, which is 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp. It’s better to add a little more sugar than too little. I recommend using superfine sugar (caster sugar) to make the meringue (but it will work with both types). This is the same sugar like granulated sugar but it is more finely ground, which makes it easier to dissolve in the egg whites.

STEP 8: Add 4 large egg whites and a pinch of salt into a clean and dry metal or glass bowl.

STEP 9: Beat at high speed until the soft peaks are formed – the meringue will be fluffy and if you lift the beater upwards, peaks will form, but they will move sideways when moving the beater. At this stage, we add the sugar, spoon by spoon, waiting for a while after each addition, until it’s combined with the egg whites, mixing all the time at high speed.

STEP 10: When all the sugar has been added, mix the meringue for another minute.

STEP 11: The meringue should be very thick and glossy. If you’ve used granulated sugar, take a small amount of the meringue and rub it between your fingers. You shouldn’t feel the sugar grains.

apple tart assembling steps

Assemble the tart:

STEP 12: Roll out the dough and transfer to 11-inch/27-28cm tart pan or pie dish or springform pan. Prick the dough with a fork.

STEP 13: Add cooled or just slightly warm apples into the dish

STEP 14: Spread the meringue over the apples, smooth the surface.

BAKE in a 320°F/160°C oven with fan function for 50-60 minutes. The meringue should be crispy on top and soft on the inside, the pastry crust fully baked.

STORAGE AND FREEZING TIPS:

Store the tart in a tightly-closed container or wrapped in plastic foil. It will last 2-3 days but after a couple of hours the meringue won’t be crunchy on top anymore. This apple tart tastes best slightly warm.
Freezing is possible but the tart won’t taste very good – it will be soft, including the pastry and the meringue. It won’t be bad but it also won’t be amazing.

MAKE AHEAD:

If you want to make this tart ahead you can make the pastry crust and the apple filling ahead. Store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. On the day of baking just roll out the dough, fill with the apple filling, make the meringue and bake. It’s important that the meringue is made just before baking.

HOW TO SERVE:

I think this apple tart is pretty good on its own, but vanilla ice cream on the side won’t hurt for sure!

OTHER APPLE RECIPES YOU MAY LIKE (apples are great in sweet and also savory dishes!):

close up shot on a piece of Apple tart with meringue topping on a plate

Apple tart with meringue topping

Pastry crust filled with sauteed apples, that are flavored with vanilla and cinnamon, then topped with meringue, which is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. It can be made either in a 11-inch/27-28cm tart pan or pie dish or springform pan. To make this tart you’ll need a fan oven (convection oven) or a traditional oven with fan function (fan assisted oven).
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 2 hours
Servings 8 servings
Calories 416kcal
Author Aleksandra

Ingredients

shortcrust pastry:

  • 1.5 cups flour 6.7oz/190g, scoop and leveled
  • 1/2 cup butter 4oz/115g
  • 3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar 0.9oz/25g
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1 tbsp cold water or more if needed

apples:

  • 4.4 lbs apples 2kg, about 11 big apples
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

meringue:

  • 4 large egg whites 5oz/140g
  • 3/4 cup superfine sugar 5.3oz/150g, or a little more than the weight of the egg whites!
  • pinch of salt

Instructions

pastry crust:

  • Separate the eggs into egg yolks and egg whites. Egg yolks will be needed for the shortcrust pastry and the egg whites for the meringue. Weight the egg whites – we add sugar based on their weight (as much sugar as egg whites). Place the egg whites in a clean and dry bowl and place the bowl in the fridge (we’ll be making the meringue at the end).
  • Making the dough by hand: stir the flour with confectioner's sugar and salt. Add the cold diced butter and egg yolks. Rub the butter into the flour mixture with your fingertips until it resembles a pea-sized crumble (crumble can be of different sizes), add cold water, knead quickly until dough forms a smooth ball (be careful not to over mix it). You can add a little more water if the dough is too dry and does not come together.
  • If you‘re using a stand mixer (my favorite way): add all the ingredients for the pastry except the water into the mixing bowl (flour, salt, sugar, egg yolks, cold diced butter). Mix at the lowest speed using a paddle-shaped attachment, until large lumps are formed (they can be of different sizes, 0.5-1.5 cm / ¼- ½ inch). Add cold water and mix until a smooth dough is formed (be careful not to overmix it). You can add a little more water if the dough is too dry and does not come together.
  • In the food processor: add all the ingredients (without the water) to the food processor bowl. Pulse 2-3 times until the butter pieces are the size of large peas (they can be of different sizes). Add the cold water and pulse until the dough begins to come together (be careful not to over-mix it). Transfer the dough pieces onto a work surface, and gather them with your hands, forming a dough ball. You can add a little more water if the dough is too dry and does not come together.
  • All methods: flatten the dough, wrap in plastic foil and put in the fridge for 1 hour.
  • After putting the dough in the fridge, start making the apple filling.

