If you don’t have much time to spare but just NEED a slice of apple tart, then look no further. This French custard apple tart is easy to prepare, tastes fantastic with its creamy base and you can use whatever apples you have! Dice them up, and top them off with your egg mixture. As simple as that!
I initially had my heart set on making a traditional French apple tart. You know, the one with the apples beautifully arranged in a perfect circular layout. But after two exhausting attempts and a lot of frustration, I realized this probably wouldn’t be the best tart to start with. Slicing the apples to the perfect thickness then figuring out how to place them on the tart can be quite time consuming.
So I looked for another apple tart taught in French pastry schools and found the “Tarte Normande” and “Tarte Alsacienne”. The Tarte Normande contains Calvados, an apple brandy originating from the region of Normandy, France. Since my kids are the first ones to get to my desserts, I did not want to use alcohol.
As for the Tarte Alsacienne, the apples are layered in a specific, orderly way which I wanted to forego for speed and ease. I also felt like the original recipes weren’t sweet enough (sweet tooth alert!) so I increased the amount of sugar. The recipe I have for you today is actually a cross between these two tarts, with some tweaks. I hope you enjoy it!
Custard Apple Tart Ingredients
You will need a 23cm (9 inch) unbaked tart crust (I used pâte brisée sucrée). We will prebake the tart before adding the filling. It is possible to fill the unbaked tart shell immediately and bake for longer but I personally haven’t had success with this method in my oven. My tart crust always feels uncooked and soggy.
- 2 large eggs: Mine weighed 112 g when I cracked them both into a bowl. If you aren’t using large eggs, you can use this weight as a guideline.
- 80 g sugar
- 100 g milk
- 100 g heavy cream
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
I used 2 apples to fill a 23cm tart. Since you are cutting the apple in small pieces, you don’t have to worry about the surface of the apple being perfect. Just cut off the parts that don’t look great.
You can also use other fruits instead if you would like such as pears or apricots.
Making The Custard Apple Tart
Partially baking the tart
- Preheat your oven to 200°C (392°F) for at least 10 minutes (depending on your oven) before preparing the ingredients.
- If using a removable bottom tart pan, it is better to place it on a baking sheet for ease of transfer. If you place the tart directly in the oven with no support, you run the risk of moving the bottom of the pan and tearing your tart. I like to place a parchment paper on the baking sheet to avoid scratching it.
- Cover your tart shell with parchment paper and put weights on top. I use chick peas.
- Partially bake the tart: Bake in the lower third of the oven for 15 minutes.
Making the custard base
- In the meantime, whisk together the eggs and sugar just until combined. It shouldn’t take long. You don’t need to lighten the mixture.
- Add the milk, heavy cream and vanilla extract, slightly whisking between each addition.
Preparing the apples
- Peel and core the apples.
- Dice the apples into small pieces. If making tartlets, the pieces should be very small.
Assembling the tart
- Once your tart is partially baked, carefully remove the weights and parchment paper and fill the tart shell with the apple pieces.
- Pour the egg mixture gently into your tart shell. If the mixture seems to have some particles floating around, sieve it first before pouring it into the tart. I think this happened to me because I was taking pictures and not whisking immediately but I thought I’d mention it in case it happens to you too. You can use a ladle if you find it easier than pouring from the bowl. Don’t fill it to the top to avoid leakage. The custard will also puff up a little during baking.
- You might have some egg mixture left over. Don’t throw it away! You can fill a small ramekin and bake it with the tart. Don’t tell anyone about it so you can eat it yourself!
Baking the custard apple tart
- Bake for about 25-30 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready when the custard has puffed up slightly and looks set. A knife or toothpick inserted into the tart will come out clean.
- Let it cool at room temperature on a wire rack and sift icing sugar over the tart before serving. If I’m being honest, the sugar never lasts long on my desserts. It immediately melts into them. I’ve tried it on lemon bars, tarts. I’m wondering if it’s the type of sugar I have as others seem to have more success with it. They at least have time to take the picture with the sugar! I had looked it up online and found out there was something similar to icing sugar called “snow sugar” that didn’t dissolve. I have never tried it and probably won’t find it at the supermarket.
The most common oven temperature I found while looking for recipes was 180°C (356°F). Partially bake the tart for 15 minutes at 180°C (conventional setting in the lower third of the oven) and then bake the filled tart for about 30 minutes. I personally have not used this temperature but chose a higher one. Filled tarts don’t fare well in my oven at low temperatures. They remain uncooked and the crust becomes soggy. I have to either use the fan or increase the temperature.
So I prebaked my tart shell at 200°C for 15 minutes and then baked the filled tart for 35 minutes. I wanted the apples to look a bit brown but I never really got to that stage. Next time I think I’ll move the tart to the middle shelf during the last 10 minutes to try getting the “slightly burnt apple” look!
I wanted to sprinkle some sugar on top and put it under the oven broiler for a few minutes but I wasn’t sure my tart mold could withstand so much heat. I ended up using a blowtorch but it was quite useless. It didn’t brown more and the powdered sugar didn’t caramelize. The small ramekin I had filled did brown nicely though in the oven.
Serving A Custard Apple Tart
Let it cool at room temperature on a wire rack, before unmolding. Do not try to cut the custard apple tart as soon as it is out of the oven so it doesn’t fall apart. Even after waiting, I was so worried I wouldn’t be able to cut a slice but it was a success! My son even ate it with his hands! Woohoo! Happy dance! I hope it works out just as well for you!
You can serve it with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream although I find it quite tasty and rich on its own. I would not recommend eating it cold. If refrigerated, bring it to room temperature or warm it up slightly.
This tart can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days although it is best served on the day it is made.
In case you missed it, head over to the tart baking calendar.