Free-Form Apple Tart


Sam Mogannam's wife, Anne Walker, usually makes this dessert with Arkansas Black apples—an heirloom variety—from Mogannam's parents' orchard near Sacramento. The dense, tart apples are harvested late in the season, making them a good Thanksgiving choice. Granny Smiths are an easier-to-find alternative.Plus: F&W's Ultimate Thanksgiving Guide More Thanksgiving Pies & Tarts

Free-Form Apple Tart. Photo © Quentin Bacon
Photo: © Quentin Bacon
Active Time:
30 mins
Total Time:
2 hrs 30 mins


  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar

  • Kosher salt

  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled

  • About 1/2 cup ice water

  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest plus 1 teaspoon juice

  • 4 Arkansas Black or Granny Smith apples—peeled, cored and thinly sliced

  • 1 large egg white, beaten

  • 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar


  1. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle, combine the flour with 1 teaspoon of the sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Add the butter and mix at low speed until it is the size of small peas, 30 seconds. With the machine on, gradually add 1/4 cup of the ice water. Add as much of the remaining ice water as needed, 1 tablespoon at a time, until the dough is just evenly moistened (it shouldn't mass on the paddle). Turn the dough out onto a work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill for 1 hour or overnight.

  2. Preheat the oven to 400° and line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough to a 17-inch round, then trim it to a neat 16-inch round. Transfer the dough to the cookie sheet.

  3. In a medium bowl, combine the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar with the lemon zest and a pinch of salt. Add the apples and lemon juice and toss well. Arrange the apples on the dough in 2 concentric circles, leaving a 3-inch border all around. Fold the edge of the dough up and over the apples, overlapping the dough on itself as needed. Brush the rim with the egg white and sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.

  4. Bake the pie in the center of the oven until the crust is golden and firm and the apples are tender, about 55 minutes. Transfer the cookie sheet to a rack to cool. Slide the pie onto a plate, cut into wedges and serve.

Make Ahead

The dough can be frozen for up to 1 month. The tart can be baked earlier in the day and rewarmed before serving.

Suggested Pairing

John Holdredge, of Holdredge Wines, makes his Grace's Cuvée Late Harvest Pinot Gris only when his vineyards are affected by botrytis (a fungus that attacks grapes, but in some cases also concentrates their sugars). It has a honeyed sweetness that goes perfectly with this apple tart. As an alternative, look for a late-harvest Riesling.

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