the apples:

  • Peel the apples, cut them into quarters, core the quarters, cut each quarter into slices.
  • Heat the butter in a large frying pan, then add sugar, lemon juice, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Cook for a minute (the liquid should evaporate a little, especially if you have added more lemon juice as in the recipe).
  • Add the sliced apples and cook, stirring from time to time, until tender. It took me about 20 minutes (read more in the notes). It’s important that the apples are not watery!
  • Let the apples cool down.

assemble:

  • Take the dough out of the fridge, place it on a sheet of baking paper and cover with a piece of plastic foil. Roll out into a circle larger than the diameter of the tart pan (with at least 2-inch / 5 cm rim).
  • Transfer the rolled out dough, along with the baking paper into the pan (I used a springform pan, but if you have a tart pan or pie dish you can just grease it with butter and place the dough without the baking paper in the dish. Sprinkle the dough generously with flour, while rolling it out). Prick the bottom of the dough several times with a fork.
  • Add cooled or just slightly warm apples into the dish (it would be better if they were cooled).
  • Put the tart pan in the fridge.
  • To make this tart you'll need a fan oven (convection oven) or a traditional oven with fan function (fan assisted oven). Preheat it to 320°F/160°C. The fan is necessary, it will dry out the meringue, thanks to which its surface with be crunchy and not chewy. It will also ensure that the bottom is cooked through.
  • Next, we will be making the meringue.

meringue:

  • Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and beat at high speed until the soft peaks are formed – the meringue will be fluffy and if you lift the beater upwards, peaks will form, but they will move sideways when moving the beater.
  • At this stage, we add the sugar, spoon by spoon, waiting for a while after each addition, until it’s combined with the egg whites, mixing all the time at high speed.
  • When all the sugar has been added, mix the meringue for another minute. It should be very thick and glossy. If you’ve used granulated sugar, take a small amount of the meringue and rub it between your fingers. You shouldn’t feel the sugar grains.
  • Spread the meringue over the apples, smooth the surface.

bake:

  • Put the apple tart in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes. The meringue should be crispy on top and soft on the inside, the pastry crust fully baked. If the meringue is not crispy on top, you can extend the baking even more by 10 minutes if it doesn't brown too much, or even reduce the temperature to 210°F/100°C to dry out the meringue, if you wish.
  • Set aside for a while to let the apples cool a bit and cut into pieces.
  • Enjoy!

Notes

  • Which apple variety is best: Sour and sweet apple variety will work. When using sweet apples you just need to add more lemon juice (the apple filling should be slightly sour to contrast the sweetness of the meringue). When using very sour apples add more sugar or adjust the sweetness levels to your liking!
  • How long to cook the apples: cooking time depends on apple variety – apples that have rather soft flesh will cook quicker compared to firm flesh apples. It will also depend on how soft you like your apples. I prefer rather crunchy apples with this apple tart, but if you prefer softer apples it will also work, just cook them longer. If you want very soft apples you may need to add more apples – they reduce their volume more and it may be not enough of them to fill the pastry crust. Cooking time depends also on the pan – I found that the apples cook and brown much faster in my black enameled frying pan in comparison to my stainless steel pan. If your apples are just stewing and the water evaporates very slowly, divide the apples between two pans (or a pan and a pot) to cook them faster. If would be better if the apples brown a bit – it will improve their flavor.
  • Which apple variety is best: it’s best to use apples that are suitable for baking that have a firm flesh – like Golden Delicious, Gala, Fuji, Granny Smith, Jonagold, Jonathan. Soft apple varieties will turn into applesauce.
  • Storing and freezing: Store the tart in a tightly-closed container or wrapped in plastic foil. It will last 2-3 days but after a couple of hours the meringue won’t be crunchy on top anymore. This apple tart tastes best slightly warm. Freezing is possible but the tart won’t taste very good – it will be soft, including the pastry and the meringue.
  • Make ahead: If you want to make this tart ahead you can make the pastry crust and the apple filling. Store them in the fridge for up to 2 days. On the day of baking just roll out the dough, fill with the apple filling, make the meringue and bake. It’s important that the meringue is made just before baking.
  • 1 cup of flour (240ml) is 125g, 1 cup of sugar is 200g.

Nutrition

Calories: 416kcal
Course Dessert
Cuisine international
Keyword apple meringue pie, apple meringue tart, apple tart, apple tart recipe

Did you make this recipe? Let me know how you liked it and give it a star rating in the comments below! You can also add a photo of your creation!

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