Perfect fall handheld treats with pecan buttery crumble and juicy spiced apple filling. These cute apple crumble tartlets are a decadent dessert or amazing to be enjoyed with your morning tea or coffee!
We can no longer rely on pumpkin spice lattes to tell us when the fall season has begun. It is fall when apple recipes are flooding your timeline! Which is why I couldn't wait any longer to share these delectable apple tartlets with you!
On top of perfectly sweet shortbread crust is cinnamon tart apples and a crunchy crumble topping with chopped pecans. The best part? They are handheld desserts! They can be on your dining table when your family comes over or at a dessert table at a party and people can just grab and go. They are like mini apple pies!
Apples: You will need 4 honey crisp apples for these tartlets. You can also substitute with granny smith or pink lady apples, but do not use gala apples! Certain varieties of apples are better than others when it comes to baking to hold their shape & not become mush. Ensure the apple slices are thinly and evenly sliced for even cooking.
Sugar: ½ cup of granulated white sugar is the perfect amount of sweetness for the apple filling.
Lemon juice: 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice is added to the filling for acidity and brightness.
Flour: You will need 1 tablespoon of all purpose plain flour in the filling as a thickening agent.
Spice: 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon is added for spice! For extra spice, add ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves.
Flour: 1 ½ cups of all purpose flour is used in the pastry crust.
Powdered sugar: You will need ⅓ cup of icing sugar. Powdered sugar yields a more tender crust than granulated sugar, producing a really melt-in-your-mouth crust.
Kosher salt: Adding salt in dough makes it more elastic. Only ¼ teaspoon of kosher salt is needed.
Butter: You will need ½ cup of unsalted butter for this recipe. I use frozen butter. Keeping the butter as cold as possible in the dough mixture makes it more flaky. It separates the butter into layers rather than melting it into the dough. So I shred a frozen butter stick for this pastry dough. My favorite butter is Kerrygold.
Egg: You will only need the egg yolk of 1 egg for the pastry shells. This makes the dough extra rich in taste.
Heavy cream: This recipe calls for 2 teaspoons of heavy cream. It makes the dough extra rich and bind together.
Vanilla extract: ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract for flavor. After all, vanilla makes everything that much better!
Flour: You will need 1 cup of all purpose flour for the crumble mixture.
Brown sugar: The crumble calls for ⅓ cup of dark brown sugar. This gives the topping more of a molasses taste.
Sugar: In addition to the brown sugar, you will need ⅓ cup of white granulated sugar.
Butter: ½ cup of butter is needed for the crumble. Unlike the crust in which you want cold butter, you will want room temperature butter here.
Kosher salt: Just ½ teaspoon of kosher salt to intensify the other flavors.
Pecans: My favorite part of this crumble! Buttery nuts with the perfect amount of crunch. You will need ½ cup of finely chopped pecans. Nuts are usually a lot cheaper when you buy them in bulk, so I suggest to purchase a bulk bag of pecans and use them all throughout the season to make recipes like sweet potato crostini with candied pecans or pecan pie old fashioned!
Cinnamon: 1 whole teaspoon of cinnamon for the crumble. We want all the spice in these apple tarts!
Demerara sugar: Don't skimp here! I love the texture demerara sugar adds to desserts. Sprinkle on top of each tart, as much as your heart desires!
Find the full ingredient measurements and instructions in the recipe card below!
variations & substitutions 📖
Try different nuts in the crumble mixture. Don't like pecans? Try walnuts or hazelnuts! Each variety will add different flavors and texture.
The honey crisp apples can be substituted with any cooking apples. Try granny smith apples or pink lady! Granny smiths will have more of a tart flavor and pink lady apples will be more mild than honey crisp.
tips & tricks 👩🏻🍳
Use the right tartlet pan & grease it! My favorite tart tin is one with a removable bottom and a wide fluted edge, like this tart pan. This makes it super simple and easy to remove the tart shell from the pan. Also, don't forget to grease the pan. To ensure no sticking, grease the pan with melted butter or non-stick baking spray. If you want to triple ensure that your tartlet does not stick, line the bottom of each tartlet pan with mini parchment papers, this will make the pastry bases remove extra easily.
