Apple desserts are a staple of fall and winter baking. And if you have the opportunity, go pick your own apples! I happen to be very lucky because I live in Minnesota where the state fruit is the Honeycrisp apple, a delicious variety developed by the University of Minnesota, and where 29 other varieties have been released by the U of M since 1888 when the apple breeding program began.
It’s a wonderful feeling to learn about different types of apples, pick your own and then head home to make some apple desserts with your bounty.
In the fall and winter, apple crisp is a dessert I return to over and over because it’s so simple but utterly delicious with its buttery, oat-y crumble, sweet apples and pungent spices throughout. I like to serve mine with homemade ice cream.
The perfect apple pie recipe below is a fan favorite and I love that you can play around with different types of lattice to make it your own. If you want to get extra fancy you can use a stenciled rolling pin or go extra simple with a crumble topping. Need help with your pie dough? I show you my tips and tricks for how to make pie crust in this post.
My swirled apple tarte tatin is a super fun dessert that was inspired by William Lanagnère, a pastry chef in Paris who took the rustic French classic and turned it into something beyond elegant. I marveled at the perfect spiral of apples and soon discovered a super cool kitchen tool that creates delicate ribbons of apple.
The Double Apple Cake pictured above is from Yossy Arefi’s fantastic book, Snacking Cakes. It is simple and comforting. Yossy’s book is filled with cakes that fit the occasion, but I came into possession of a pink apple and I wanted a cake that would show it off. Her cake starts with applesauce, which gives it a gorgeous texture and finishes with slices of apples on top. The cake is bold with spices, not too sweet and perfect to have for breakfast, but pretty enough to serve for dessert. I used pink apples on top from Miami Fruit, but you can use any apples with beautiful results. I also found pink apples at Dragonberry Club. You will find the recipe in her book and you can purchase it here.
Whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong with apple desserts. There really is something for everyone in this list!
The Perfect Apple Pie is from Cenk Sönmezsoy's The Artful Baker, and trust me, I don't hand out that description without great consideration. The pie is jammed packed with super thin slices of apples, so that it is dense. If you take the time to stack them, you'll see the clean lines of apple when you cut into it. This pie takes a little longer to make, but the results are worth every second.
With its perfectly moist texture, soft crumb, and depth of apple flavor, this apple cider bundt cake is perfect for any occasion. I like to use a variety of apples in this cake such as Honey Gold, MacIntosh, Haralson and Prairie Spy. Drizzle with a simple honey-cider glaze and serve.
This tarte tatin was inspired by William Lanagnère, a pastry chef in Paris who took the rustic French classic and turned it into something beyond elegant. I marveled at the perfect spiral of apples and figured he had been paying much closer attention in knife skills class than I did in culinary school! Then I realized there is a kitchen tool that creates delicate ribbons of apple. I bought one so I could create a version of this caramelized apple dessert at home.
This Apple Almond Galette is just an apple pie without the plate or a top crust. So, it’s even easier to make than pie and, I think, just as beautiful in a fruit forward, rustic way. The pie crust recipe makes two galettes, but you can always freeze one disk for later. I have also made this tart in a tart pan using my tart dough or even sugar cookie dough (great way to use up scraps).
For this apple butter rose tart I used a vegetable turner to slice the apples as thin as possible. The ruffles that formed as the apples passed through the turner reminded me of fabric and I loved the effect so much that I just gathered the apple as it fell and piled it into the center of the tart. This tart has so few ingredients and yet the finished dessert is quite striking and intricate looking, perfect for a special occasion.
Apple Tarte Tatin is a quintessentially French dessert. I think it is stunningly beautiful with its rich caramel apples and flaky pastry peeking out from under them. I went with a very non-traditional baklava-like crust for this recipe. I simply layered phyllo dough with honey, butter, vanilla and walnuts until I had a crust worthy of the caramelized apples.
This is apple galette is a rustic French tart with a rather fanciful name, but at the end of the day it is just a pie without a plate. It is simple to make and imperfection is part of its old world charm. No fancy fluting or lattice top crust to worry about and yet the flavor is just as wonderful.
What could be better than picking your own apples and making baked goods and applesauce with your bounty? When making applesauce, I like to use a variety of apples, so the sauce has a mix of tart, sweet, firm, and softer apples. It makes the applesauce taste better and have a more interesting texture.
To make the pie extra special, roast your own pumpkin. I promise it is it worth it, and not nearly as hard as it sounds. Canned is fine too, and no matter how you get your pumpkin flavor, the resulting combination of flavors in this pie is a must for your dessert table.
This apple crisp can be in the oven in less than 30 minutes and emerges bubbling, crisp and the perfect landing place for a scoop of ice cream. My topping typically has rolled oats, but this time I wanted the toasted almonds to be the clear star, so I used oat flour instead of the old fashioned oats and all-purpose flour, making this crisp entirely gluten-free (and vegan).
To make this delicious galette I spread a layer of the applesauce on pie dough, cover it in sliced apple, fold up the crust and finish it with lemon sugar. Nothing could be easier and it is one of my all time favorite desserts. Add vanilla ice cream and really, in my mind, it is perfection.
You don’t have to be on a Paleo diet to love these honey sweetened stuffed apples. Packed with nuts and cinnamon, they are a light and tasty dessert that are like an apple pie filling that feels like you're eating a healthy snack.
This is the apple tarte tatin I made on the Brunch Bakes episode of Zoë Bakes on Magnolia Network. It is incredibly easy to make. I served this beauty alongside a spinach and cheese souffle, which made for a perfect sweet and savory brunch.
Prepare a cookie sheet with a lightly buttered sheet of parchment, set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, melt the butter, then add the brown sugar, corn syrup, honey and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the mixture starts to boil. This can take about 10 minutes.
Add the sweetened condensed milk and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches 238°F on a Candy Thermometer.
Once the caramel reaches the right temperature, remove from the heat and allow it to cool to about 200°F. It will begin to thicken as it cools. It should be thin enough to coat the apple, but thick enough to cling to the fruit.
While the caramel is cooling, stick the Lollipop or popsicle sticks into the apple. Make sure they are deep enough that they won’t fall out while you are dipping the apples in the caramel.
Dip the apples into the caramel. I like how they look when some of the apple is still showing, but you can completely cover them if you prefer. Hold the apple over the pot of caramel and allow some of the excess to drip off before placing them on the sheet of buttered parchment. If desired, dip the bottom in the crushed peanuts.
Keep the apples in a cool, dry place and they will last for a few days, loosely covered with plastic.