Rosemary apple hand tarts are essentially individual apple pies that are nestled in a rich, flaky pie crust. A hint of rosemary in the tartly sweet filling and the refined smokiness of lard in the flaky crust lend a subtle savory note to the tarts. The best part? You don’t have to share yours. With anyone.–Angie Zoobkoff
Rosemary Apple Hand Tarts
For the crust
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the work surface
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup cold lard
- 4 to 5 tablespoons cold water
For the apple filling
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed apples, peeled, cored, and sliced between 1/8 and 1/4 inch thick (the author suggests a mix of Honey Crisp and Mutsu but any varieties you fancy will work)
- Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 3 dashes Angostura bitters
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- Demerara or turbinado sugar, for sprinkling
Make the crust
- Whisk together the flour and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a bowl. Work the cold lard into the flour with a rubber spatula, smearing and combining the lard and flour until everything is mostly combined but some small, pea-sized lumps of lard remain. (Alternatively, use a food processor to pulse together the ingredients.) Stir in 4 tablespoons (60 ml) water with a fork and then squeeze a small handful of the dough in your palm; if it’s crumbly, stir in the remaining 1 tablespoon (15 ml) water.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Smear the dough with the palm of your hand across the work surface 3 or 4 times so that it comes together. Pat the dough into a round, then wrap it in plastic wrap and chill for at least 1 hour.
Make the apple filling
- In a medium saucepan, combine the apples, lemon juice, granulated sugar, flour, rosemary, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bitters and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the apples are slightly softened and the mixture has thickened, about 10 minutes. (If toward the end of the 10 minutes the mixture looks a touch dry, simply add a few drops of cold water.) Remove from the heat and let cool.
Assemble the rosemary apple hand tarts
- Roll the dough out on a lightly floured work surface with a lightly floured rolling pin into a large round about 1/4 inch thick. Using a small plate or cookie cutter, cut out six 5-inch (13-cm) rounds. Transfer the rounds to the lined baking sheet.
- Divide the apple filling evenly among the rounds, generously mounding it in the center of each piece of dough. (You may have extra apple filling. Reserve it for stirring into oatmeal or just enjoy it by the spoonful.) Fold the edge of the dough over the filling, overlapping it as needed. Brush the edge of the dough with some of the egg wash then sprinkle with the demerara sugar. Repeat with the remaining tarts. Chill the filled tarts for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (177oC). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Bake the tarts until the crust is golden brown and the filling is bubbling, 25 to 35 minutes. Let the tarts cool completely on a wire rack before serving.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
These adorable rosemary apple hand tarts are, for me, the epitome of autumn—rustic in nature but elegant enough to be a show-stopping dessert at a dinner party. It was the smaller details of the recipe that drew me in and the combination of these unique details made for a really terrific final product. The details I’m referring to are the use of lard in the tart crust, the hint of rosemary in addition to traditional warm spices, and the dash of Angostura bitters in the apple mixture. The lard not only gave the crust a nice flaky texture but a hint of savory flavor as well. I decided to go with Golden Delicious apples because I find them to be great for baking in general. They have a sweet but mellow flavor and they cook down very well in a pie or tart. My only suggestion for the filling is I think the apples needed more liquid to cook in or perhaps a pat of butter. (The mixture in the saucepan was a bit dry and I was afraid the spices might burn so I added 1 tablespoon butter as well as a little water.) The smell of the apples cooking with the spices, the rosemary, the lemon, and the dash or so of bitters was divine. The apple mixture alone would be grand with a grilled pork chop or cooked further as an apple sauce. This made 6 tarts although I had a bit of the lovely apple filling left over. No worries! The extra filling was enjoyed over oatmeal this morning. The crust on the tarts was a lovely golden brown and flaky. I didn’t serve them with ice cream, although a small scoop of vanilla would be great. Or maybe even a dollop of mascarpone or creme fraiche. Overall, this dessert was chic, tasty, and fun to make!
Delicious. I used Honey Crisp apples in these rosemary apple hand tarts. The dough came together nicely and was really flaky. The first time I made these they weren’t at all bad but just a tad too sweet for me. I made the rosemary apple hand tarts a second time and doubled the amount of rosemary from 1/2 teaspoon to 1 teaspoon, sprinkling 1/2 teaspoon on the tarts after they had baked. I also cut the sugar down to 1/4 cup and I was much happier. They make a great dessert to take to a potluck. I put the sugar on at the last minute so it was still visible when people picked them up.