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The recipe I am sharing with you today is an impressively wonderful way to use some of the beautifully fresh and tasty apples that are coming into the markets with the advent of the Autumn harvest. This easy to bake apple cardamom tart makes for a smashing finale to any celebratory meal, by combining two old favourites, apple pie and custard, into one dazzling and beautiful dessert!

It may seem a bit fiddly, but you will soon get the hang of it, and trust me when I say that the impressed look on your guest’s faces when you serve it to them will be well worth any extra efforts utilized.

Jump straight down to the short recipe!

Gathering All the Ingredients

Ingredients for apple cardamom tart

A puff pastry crust is filled with a delicious vanilla and cardamom custard filling and topped with fresh eating apple rosettes prior to baking in the oven until the custard sets.

It will take you several hours to make this dazzling dessert, but it is a very easy tart to make, especially if you break its assembly down into several steps. First the pastry, second the custard filling, third the preparation of the apples, and finally assembling it all together and baking.

The ingredients on their own are not out of the ordinary. A good, all-butter, prepared puff pastry block, mascarpone cheese, quality ready-made vanilla custard, 2 large free-range egg yolks, some vanilla bean paste, ground cardamom, fresh lemon juice, sugar and of course beautifully sweet red eating apples!

Rolling Out the Pastry

Rolling pastry

Before I do anything, I like to roll out my pastry. I use a good all-butter puff pastry as there is no chemical aftertaste to it, and I like to use natural fats as much as possible. It is as good as homemade and a lot less fiddly.

size to roll pastry

If you are really keen of course, you could make your own puff pastry from scratch, but I have always found that a quality all-butter puff pastry works just as well with not much difference.

Place the cold block of pastry in between two sheets of baking parchment and roll it out with a rolling pin to a round large enough to line your tart tin. I use a 9 ½ inch round fluted edged tart tin with a removable bottom. 

Lining the tart tin

You can use the bottom of the tin to gauge the size that you want your pastry round to be.  I aim for a round at least two inches larger than the tin, if not more. Your pastry should be about ¼ inch thick. Once it is the size you want, carefully remove the top sheet of paper and lower the pastry into the tin.

If it tears a bit don’t worry, at this point, you can easily patch it back together. To trim the edge evenly, I roll my rolling pin firmly across the top of the tin and it cuts any excess off perfectly. Prick the pastry all over with a fork, cover, and then pop it into the refrigerator to chill for at least 20 minutes. 

Mixing the Custard Together

mixing custard together

The custard filling is also very easy to make. I have never made this with homemade custard. I cannot speak as to if it will work well or not. I use a good quality store bought vanilla custard, which I whisk together with several egg yolks, rich mascarpone cheese, vanilla paste and ground cardamom.

You can use vanilla extract if you wish, but I love the beautiful depth of vanilla flavour which comes from using vanilla paste, as well as the appearance of the seeds.  Whisk this all together until well combined in a bowl. Cover the bowl and pop it into the refrigerator to chill while you prepare your apples. 

Preparing the Apples

I like to use a crisp and sweet eating apple with a bright red skin. The colour of the apples adds to the finished look of the tart, and the sweetness is critical as there is not a lot of sugar in this dessert. Crisp and sweet is the key.

coring apples

I have an apple corer that I use to core the apples. It makes an easy job of this chore, but if you don’t have one you can use a sharp paring knife. An apple corer does give you a better finish, however.

Once you have them all cored, cut them in half lengthwise.

You will be rolling the apples into rosettes, so a half moon shape is the best contour to use for this. That is why I cut my apples in half lengthwise, and then crosswise into thin slices.  Try to get them thin enough so that they will be pliable and easy to roll.

slicing apples

I used my handy fruit and vegetable slicer for this, or a kitchen mandolin if you have one. Be careful while you are using one of these however as it is very easy to cut yourself. I find that a good pair of cut resistant gloves come in very handy, for this purpose. They really do protect you and are a very wise investment. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and all that. They really don’t cost all that much.

Mix the lemon juice and sugar together in a bowl and then slice the apples right into the bowl, tossing to coat them with this mixture as you go along. The acid in the lemon juice helps to prevent the apples from turning brown.

Arranging the Tart

putting custard in pastry form

Once all of your apples are sliced you will need to spread the well-chilled custard mixture into your pastry shell, smoothing it over.   

Once you have the custard in the pastry shell you can begin building your rosettes. This is the fiddly part. Just have fun with it and remember that they don’t have to be perfect. Its actually very easy to do if you haven’t cut the slices too thickly.

I take one slice and roll it into a cone, pop it into the custard and then build around that, using several slices to build the rosette, overlapping them around the centre cone and lightly pushing them into the custard to hold them in place. Try not to be too pedantic about this. It will still look beautiful by the end, even if they are not perfect.  Fill in any gaps with smaller rosettes.

Ready to Bake!

apples in the tart

Once you have filled the tart with your apples, drizzle any juices left in the apple bowl over top and bake in a pre-heated oven. This takes about 50 minutes. Both your pastry and your apples should be golden when it is done.

Isn’t it beautiful?  The custard should still wobble a tiny bit in the centre at this point but not be really loose. If you think it is too loose, return it to the oven for a few more minutes.  

apple cardamom tart out of the oven

Cool the finished tart completely on a wire rack and then pop it into the refrigerator for at least an hour prior to serving.

When you are ready to serve, slide it onto a decorative plate, dust it liberally with some icing sugar and carry it to the table.  Be prepared to hear lots of oohs of appreciation as your guests feast their eyes upon it.  Stand back and take a bow. You deserve it.  Cut into wedges and serve up with lashings of cream for pouring over top.

cardamom apple tart

Apple & Cardamom Custard Tart Short Recipe

Serves: 6  

A classic combination of flavours in one deliciously stunning dessert. Serve with pouring cream.


  • 1 pound of all-butter puff pastry
  • 1 1/3 cups of quality ready-made vanilla custard
  • ¾ cup mascarpone cheese
  • 2 large free-range egg yolks
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • ¼ tsp ground cardamom
  • 4 medium red-skinned eating apples
  • 1 tbsp fine fruit sugar
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • To serve:
    • 1 tbsp powdered sugar to dust
    • Pouring cream


  • Butter a 9 ½ inch round loose-based fluted tart-tin.
  • Roll the pastry between two sheet of baking paper into a round large enough to line the bottom of the tin and up the sides.
  • Carefully lift into the tin and press into the base and up the sides, trimming off any excess pastry.  Prick the base all over with a fork.  Cover and place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  • Whisk the custard, mascarpone, egg yolks, vanilla paste, and cardamom together in a bowl until well combined. Cover and place in the refrigerator until well chilled.
  • Core and half the apples lengthwise. Cut into thin half-moons. Toss together in a bowl with the fruit sugar and lemon juice.
  • Spread the custard mixture in the pastry base. Arrange the apple slices on top of the custard, slightly overlapping them into attractive rosette shapes. Drizzle with any juices left in the bowl.
  • Bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples cooked.  Cool and then refrigerate for 1 hour prior to serving.

It may seem a bit fiddly, but you will soon get the hang of it, and trust me when I say that the impressed look on your guest’s faces when you serve it to them will be well worth any extra efforts utilized.

Complete Steps in Pictures

Check out some of my other recipes:

chicken satay skewers cover
Chicken Satay Skewers with Rainbow Salad!
noodle salad ready to eat
Heavenly Honey Chicken Noodle Salad

Roast garlic and herbs chicken
Roast Garlic and Herbs Chicken!

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