Brown Butter Apple Tartlets

My brown butter apple tartlets made with the last of my Gravenstein apples went fast! I like to bake with Gravenstein apples during their short season, but any tart baking apple would work well in this simple recipe. I used purchased pie dough for an even quicker batch of apple tartlets but feel free to substitute your favorite 9″ pie crust dough recipe. My tartlets are like  apple pie cookies and would make wonderful after school treats for my ‘littles’ or for my husband Scott, who, after eating two tartlets rather quickly asked me to take the plate away, oh well-more for the ‘littles’!  Next time I’ll double this recipe by adding 2 more apples and another pie crust dough to make 16 tartlets. The brown butter filling recipe makes more than you will need for this recipe, so it could be easily stretched to make a double batch.  I froze my extra brown butter filling to make a future batch of tartlets.  I also think it could be added to a batch of cookies or quick bread in place of butter, egg and/or sugar in a different recipe.  I like experimenting with ingredients when I bake, that’s part of the baking adventure.  Yes, baking is an adventure as well as a science.  We’ve been told to measure our ingredients and be very precise but some recipes are more forgiving than others so that’s the time to play around and have some fun!

One of my favorite things about keeping a bowl of Gravenstein apples on my counter is the way their sweet scent permeates the kitchen. They ripen fast at room temperature and turn a soft yellow color which I think is striking next to the red stripes covering their sides.  I’m always looking to show off fresh picked apples, like in a favorite cobalt blue bowl that contrasts with the yellow, green and red colors.  This is one of the ways I know that Fall is on the way.  We generally have a long Indian Summer  in California.  The leaves turn colors and the evenings become cooler, so although the seasonal changes might be considered subtle  in comparison to other parts of the world, we ease out of Summer and into Fall just like everybody else.  One of these apples is from a tree in my backyard and it’s not a Gravenstein, can you tell which one it is?  Hint:  It has a redder top than the other apples, way easier than finding Waldo!

Brown Butter Apple Tartlets

Yield: 8 tartlets

Adapted from Sweet Gratitude by Judith Sutton


  • For The Brown Butter Filling
  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla bean paste
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • 3 & 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • For The Tartlets
  • Pie dough for single crust 9" pie, I used purchased pie dough
  • 2-3 Gravenstein apples
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar, homemade or purchased


  1. To Make The Brown Butter Filling
  2. Place the butter in a medium size heavy skillet over medium heat.
  3. Cook until the butter is golden brown with a nut like aroma and you see dark specks in the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes,remove from heat.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, sugar and vanilla bean paste, whisk until well blended.
  5. Stir in the flour and salt, stirring until well combined.
  6. While constantly whisking gradually add the browned butter, leaving the dark speck solids at the bottom of the heavy skillet, cool and refrigerate this mixture, for at least 1 hour up to 2 days, until ready to use.
  7. To Make The Tartlets
  8. On a lightly floured surface roll out the homemade pie dough, if purchased- defrost, peel off the plastic and lay on work surface.
  9. Using a large size biscuit cutter, cut out 8 rounds, you may have to re-roll scraps to cut out the last 2 rounds.
  10. Place the dough rounds on a baking sheet and place in the fridge.
  11. Peel,core and halve the apples, rubbing sides with lemon juice.
  12. Cut each apple half into thin slices, about 1/8- inch thick, place in a bowl and add a few additional drops of lemon juice.
  13. Bring the dough rounds out of the fridge and spread each one with a generous spoonful of the brown butter filling, leaving a small border of plain dough around the edges.
  14. Place 4 slices on top of the filling and sprinkle with vanilla sugar, slightly crimp the plain edges of the dough around the apple slices and put back in the fridge while preheating the oven to 400F.
  15. Place the tartlets in the oven and reduce the temperature to 375F, bake for about 18 minutes until the apple slices look cooked and the crust is golden brown.
  16. Cool on a metal rack, serve warm or at room temperature.

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  1. May I have a whole plate to myself, pretty please? Happy weekend, Patty!

  2. These are so beautiful, Patty! The brown butter filling is over-the top – these tartlets are a must-make! Have a fabulous weekend! :)

  3. Oh you are evil showing me these when I just sat down and wanted a snack. That is also why I love it over here. I still haven’t found the apples here, I don’t want to have to get physical with anyone at the farmstand, but it just might happen if I can’t get some soon. Hope you have a great weekend lined up. Yeah it’s a three day weekend, woo-hoo!

