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French Apple Custard Tart – An Easy Yolk Recipe you HAVE to try!

This is for fans of both the apple tart and the custard tart. Put them both together and what do you get? A French Apple Custard Tart from Alsace, sheer bliss with a touch of grated nutmeg or cinnamon.  It’s so easy to make – especially if you cheat – oh-là-là! – and buy ready-made pastry.

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french apple custard small tart

This post was originally published on 25 October 2015 and is now updated with new photos and more explanatory text.

An Egg Yolk Recipe for Saving Egg Whites!

Ever since I became literally ‘Mad About Macarons’, and was making these confections like some kind of mad woman for friends, dinner parties, our greedy selves and for the books, I found myself hunting down egg yolk recipes.

If you’re a home baker and love making Parisian macarons, financier teacakes, tuiles, and lemon meringue tarts, you’ll know the eggs-act ‘problem’.  What do these recipes have in common? They all need egg whites, not whole eggs.

So, I need recipes that use up just the egg yolks. This one is perfect for my growing egg yolk recipe collection: it uses 4 yolks! It’s a never-ending delicious cycle.

Scouring through my all-time favourite coffee-table book, France the Beautiful Cookbook (1989) by the Scotto Sisters (which is now well and truly covered in splatters and its tattered cover is ripped, bless it), I first made the ‘Tarte aux Pommes à l’Alsacienne’ and loved its scrumptious simplicity.

Over time, I adapted this French Apple Custard Tart by reducing the sugar and alternating between the cinnamon with nutmeg, just like I remember the custard egg tarts I had when I grew up in Scotland.  It’s a real family pleaser for dessert and great at any time of year – I discovered recently that many of you love making this for Thanksgiving too!

Alsacian French Apple Custard Tart Recipe

Tart Pastry Base

This recipe is made easier if you buy ready-prepared sweet pastry dough.

However, I do urge you to make your own sweet classic tart pastry if you have time (I have a quick recipe here). Adding that extra touch of vanilla, nutmeg or cinnamon in the pastry base had even my cinnamon-avoiding husband ask for a THIRD slice – and, as a Frenchman, he’s careful about his dessert intake!

For details on how to make your own homemade tarts and tartlets, I have a whole chapter devoted to making them, with down-to-earth, step-by-step instructions in my French home-baking book, Teatime in Paris.

How To Make Apple Custard Tart

No Need to Blind Bake the Tart’s Pastry

Another reason I love this recipe? Techniques such as blind-baking the pastry beforehand is cleverly replaced by simply laying out the apples and baking them before adding the filling.

The filling couldn’t be simpler: just whisk the whole lot together, pour on top of the apples then bake further until the topping looks beautifully brown and custardy.

I also love adding a good pinch of ground nutmeg either in the pastry base or in the filling – or both! Nutmeg is delicious with our best loved custard tarts I grew up with in Scotland. Personally, nutmeg does the toe-curling for me, giving it that je ne sais quoi to a custard tart with apples. If you prefer cinnamon, then use that (have you tried the Portuguese Pasteis de Nata Custard Tarts, sprinkled with cinnamon on top?).

portuguese custard tart

Easy best recipe for French apple custard tart

Papa Tart, Maman Tarts and Baby Tartlets

The recipe below makes one large tart using a deep 28cm (11 inches) tart tin. It also makes 2x16cm (6.5 inches) tarts with one extra tartlet – handy if you’re giving away one – or even 2 – as a present. Otherwise it makes enough for 8 tartlets.

I use non-stick tart tins and tart rings but if you have regular tins, then grease first with a little butter.

3 french apple custard tarts

French Apple Custard Tart

Adapted from ‘France the Beautiful Cookbook’ by the Scotto Sisters – with added nutmeg and reduced sugar in the filling.
PRINTABLE RECIPE BELOW.

Serves 8

Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Makes one 28cm (11 inch) tart; or 8 tartlets; or 2x 16cm tarts

275g/10oz sweet pastry (with a good pinch ground cinnamon)
2-3 apples (Golden Delicious)
4 organic egg yolks
75g/2.5oz sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
pinch vanilla powder or few drops of vanilla extract
200ml/7 floz double cream/crème fleurette (30% fat)

Egg Yolk Easy Custard Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F (gas 7). Butter a 25cm tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press into the tin. Chill in the fridge.

2. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and remove the cores. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry. Start from the outside and arrange the slices in the form of a flower then make a smaller 2nd layer to fill in the gaps.  Bake for 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk or fork, beat the egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg (or cinnamon), vanilla and cream.  Pour over the apples and bake for about a further 30 minutes (20-25 minutes for tartlets) or until the topping is deliciously custardy with typical brown patches.

 

French apple custard tart

Serving Suggestions

There’s no need for any ice cream or cream; enjoy on its own served warm for the perfect teatime treat, dessert or even breakfast. If you want to decorate, dust with a little icing/confectioner’s sugar, top with grapes or an edible flower.

french apple custard tart

French Apple Custard Tart Recipe

5 from 3 votes
french apple custard small tart recipe card
French Apple Custard Tart
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
1 hr
 

Adapted from 'France the Beautiful Cookbook' by the Scotto Sisters - with reduced sugar in the filling and addition of nutmeg. Makes one large tart, 2 medium tarts or 8 tartlets.

Course: Dessert, teatime
Cuisine: French
Keyword: apple tart, custard tart, egg yolk recipes, French apple tart
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 275 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
  • 275 g (10oz) sweet pastry  with 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2-3 apples (Golden Delicious)
  • 4 medium egg yolks (organic)
  • 75 g (2.5oz) sugar (about 1/3 cup)
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg or cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or few drops extract
  • 200 ml (7floz) double cream/crème fleurette (30% fat) (about 3/4 cup)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°F (gas 7). Butter a 28cm/11" tart tin (no need to butter if using non-stick moulds) or tart ring. Roll out the pastry dough evenly, larger than the tart tin (about 4cm larger) and press well into the tin. Chill in the fridge.

  2. Peel the apples, cut into quarters and core them. Cut each quarter into 4 slices and arrange them evenly over the pastry, starting from the outside and arrange the slices in the form of a flower. Make a second smaller layer to fill in any gaps. Bake for 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, using a hand whisk or fork, beat the egg yolks, sugar, nutmeg (or cinnamon), vanilla and cream.  Pour over the apples and bake for about a further 30 minutes (20-25 minutes for tartlets) or until the top has delicious custardy brown patches.

Recipe Notes

There’s no need for any ice cream or cream; enjoy on its own served warm for the perfect teatime treat, dessert or even breakfast. If you want to decorate, dust with a little icing/confectioner’s sugar, top with grapes or an edible flower.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com

 

French Apple Nougat Tart

Some of you saw a few photos of this French Apple Nougat Tart recently. A promise is a promise, as I said I’d post the recipe on le blog, didn’t I? So, voilà – here it is, even if a bit later than I was hoping! I didn’t have my kitchen for a couple of weeks as it was getting a few licks of paint – and I finally have a new oven!

Now this makes three apple dessert recipes in a row here but we can never have too many apple desserts, can we? Besides, I need to keep making tarts to help extinguish that lingering odour of fresh paint.

French apple almond walnut tart

Apples with Almonds

Like the previous Quick Apple Tart recipe, it pairs almonds with apples and, while I used ground almonds in the base with a splash of Calvados, this tart uses slivered almonds as a crunchy nougat topping with just sugar and egg whites.

On another occasion, I tried to camouflage apple nougat tart leftovers next day for goûter in the hope I’d get the rest all to myself. Och! It’s always better to share.

French Apple Nougat Tart Slices

I discovered the recipe for Apple Nougat Tart in Jacquy Pfeiffer’s cookbook, The Art of French Pastry. If any of you have seen the 2010 video on The Kings of Pastry (this link is a trailer), he’s the prime subject and I thoroughly recommend you watch it. Hailing from Alsace, this outstanding pastry chef co-founded the French Pastry School in Chicago.

French Apple Nougat Tart

Sweet Pastry Recipe

The chef’s sweet tart base is prepared the day before. Shame on me but, instead of waiting 24 hours, I adapted the Sweet Tart base recipe in Teatime in Paris (there’s a whole chapter on Tarts in the book) by replacing some of the flour with ground almonds (almond flour). The result worked really well and so I’ve posted this alternative pastry base recipe below.

As in Teatime in Paris, the method of making the tart base is all explained, step-by-step using a tart pan or a tart ring.

