Rustic Apple Tart

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Category : Desserts, Recipes, Vegetarian

Rustic Apple TartA Rustic Apple Tart is the centerpiece of a meal menu I created after a visit to Cloud Mountain Farm’s annual Fall Fruit Festival. I’ve since used the recipe as a cooking demonstration at BelleWood Acres for the 2011 Whatcom County Farm Tour event.

I first planned to make a classic apple pie, but my friend Pat (co-owner of Artisan Wine Gallery on Lummi Island) convinced me to try a rustic tart instead.

I wanted to include cheese in the recipe as well, since that’s also a classic American flavor combination with apples. The crust of a tart needs to be a little sturdier than a pie crust since the tart crust is the cooking container. I decided to experiment with adding cheese directly to the crust.

Also, apple desserts usually include spices like cinnamon and allspice. Those ingredients don’t grow in Whatcom County, so as a locavore (a person who eats only locally grown food) I had to find an alternative. There’s no real substitute for cinnamon. First I thought about using mint instead, as I had in a Sour Cream Plum Pie I’d made earlier in the summer. I’d recently seen an article in Grow Northwest Magazine, though, which suggested using rosemary with apples. Since I planned to minimize sweetening, I decided to give this more savory herb a try.

Cloud Mountain had bags of mixed varieties of  “cooking apples,” which usually have a tarter taste than “table apples.” Even so, the flavor of the apples was so fresh and wonderful that very little sweetening was necessary.

The finished tart was sublime! It was as beautiful as it was delectable.


  • Prep Time:
    1 hr 15 min
  • Cook Time:
    45 min
  • Ready In:
    2 hrs
Servings: 8 servings
For cheesy crust:

  • 1 Tbsp honey (Guilmette’s Busy Bees, Bellingham)
  • 1/2 cup ice water
  • 2-1/4 cup flour (Fairhaven Organic Flour Mill, Bellingham)
  • 1 tsp salt (see Exceptions)
  • 1/2 cup aged gouda cheese, finely grated (Appel Farms, Ferndale)
  • 3/4 cup butter, chilled (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)
  • 1 egg yolk, lightly beaten (neighbor’s roadside stand, Lummi Island)

For filling:

  • 1 lb tart apples, chopped (Cloud Mountain Farm, Everson)
  • 1 Tbsp honey, plus more to drizzle (Guilmette’s Busy Bees, Bellingham)
  • 2 tsp rosemary leaves, finely chopped (home garden, Lummi Island)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, chilled (Breckinridge Farm, Everson)


To make cheesy crust:

Add 1 T. of honey to a 1/2 a cup of ice water and stir vigorously until dissolved. Set aside.

Combine the 2 1/4 c. of flour, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 c. of finely shredded aged gouda cheese and stir until well mixed.

Dice cold butter into 1/4 inch cubes, and combine into flour mixture until crumbly. Mix in egg yolk. Then slowly add the honey water until the crust begins to come together, being careful not to add too much water.

Gather the dough together in a ball and put in a covered container. Refrigerate for half an hour.

Filling, and tart assembly:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel, core and chop the apples. In a mixing bowl, combine apples, honey, and rosemary.

On a lightly floured board, roll pie dough out to an 11 inch circle. The dough should be a little thicker than for a pie. Place onto a parchment lined baking sheet or into a lightly buttered 8- or 9-inch cast iron skillet. The edges of the dough can be left roughly shaped to enhance the rustic look.

Spoon filling into the center of the pie shell, piling as high in the center as possible. Leave several inches of pie dough uncovered around the edges if you are working on a baking sheet.

Fold the edges of the shell toward the center around the fruit to hold it in place while cooking.

Dot the apple filling with bits of chilled butter and drizzle with honey. Brush the outside of the crust with a beaten egg wash or melted butter.

Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes, or until golden.

Serving Suggestions:

Serve warm, sprinkled with grated or shaved cheese, if desired. Goes well with Roasted Beet Hash and Peperonata.

Food Sources:

Home gardens, Lummi Island
Cloud Mountain Farm, 6906 Goodwin Rd., Everson (they mostly sell at Bellingham Farmers Market)
Roadside egg stand, Lummi Island
Appel Farms Cheese Shoppe, 6605 Northwest Road, Ferndale (open Mon-Sat 9a-6p)
Boxx Berry Farm store, 6211 Northwest Rd., Ferndale (open Thurs-Sun, 10a-4p)
Community Food Co-operative, Westerly and Cordata, Bellingham
Terra Organica, Flora and Cornwall, Bellingham

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Comments (2)

This recipe sounds so good, and though I can’t really do the cheese and have to use clarified butter, but I’d love to try it. What kind of sweet-tart apples do you use for this? There are so many varieties.

I used Cloud Mountain Farm’s bagged mix of “pie apples.” I didn’t note all the varieties included, unfortunately, but I’m sure they’d be happy to tell you if you called them. Hope you enjoy the tart!