Butter Rum Apple Crisp Tart & Pink Pearl Apples

Stumbling onto new varieties of apples is always such a wonderful treat. We keep mental notes of unique heirloom apple varieties, but because these varieties are often so difficult to source, we don’t often expect to find them even at our local farmers market. I’ve always had pink pearl apples on top of my wish list since I saw them featured in a magazine article long ago. Their pink flesh, delicate, pearly skin always reminded me of a fairy tale apple and I often find myself calling them Cinderella apples.

To my pleasant surprise, I stumbled on boxes of these beautiful specimens at Bi-Rite Market in San Francisco a few weeks ago while visiting for a shoot. When I recognized the beautiful skin of the apples from afar, I squealed out loud like a little girl finding a new barbie doll. Oh my goodness! Pink pearl apples….these are pink pearls! I’ve always wanted to bite into one and see if it really is as beautiful and delicious as everyone says!

I grabbed a bag and stuffed it full to three pounds worth of pink pearl jewels. They felt like jewels to me. It doesn’t take much to make me happy.

Before I could exit the store, I bit into an apple, negated all my proper lady-like manners and squealed out loud again with a mouth full of crisp, juicy tart flesh.

Oh it really is pink inside! It’s so gorgeous! I’m in love!

Take at the incredible flesh and beautiful skin of these apples. Aren’t they just stunning?

Never have I ever been so impressed with an apple that is not only gorgeous on the outside and inside, but also wonderful to eat as well. Often times, the most delicious heirloom apples I’ve had are the fugly ugly ones. Gorgeous, perfectly grown apples don’t impress me because rarely have I ever found one to taste as good as it looks.

But these pink pearl apples completely threw me off guard because I wasn’t expecting to find them, and when I did stumble on them, they were as beautiful as they were delicious.

After coming home from San Francisco, I wasn’t able to eat them fast enough. To make sure none of these apples went to waste, Todd made these fantastic butter rum apple crisp tarts with the pink pearls. Not only are they such a treat to eat fresh, they’re also perfect for baking because of their tart flavor.

These butter rum apple tarts are absolutely wonderful and now that Fall has arrived and a plethora of apples start inundating the farmers market, the options for these tarts are endless. Not only am I enjoying them for dessert, but I’m confident that they’ll pair wonderfully with my espresso tomorrow morning for breakfast. When possible, eat apple tarts for breakfast to start your day off right.

happy Fall,


More apple recipes:

Broiled leeks with apple vinaigrette
Apple galette with brown butter
Butternut squash and apple casserole

Butter Rum Apple Crisp Tart

Yield: 8 Tartlets

Total Time: 1 hour

For this recipe we used Pink Pearl apples, but feel free to use any good baking apple. You can easily make this recipe into 2 larger tarts instead of the little tartlets, but the smaller size is a nice for individual or party desserts. The recipe may look long, but it is actually fairly quick and easy to make. The directions are broken down into their groupings to help make efficient use the the crust and toppings texture gain by slightly cooling before rolling or baking. Make the dough, while that chills make the filling, while that cools, make the topping, while that chills, start rolling the dough and fill, then top and bake.
We love the dual texture of the tart bottom, and the crisp topping, but if pressed for time, one could always just make a crisp by filling a baking dish with the apple filling, topping with the oat topping, then bake. But if you have the extra 15 minutes and the tart pans, make the crust. It is delicious and easy to make and handle.


Tart Crust Ingredients

  • 2 cups (250g) Flour
  • 1 stick (115g) cold unsalted Butter, cut into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 teaspoon (5g) Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) Sugar
  • 2 lrg Egg Yolks
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) cold Water

Tart Filling

  • 7-8 medium Apples, peeled, cored, & sliced about 1/4" thin
  • 1 stick (115g) unsalted Butter, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) Dark Rum
  • 1/3 cup (85g) packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons (15g) Flour
  • 2 teaspoons (10ml) Lemon Juice

Tart Crisp Topping

  • 1/3 cup (50g) Flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) packed Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon (3g) Kosher or Sea Salt
  • 1/2 stick (57g) cold unsalted Butter
  • 2/3 cup (60g) Old Fashioned Oats


Preheat oven to 375°F. Set aside eight 4 3/4" x 3/4" or 4" x 1 1/4" tartlet pans

Make Crust Dough

  1. In a medium bowl, pinch together flour, butter pieces, salt, and sugar with your fingertips until most of the big chunks of butter are flattened or broken up.
  2. Whisk together egg yolks and cold water until combined. Incorporate into flour mix until flour binds together and forms a rough ball (you may need to gently knead the ball to get the last of the flour to incorporate into the ball.)
  3. Divide the ball into 8 equal pieces (@110g each) roll each into a ball then flatten slightly into disks. Set aside in refrigerator until filling and topping is made.

Make Tart Filling

  1. Place sliced apples in a large bowl. Gently melt butter and add rum to butter. Set aside to cool slightly while combining other ingredients.
  2. Add brown sugar, flour and lemon juice to the apples. Toss gently to evenly coat apples. Pour in butter-rum mix to apples. Toss gently to mix and set aside.

