A Thanksgiving appetizer that’s as impressive as it is simple to make: apple butter and melted brie tart. You can use your favorite store-bought apple butter or if you’ve got the time, make my homemade (and extremely delicious) recipe. It’s slathered over puff pastry and then topped with slices of brie, fresh apple, bacon, and thyme. The tart gets baked until golden, cut into pieces, and served!
Last year, this pear & prosciutto ricotta tart was my favorite holiday appetizer. I’ve been thinking of what new version I could create for this year, and I think I landed on the perfect combination with this apple butter and melted brie variation.
It’s sweet, savory, and extremely satisfying…a definite way to start the meal on a very delicious note.
apple butter and melted brie tart – the details
The star of this tart is the apple butter! While store-bought apple butter will work just perfectly, I would highly recommend making your own. It’s a labor of love, and the end result is an apple butter that tastes extremely fresh and has that special homemade quality.
I’ve made my apple butter recipe extra sweet and delicious by adding cider, brown sugar, and cinnamon. It takes about 2 hours start to finish, with the majority of time being hands-off cooking.
a quick note about making homemade apple butter…
One thing to note is that when the apple butter is cooking on the stove for the last hour after it’s been blended, it will splatter…a lot. Stirring often will help. Unfortunately, you can’t quite put a lid on the pot or else the liquid won’t evaporate like it needs to for the apple butter to thicken. It can be sticky and annoying, but I’d say the finished product is worth it. Be careful, though, because the apple butter will be very hot when it splatters.
Once you’ve decided on store-bought or homemade apple butter, the rest of this tart is a no-brainer.
You’ll unfold the pastry onto a sheet pan and basically just layer everything on – first the apple butter, then slices of rich & creamy brie cheese, followed by crisp apple slices, a sprinkling of bacon (just enough to add a salty bite), and fresh thyme for more savory flavor.
The pastry bakes up beautifully (golden with crisp edges) while the brie melts into the apple butter and the fresh apples become tender. Those little bacon bits add an addicting crispy bite right on top.
Cut and serve immediately! The tart will lose its crispness as it sits.Print
Apple Butter and Melted Brie Tart
a sweet and savory puff pastry tart with cinnamon apple butter, melted brie cheese, crisp apples, bacon, and fresh thyme
- 1 (14 oz) sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 cup apple butter (store-bought or recipe below)
- ½ lb wedge of brie, halved crosswise + sliced ¼”
- 1 large apple, cored + thinly sliced
- olive oil
- kosher salt
- freshly cracked black pepper
- 4 oz bacon, diced
- 1 tsp fresh thyme
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 tbsp milk
- flaky sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper. Unfold the puff pastry into a rectangle. Spread the apple butter evenly onto the dough, leaving a 1” border.
- Arrange the brie and apples over the apple butter. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Top with the bacon and fresh thyme.
- Fold the edges of dough over the apples and pinch the corners together. Combine the egg yolk and milk in a small bowl. Brush this egg wash onto the border of the dough. Sprinkle the flaky sea salt onto the border.
- Bake the tart for about 30 minutes, or until golden and cooked through. Let the tart sit for about 5 minutes to cool. Transfer it to a cutting board. Cut into 8 or 12 pieces and serve immediately.
For any bubbles that puff up when baking the tart, you can just poke them with the tip of a knife and they’ll deflate.
Cinnamon Apple Butter
slow-cooked homemade apple butter hinted with sweet cinnamon and brown sugar
- 4 lbs honeycrisp apples, cored + cut into ¾” chunks
- 2 cups apple cider
- 2 cups water
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 ½ cups brown sugar
- Add the apples, apple cider, water, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon sticks to a 6-7qt Dutch oven (or heavy-bottomed pot). Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks and set them aside. Transfer the apple mixture to a blender and blend until smooth. Pour the mixture back into the pot and add the cinnamon sticks again.
- Cook over medium-low heat for 1 hour, stirring often, or until the apple butter has thickened (when you dollop a small amount onto a plate, it should hold its shape fairly well).
- Turn off the heat and allow to cool for about 45 minutes, continuing to stir. Transfer the apple butter to an air-tight container (or into jars) and store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 months.
When the apple butter is cooking on the stove for the last hour after it’s been blended, it will splatter…a lot. Stirring often will help. Unfortunately, you can’t quite put a lid on the pot or else the liquid won’t evaporate like it needs to for the apple butter to thicken. It can be sticky and annoying, but I’d say the finished product is worth it. Be careful, though, because the apple butter will be very hot when it splatters.