    • pattysfood says:

      Thanks Gina, take a trip to the north bay and pick up some Gravenstein apples, you’ll be very happy:-)

  4. I don’t know if Gravenstein apples exist here. They seem good for baking. I like your idea of tartlets and they seem perfect for the little ones. These might interest my little ones too. Thanks for the idea Patty and have a good weekend!

  5. Absolutely fabulous!!! I haven’t gotten into apples yet this year, they are not prevalent in the markets yet, and the ones at the store have not been prime examples. My son is a big apple fan, so I’m eager to get going. This one is saved for him!!

  6. Oh, I love this! I really need to get out apple picking before they are gone. I keep forgetting that our season is running a couple weeks early this year…

  7. Just beautiful, Patty! It finally warmed up in SoCal, so it’s hard to think of autumn treats just yet, but I will make a note of these!

  8. Oh, I like these, and I especially like that you made it easy with store-bought pie dough! I scrolled down and caught your apple jam also…both recipes are wonderful!

  9. These are so cute and adorable! I even thought about putting your caramel apple jam on top to give nice shiny glaze… I think if you serve this whole plate, I’d think it’s all for me. Seriously! I love how simple and natural these look. This is something I want to feed to my kids. Time to go get pie dough~~!

  10. Just read your amazing post! I don’t have any apples in the house, or would be baking them this instant! Just wonderful, Patty!!! Thank you!

  11. Oh, these look amazing, Patti! You’re obviously a brown butter fan, too :) And these individual servings are perfect! Bring on apple season!!!!

  12. Patty – what perfect little tarts! Love the addition of brown butter – just adds that extra pop of flavor. Hard to believe that fall is around the corner – this is a gentle introduction to the change of seasons around the corner. Hope you have fun plans for the long weekend!!! :-)

  13. Oh these look very good Patty, I like the mini form but I think I would eat even more since they are so cute!

  14. Patty, these tartlets look great. I’ll have to try these when I go apple picking next weekend.
    Gravensteins are a nostalgic favorite for me. They were a favorite of my father’s and we used to drive from Maryland to Pennsylvania to track them down at an orchard he knew. They’ve been hard to find on the East Coast (though I ordered some from an orchard in Sonoma a few years ago, shipped to my dad). They’ve recently been making a comeback. Yay!

  15. Patty, these apple tartlets sound and look just irresistible with your favourite Gravenstein apples and brown butter!

  16. Gorgeous looking tarlets, Patty! Stunning pics and great recipe! I wish you amazing Sunday!

  17. i don’t think i have seen this kind of apples around here, usually honey crisp apples are found at the local farmers market.
    The tartlets are so pretty, i love making individual treats :) your little ones are so lucky

  18. If I can just keep my youngest away from my remaining apples, I can make these! I I Love how petite these are, I won’t feel guilty eating 3-4, just to test you know. OK, now hubby’s looking over my shoulder and I’ll have to go buy more apples, he says everyone at his work would love these! Happy workers are productive workers! Thanks for sharing, Pinned.

  19. Patty, your brown butter apple tartlets are so cute, totally craving this droolworthy pretty little tarts filled with the most delicious apples on the planet. These apples are a ‘rare find’ in our area, but we do have something similar to it! Lovely photos, as well…and BTW the amazing apple jam in your previous post is a ‘must try’ for sure. Love it:)

  20. these tartlets are simply beautiful!! I’m so glad to have found your blog and excited to follow :))
    Mary x

  21. this is the best way to enjoy the start of fall – we do not see such for a while yet, but to have these apples picked fresh would be divine… I would be wary of the coon’s pears too and nice touch with Waldo;s anniversary… these are the most favorable ‘freshest’ tartlets I have seen, and sure to be on my planner… great recipe Patty.

  22. I am not ready for fall, at least not completely! But with such great apple recipes like this, it makes it a little easier. These are so cute and perfect, and the brown butter sounds amazing!

  23. Patty, These look fantastic!! I am wishing I could reach into my computer and pull one out!! Perfectly delicious looking! I just found a farm stand by me that grows Gravenstein apples. I’m so looking forward to trying them!

  24. These tartlets are adorable! Perfect bite size dessert for adults or kid size dessert for kids! I love all varieties of apple desserts and I can’t wait to start my fall baking!

  25. What a beautiful array of apples! I’d love to eat them in tartlets like these.

  26. I know what my next baking project will be:) Thank you so much Patty for always inspiring me to bake and for sharing your recipes. This is an absolute winner and I can’t wait to try it. Hopefully I won’t eat them all before I can take a picture.

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