Make Crisp Topping

  1. In a medium bowl, pinch together flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter until it resembles coarse sand. Using your hands, pinch and mix in oats until oats are evenly mixed and are in small clumps. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to top tarts.


  1. Lightly flour a work surface. One at a time, roll out crust dough disks until large enough to place in tartlet pans (@ 7" x 1/8"). Line dough into pans, pressing sides into grooves of pan. Remove excess dough edges by folding it out and pressing it against the tops of the molds. Dock (form little indentions) the base of the tarts with your fingertips. Repeat with remaining disks of dough.
  2. Layer in apple filling into each tart. Remove oat topping from refrigerator and divide topping between the tarts.
  3. Place pans on a sheet pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until crust and topping are golden brown. Set aside to cool slightly, then un-mold and serve.
Recipe Source: WhiteOnRiceCouple.com.

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Mary

    So gorgeous! I love that they keep that rosy color after baking, too. (Almost looks like cooked quince.) And I’m so glad to hear that they taste as good as they look. I’ll have to see if I can find any here in Chicago.

  2. Cheese with Noodles

    Oh, those apples are so pretty! Never seen anything like them. Good to hear they taste great, also! I will keep my eyes peeled though I doubt I will find them in Alaska. We’re just thrilled about finally being able to buy Honeycrisp apples (our favorite!) up here.

  3. Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

    Oh my god! That looks too beautiful to eat!!

  4. Jesse


  5. Anson


  6. @savvyjulie

    I totally need to find some pink pearl apples! http://t.co/kxfj2vQn

  7. @savvyjulie

    I totally need to find some pink pearl apples!

  8. Miyuki

    These look delicious! Will definitely take a look at the recipe. It’s great to discover and learn new stuff through your site. Love the pictures as well!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      We’ll have to make these for you sometime. So tasty!

  9. Heather

    Beautiful. I wish I could find these in NYC!

  10. dervla

    Wow, i have to find these apples now! They are stunning.

  11. Helene

    I have never seen a pink pearl apple in Canada. Your pies turned out looking so good and yummy! Love that time of the year when apples are in season.

  12. Mary@siftingfocus.com

    I have a whole list of heirloom apples I am dying to try. Living on the West Coast, I think the only way I will ever get to taste most of them is if I get them through mail order. This recipe sounds perfect – keeping the focus on the apples with the butter and rum in supporting roles. I will definitely be trying these – and soon!

  13. terri

    I think that might be the variety we have growing behind our little rental place. Unfortunately, the coddling moths get most of them. We haven’t yet figured out an organic method for getting rid of the coddling moths…

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Terri- If this is the variety that you have growing, then you are oh so lucky.

  14. Diane, A Broad

    How very beautiful those apples are! I’ll be keeping an eye out for them myself now.

  15. Suzanne Perazzini

    These apples are certainly pretty and the addition of rum, my favourite alcoholic drink, is a winner for me.

  16. dana @dbuenovida

    diane and todd – your work is breathtaking, truly!

  17. Angela

    Beautiful. Bi-Rite has some great apples these days. SF is a little far for daily shopping so I’m hoping to find these at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.

  18. Gerry @ Foodness Gracious

    Fantastic colors! If I see them in the store I’ll do exactly as you did, but more manly, maybe like a grunt or a deep roar 😉

  19. Colette @ JFF!

    Those apples are as beautiful as their name. I’ve gotta get my hands on some!

  20. @sitesnbites

    Yum so Fall.

  21. @sitesnbites

    Yum so Fall. RT @WhiteOnRice: Gorgeous pink pearl apples & a butter rum apple crisp tart http://t.co/dbO6kINb

  22. LiztheChef

    I can see this in your cookbook!

  23. @alicia_carlson

    Do any #Massachusetts orchards have these #apples?

  24. harveys mom

    wow that recipe looks delicious Diane!!!!
    so now that you’ve completely made us all want these apples, we have to find them in Orange
    County. Any ideas?
    Thanks again for your wonderful blog and give the puppy a kiss.

    1. White on Rice Couple

      harveys mom- hello! We have not found them at any market in Orange County yet. We’ve had our eye on them for so long and finally found them in Northern California. Perhaps they require cooler weather to grow. But we’ll certainly keep an eye out and will let you know if any come up in OC.

  25. @alisonlewis

    yum! Butter Rum Apple Crisp Tart & Pink Pearl Apples http://t.co/7oXn4FKx via @WhiteOnRice

  26. Alicia

    How beautiful! I’m going to look for those apples around here! (I had the same reaction when I found pluots in a local market. 🙂 )

  27. Lynne @ 365 Days of Baking

    Oh, Diane, how gorgeous are those?! I never even knew they existed. I’m thinking a trip to Whole Foods might be in order, maybe they’ll have them.
    The recipe sounds incredible, too! Thanks for sharing and as always, STUNNING pictures!!

  28. bea

    These are *so* pretty! Love the flesh color. I will have to look for them! 😉 Lovely recipe too.

  29. @PetitFoodie


  30. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel

    I’ve never seen an apple that looks like that before! Beautiful!

  31. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I would squeal with delight over those apples, too – they are gorgeous! And so is the tart you made. Love the opening shot! And butter + rum is always a winning combo 🙂

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