If you don't feel like making the crust by hand, you can also use a large food processor. Simply add the flour, icing sugar, salt, butter in the food processor and pulse until its a pea coarse crumble. Then add the egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla until mixture slightly comes together. The mixture should hold when pinched but not form a ball. Then turn onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until dough forms a ball.
If you prefer to have a whole tart rather than tartlets, try making my apple crumb tart! It is the same spiced apple filling with pecan crumble but made in a large tart pan.
step by step instructions 🔪
Step 1 - Prepare the apples filling. In a large bowl, add the apple slices and remaining filling ingredients. I like to use a silicone spatula to mix the filling to ensure the apples are thoroughly coated but do not break when mixing. Set the apple filling aside.
Step 2 - Separately prepare dough ingredients. In a medium sized bowl, shred the frozen butter. In another bowl, sift the flour, sugar, and salt.
Step 3 - Combine. Using a pastry cutter or fork, combine until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Step #4 - Add in the wet ingredients. Add in the egg yolk, heavy cream, and vanilla.
Step #5 - Begin mixing dough. Mix until a shaggy dough forms.
Step #6 - Form dough ball. Continue mixing until the dough gathers into a ball. Form into a 1 inch dough circle disc.
Step #7 - Plastic wrap and cool. Cover the dough tightly with plastic wrap, and place in the fridge to cool for at least 30 minutes.
Step #8 - Make the crumble. Combine all crumble ingredients in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and mix until crumble begins to form. Set crumble topping aside.
Step #9 - Roll out the crust. Using a rolling pin on a lightly floured work surface, turn out the dough and roll to about ¼ inch thick. The dough can be crumbly and it is okay if it breaks here and there. But if you are finding that your dough is extremely dry, add a little water and gently work it in until the dough comes together.
Step #10 - Prepare your tartlet pan. Grease each tartlet pan with non-stick baking spray or butter, and line the bottoms with mini parchment papers if desired. Once the dough is rolled out, use a 4 inch cookie cutter to cut out circles from the dough for your tart crusts. Carefully press the dough circles into each tartlet pan like a mini pie. Trim off any excess pastry dough from the edges using a pizza cutter.
Step #11 - Assemble the tartlets. Before assembling, preheat your oven to 375F. On top of the dough, place a heaping spoonful of the apple mixture. The filling should almost touch the top but not over flow the tartlet. I like to move the apple slices around so they are really compact in the dough. This makes for a full and juicy tart! Then delicately place crumble on top of the apples. I like to have a blend of big chunks of crumble and thinner crumble to get in the nooks and crannies. Don't be afraid to really load on the crumble here, there can never be too much! Lastly, generously sprinkle the top with Demerara sugar. Place all of the prepared tartlets on a baking sheet.
Step #12 - Bake the tartlets. Place the sheet pan with the tartlets in the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Serve warm with a big scoop of ice cream!
serving suggestions 🍽️
Serve each simple apple crumble tart with a heaping scoop of vanilla ice cream and extra pecans!
storage & reheating ⏲️
These apple crumble tartlets can be store for up to 2 days at room temperature uncovered. They can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
These apple crumble tartlets do not need to be warm to be delicious, but if you're craving that warm apple filling, you can reheat in the microwave or oven. For the microwave, place on a heat safe plate, cover the tart with a damp paper towel, and heat for 20 seconds. For the oven, cover with aluminum foil and bake for 10 minutes at 350F. After 10 minutes, remove the aluminum foil and continue to bake for 5 minutes for a crispy top.
When it comes to finding the best apple for your crumble, you will want to go with a crisp tart variety like honey crisp or granny smith. For more milder flavor, try pink lady or golden delicious. Never use gala apples or red delicious apples as they will become mushy when baked.
It is not necessary to cover apple crumble in the oven when baking. To give the crumble that golden brown color and crisp texture you will actually want it to be uncovered.
You can prepare all components of the apple crumble the night before. Leave the shortbread dough wrapped in plastic wrap in the fridge, keep the apple pie filling in a sealed container in the fridge, and place the combined crumble topping covered in the refrigerator. When ready to bake, simply construct and bake according to the baking instructions.
how to video 🎥
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