This Apple Meringue Tart is a gorgeous and delicious dessert at any time of the year. It looks beautiful and tastes festive and elegant. With a touch of cinnamon and soft and pillowy meringue topping.
This blog post is sponsored by Ontario Apple Growers. All opinions are my own.
I recently got a chance to go to an Apple Farm and an Apple Processing Plant tour. That was an absolutely amazing, informative, and fascinating experience. I learned a lot about how much effort it takes for the Ontario farmers to grow apples.
I saw thousands upon thousands of apples being sorted. I smelled what it’s like to be surrounded by tons of fresh Ontario apples.
Did you know that there are 21 sizes of apples but only 5-6 sizes are available for consumers? Did you know that most apple juices in our grocery stores are made from concentrate which is imported from China and not from Ontario?
I did not know that! Apples are one of the healthiest and easiest snacks you can get. Apples are also very affordable. Just remember to look for the Foodland logo to make sure that you are buying Ontario grown apples.
How do you like your apples? I love mine either eaten raw or baked in sweet or savoury dishes.
When I eat Ontario apples, I eat them whole and only leave the stem when I am done. In fact, the core is one of my favourite parts of apples. Is it weird? It’s a little bit weird, right?
I love cooking with apples and adding them to pork like in my Pork Loin with Sauerkraut and Apples. And, of course, I love baking with apples!
One of the most popular desserts in Russia is called Sharlotka (I call it Quick and Easy Cake) and every family has their own variation of the recipe. It can be made with different fruits but apples are the most common and familiar.
Even now whenever my mom comes over for a family dinner, Apple Sharlotka is the dessert she brings. I use exactly the same recipe as she does but mine always turns out really different.
The Apple Meringue Tart is a variation of my Strawberry Meringue Cake which in turn was a variation on another Russian recipe that I found online many years ago. When I saw it first back in 2005 I was a little bit surprised by all the comments on that post.
Apparently, it was a very common dessert in many Russian families, yet I’ve never seen anything like this when I was little. After trying it for the first time, I felt slightly cheated as I spent years of my childhood without enjoying this dreamy cake.
Growing up in Russia, there were not that many names for sweet pastries. Layered desserts were called Cakes (or actually Tortes). There was a different name (Keks) that encompassed quick breads, muffins, loaf cakes, and bundt cakes. And all the flat, one layer desserts were called pies (Pirogi). I am generalizing a little bit but not much.
Brownies, cookie bars, tarts, crostatas – all those are common now but were not in the vocabulary a few decades ago. I guess it was easier to classify desserts that way.
Even now I am not entirely sure if Apple Meringue Tart is an appropriate name for this delicious sweet. In Russian, I would call it a pie.
The pastry is reminiscent of either a very soft cookie or a very dense cake. So, you decide what to call it.
To make the pastry in the Apple Meringue Tart a little bit healthier, I substituted Farmers Cheese for half of the butter. Mixing Farmers Cheese (aka Pressed Cottage Cheese) with butter is very common in Russian baking and it’s a base for many pastries including Farmers Cheese Cookies.
Farmers Cheese makes the dough softer and fluffier and less crumbly. It is the ingredient that makes the pastry more like a cake and less like a dense cookie. It can usually be found in the dairy aisle of your grocery store, next to yoghurts and kefirs.
The meringue part of the Apple Meringue Tart is very subtle as I only use 3 egg whites. It becomes a thin layer that tastes like marshmallow.
If you prefer a more traditional fluffy cloud of meringue then use 5-6 egg whites and increase the sugar. My husband, who notoriously doesn’t like meringue or marshmallows, keeps telling me to omit that layer but I think it’s delicious and it makes the tart look very pretty.
For the actual apples that are the star of this dessert, I used Ontario Cortland Apples. They are semi-tart and the slight tartness pairs wonderfully with the sweet meringue and pastry layer. I didn’t peel them and used 3 large apples roughly chopped, enough to cover the whole tart in a single, yet thick layer.
While developing this recipe I made Apple Meringue Tart with thinly sliced apples once, and although it tasted delicious, I really liked the texture of chopped apples better.
If you don’t have Cortlands or wondering about different uses for common varieties of Ontario apples, use this handy guide.
Apple Meringue Tart
For the pastry part
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature (85 g)
- 1/2 cup farmers cheese (85 g)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 large egg yolks
- pinch of salt
- dash of vanilla
- 1.5 cup flour
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
For the apples
- 3 large apples (I used Cortland)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the meringue layer
- 3 large egg whites
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F.
- Butter and flour a quarter size sheet pan. Common dimensions of the quarter sheet pan are 9x13 inches.
Make the pastry
- In a medium-size bowl, combine the room temperature butter, farmers cheese, both sugars, and mix until well combined with a mixer. Because of the farmers cheese, the mixture will not be fluffy and you will see flecks of white cheese but it should be soft.
- Add the egg yolks, vanilla, salt, and mix well.
- Add the flour, baking flour and mix until combined. The dough will most likely still be a bit grainy but it'll stay together if pinched.
- Spread the dough evenly onto the prepared sheet pan.
- Put the prepared sheet pan in the fridge while you are getting the apples and meringue prepared.
Make the meringue layer
- Using a mixer, start whipping the egg whites in a medium-sized clean bowl.
- After the egg whites start to foam a little bit, add a pinch of cream of tartar if using.
- Start adding sugar a teaspoon at a time, whipping for a minute between each addition.
- Whip on high speed until medium meringue forms. It needs to be firm enough to stay in place but soft enough to be spreadable.
Prepare the apples
- Core the apples and chop into 1-inch pieces. I like to quarter the apples, then slice each quarter into 3 wedges and cut each wedge into 4 pieces. No need to peel the apples.
Assembly and baking
- Spread the chopped apples over the chilled dough.
- Sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon.
- Spread the meringue over the apples. It will be a thin layer that may not reach the edges of the pan but it'll expand a little bit in the oven.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. After about 40-45 minutes you might need to cover the pan with foil if meringue will start to brown too much.
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