Bring a festive cheer to your apple crumble by adding a few twists that will make this humble dessert look appealing as individual tartlets using puff pastry. Adding festive spices for warmth balances the sweetness of the crumble. Serve these little tarts with a rich, warm homemade custard. I served this dessert during one of our annual Christmas parties and my guests were wowed by festive touch I have added on their plate. These cute bauble-shaped little bottles filled with custard were the show of the dinner party. Some daring ones even drank from the bottle! It was so much fun and entertaining.
Ingredients you will need for the apple crumble tartlets and custard
- Apples: Any red apple will do for this recipe. I tend not to use apples that are tart as this means you need more sugar to sweeten the filling. The apples only need cooking for 5 minutes and will therefore keep their shape.
- Spices: Cinnamon is THE chosen spice for my apple crumble. I tend not to add other spices as I do not want to overpower the apples. So I will stick with just cinnamon for this recipe.
- Sweetness: Dark Muscovado sugar is my favourite sweetener for apple crumble. It is essentially unrefined sugar that contains molasses, hence its deep brown colour and toffee-like taste that adds this rich flavour to the apple crumble.
- Pastry: All-butter puff pastry is used to make the tartlet cases. Use a ready-rolled puff pastry sheet to cut circles that are large enough to fit in muffin tins. The pastry will puff up and be golden and flaky on top.
- Egg: You want the pastry to look shiny and golden when baked. Prior to filling the pastry cases brush with egg wash.
- Rolled oats: For the crumble I have used rolled oats mixed with melted butter and muscovado sugar.
- Butter: Butter not only adds richness but it also turns the crumble crispy and golden brown.
- Custard: You can use ready-made custard, however I will share my own recipe. The custard needs to have a pouring consistency so it can be poured into the little bauble bottles.
How to make spiced apple crumble tartlets
- Cut the puff pastry: Whether you are using homemade or shop bought, make sure the puff pastry is soft enough so it does not crack when rolling it out. Use an 8mm round cutter, alternatively use a Bonne Maman jam jar to cut the circles. Cut as many circles as you can, you should obtain at least 12 pieces that will fit in a muffin tray. Using your fingers push each circle inside the muffin tin and brush with eggs wash.
- Cook the apples: Remove the core and cut the apples into small chunks of 1cm. Transfer to a medium pan and add the muscovado sugar and cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and the apples have softened slightly. Leave to cool slightly before filling the pastry cases.
- Fill the pastry cases: Spoon the cooked apples into the pastry cases and top with rolled oats coated in cinnamon, sugar and melted butter.
- Bake: You do not want to bake it on too high so the oats burn, nor on too low so the pastry looks uncooked.
- Make the custard: While the tarts are baking cook the custard and test the pouring consistency. It needs to be thick enough but not set and it should run without breaking. For me the secret to a good custard is good quality vanilla beans.
- 3 red apples
- 1 ready rolled puff pastry
- 1.5 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp dark muscovado sugar
- 100g rolled oats
- 50g butter, melted
For the custard
- 3 egg yolks
- 500ml whole milk
- 75g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean
- 2 tbsp cornflour
1. Preheat the oven to 180c. Using a round cutter or an 8cm jam jar cut 12 puff pastry circles. Place them inside each case of the muffin tray and brush with egg wash. Set aside.
2. Core and cut the apples into 1cm chunks and place in a saucepan. Add 3 tbsp muscovado sugar and 1 tsp ground cinnamon. Cook for 5 minutes until softened but not mushy.
3. Fill the pastry cases halfway through. In a bowl add the oats, melted butter, remaining muscovado sugar and cinnamon. Mix well and spoon on top of the apples. Bake for 20 minutes until puffed up and golden brown.
4. Meanwhile make the custard, In a saucepan add the milk and vanilla seeds including the pod. Bring to the boil over low heat. In a bowl add the sugar, cornflour and eggs and whisk well. Pour the hot milk and keep whisking. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan and cook until thickened and with a pouring consistency. Pour in individual bottles to serve with the tarts.
5. Place the tarts on dessert plates with the custard bottles on the side. Serve warm with a good drizzle of custard.
If you enjoyed this recipe take a look at my caramelised pear tart which is as good in a more sophisticated version. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases and you don’t have to incur extra charges when making a purchase using the above links which take you directly to the Amazon product page.