Apple "butter" is made from long-cooked apples that go dark from slow-cooking. It’s a great use of out-of-season apples that are a bit soft. The apple butter tends to send the pastry soft, so if you want to store the tartlets, use a sturdier pastry, like this one, rather than a short one.






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  • 1 cup apple butter
  • 75 g (⅔ cup) brown sugar
  • 40 g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 small apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced

Shortcrust pastry

  • 75 g unsalted butter, chopped, slightly softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 150 g (1 cup) plain flour, sifted

Apple "butter" (makes 3 cups (see Note))

  • 2 kg braeburn or pink lady apples, cored, peeled, chopped
  • 100 g white sugar

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


Chilling time 20 minutes

To make pastry, process butter, vanilla and flour in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs. Add 1 tbsp iced water and process until combined. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead until mixture comes together. Shape into a disc, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 20 minutes or until firm but soft enough to be rolled.

Preheat oven to 200°C. Roll out dough between 2 sheets of baking paper until 4 mm thick. Cut into 12 x 12 cm squares and use to line a greased 12-hole (80 ml/ cup) muffin pan. Add 1 tbsp apple butter to each tart shell.

Melt sugar and butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. While it melts, place a few apple slices over the apple butter in each tart. Spoon a little brown sugar butter over each tart and bake in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Serve as soon as they cool.

To make apple butter, place apples and 60 ml water in a large ovenproof dish over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for 1½ hours or until they have cooked right down. (You want most of the liquid to evaporate out, and the apple to darken as it caramelises slightly, but not burn.)

When it starts to caramelise, add the sugar and cook, stirring, until melted. Be careful, as the mixture may burn more easily once the sugar has been added.


• There’s no point making a small amount of this spread, so here’s enough to use in lots of tarts, or on crumpets, fruit toast, or as part of a dessert or pudding. Store in sterilised jars in the fridge for up to 1 month.


As seen in Feast Magazine, Issue 15, pg36.

Photography by Alan Benson