Best Tart Apples for Making Tarts

The chef’s secret to preparing the apples for this French Nougat Tart is to cook the apple chunks on a high heat in butter quickly until the apples are seared, then cool them off on baking paper. It’s a cracker of a pastry tip for making this. Braeburn apples are good for this; so are a mixture of Pink Lady and Granny Smith.

However, lately I’ve been experimenting without using lemon juice with apples.  If you peel, core and chop your apples quickly enough and immediately throw them into a hot pan, there is no need to go through soaking them in lemon juice.  Good news if you’re in a hurry.

Apple Nougat Tart Topping

The recipe calls for just slivered almonds for the topping but I also experimented using a mixture of sliced almonds, fresh walnuts, hazelnuts and pecans too.  The result is deliciously fabulous.

However, in my humble and honest opinion, there’s nothing to beat the original recipe using just almonds to let the apples shine through. Chef Pfeiffer adds a touch of cinnamon to the topping, although I like it also without, sticking with the vanilla. It’s all a matter of personal taste, bien sûr.

This year we’re seeing Christmas figurines from the Nutcracker all around Paris.  I particularly love seeing them at each entrance to the Tuileries Gardens.

Inspired by chestnuts around Paris, add a few marron glacés (candied chestnuts) on top to complete a Parisian Christmas touch.

I love this tart on its own but serve with vanilla ice cream,

French Apple Nutcracker Tart

French Apple Nougat Tart Recipe

5 from 6 votes
French-Apple-Almond-Walnut-Tart
French Apple Nougat Tart
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
50 mins
Resting Time
1 hr
Total Time
2 hrs 15 mins
 

A delicious sweet tart with apple chunks in vanilla and topped with a crunchy almond nougat, inspired by French pastry chef, Jacquy Pfeiffer. Sweet pastry dough from 'Teatime in Paris'.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: French
Keyword: apple almond tart, apple nougat tart, apple tart
Servings: 8 people
Calories: 338 kcal
Author: Jill Colonna
Ingredients
Sweet Pastry
  • 125 g (4.5oz) unsalted butter softened
  • 75 g (2.75oz) icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt (fleur de sel)
  • 1 medium egg (organic)
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder or extract
  • 200 g (7oz) plain, all-purpose flour (type 45)
  • 50 g (1.75oz) ground almonds (almond flour)
Apple Filling
  • 3 Organic apples (Braeburn, Pink Lady, Granny Smith) peeled & cored
  • 30 g (1oz) butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla powder (or 1 3/4 tsp extract)
  • 2 tbsp cane sugar (or Turbinado)
Nougat Topping
  • 55 g (2oz) organic egg whites
  • 55 g (2oz) sugar
  • 55 g (2oz) slivered almonds (or mix of sliced almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts)
Instructions
Sweet Pastry Base
  1. For more complete instructions, follow the recipe on pages 106-109 in my book, 'Teatime in Paris'. Mix the butter and sugar in a stand mixer until creamy. Add salt then other ingredients until just mixed, then stop. Form the dough into a ball, wrap in cling film or in a bag and chill in the fridge for at least an hour.

  2. Take the pastry out of the fridge. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/360°F/Gas4. Roll out the pastry on a very lightly floured surface to 4mm thickness. Press into the pastry ring or pan. Roll over the rolling pin on top to trim then push the pastry again into the ring to ensure it's straight against the sides. Set aside the remaining pastry, returning it to the fridge or freeze for making another tart.

  3. Blind bake the pastry by topping with parchment paper and fill with baking beans, washed coins, rice or dried beans. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes, then set aside to cool on a wire rack, removing the baking beans.

Apple Filling
  1. Prepare a sheet of parchment paper on the side.

    Heat a large frying pan over high heat and add the butter. Meanwhile, chop the apples into large dice (cut them quickly and there's no need to use lemon juice). When the butter is golden, fry the apples in sugar and vanilla for at least 5 minutes until seared a golden brown on one side. Turn the apples, cooking on high still for another 2 minutes then transfer to the parchment to cool.

Nougat Topping
  1. In a bowl, whisk the egg whites with a fork until loosened up then stir in the sugar and sliced (or other chopped) nuts.

  2. Evenly spread the cooled apples into the pastry base and top with the nougat. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

Recipe Notes

Best served on the day but can be kept refrigerated until next day. Also freezes well (double wrap).
Serve with vanilla ice cream, a dollop of crème fraîche or chestnut ice cream.

Jill Colonna

MadAboutMacarons.com