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Brown Butter Apple Tart with An Emphasis on BUTTER

Pretty rounds of apples arrayed all over the top of this tart catch your eye first.

So much so, you’d think they’d be the star of this dessert.

But that’s not the case.

The real hero of this tart is butter.

Browned until it’s nutty and oh-so fragrant.

I’m almost afraid to tell you how much butter there is. I know my family members almost fell over when I told them as I served them slices.

OK, don’t faint. But there are two sticks of butter in the crust. That’s not so bad, though, because you use only half of the dough and freeze the rest for another time. But — gulp — there are also two sticks of butter in the filling. Yes, two.

It’s not a dessert you should eat every day, believe me. But when you want to indulge in the taste of sweet, creamy butter, this is the dessert for you.

“Brown Butter Apple Tart” is from the November 2012 issue of Bon Appetit magazine.’

The dough needs to be made a day ahead so that it has ample time to chill. It’s then blind-baked in a tart pan lined with parchment and pie weights before a filling of browned butter, eggs , sugar and vanilla bean get poured in. Apple slices get arranged over the top before the tart goes back into the oven.

The crust is like a shortbread cookie. The filling is soft, buttery and pastry-like. The recipe calls for an 11-inch diameter tart pan. I only had a 9-inch one, so that’s what I used. If you use that or an 11-by-8-by-1-inch rectangular tart pan, just know that you will have leftover filling.

Whatever pan you use, be sure to roll out your dough super thin. If it’s too thick, you will end up with a hard, cookie-like crust that will be hard to pierce with a fork. That was my mistake when I first made it. Thank goodness, my guests didn’t mind picking up the remaining edges of crust to eat with their fingers. Hey, we’re all family, right?

Embrace the butter. You just have to — every now and then.

Brown Butter Apple Tart

(Serves 8 to 10)

For crust:

For filling and assembly:

Special Equipment


For Crust:

For filling and assembly:

From Bon Appetit magazine, November 2012

More Apple Recipes: Joanne Chang’s Apple Snacking Spice Cake

And: Apple-Stuffed Biscuit Buns

And: Cranberry and Apple Kuchen with Hot Cream Sauce

And: Apple Pumpkin Walnut Muffins