Szarlotka: Traditional Polish Apple Tart

Slice of apple pie and cup of coffee
Armando Mejía / EyeEm / Getty Images
Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 105 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
484 Calories
26g Fat
62g Carbs
6g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 484
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 26g 33%
Saturated Fat 14g 72%
Cholesterol 169mg 56%
Sodium 226mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 62g 23%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Protein 6g
Calcium 64mg 5%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Apple tart or szarlotka is the Polish version of American apple pie, except the crust is sweeter and made with butter and egg yolks, and the apple filling is cooked. Recipes vary widely from home to home and region to region. Some szarlotki feature grated crumbles of the crust on top; others feature a lattice top and some have a simple streusel.

Szarlotka is different from placek ze jablka or apple cake, which is leavened with baking powder or baking soda. But, these two desserts (apple cake and apple pie) along with sernik, or cheesecake, make up the most frequently seen sweets in Polish homes and restaurants.


  • Tart Dough:
  • 13 tablespoons butter (cold, cut into pieces)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon heavy cream
  • Apple Filling:
  • 3 pounds apples (tart apples, like Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 cup sugar (or more to taste)
  • Optional: 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Glaze:
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream

Steps to Make It

Making the Dough

  1. In a large bowl, combine sugar and flour, and cut in butter as for pie dough.

  2. Combine egg yolk with 1 tablespoon heavy cream. Add to flour-sugar-butter mixture and bring pastry to a ball.

  3. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Making the Filling

  1. Meanwhile, for the filling, mix the cubed apples with the lemon juice, and place in a nonstick skillet. Saute until most of the juices have evaporated and the apples are just starting to soften but are still raw. Remove from heat and let cool.

  2. When cool, combine with sugar and cinnamon, if using.

  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll 2/3 of pastry dough to a 14-inch circle, and fit into a 12-inch tart pan, doubling the side walls. Or fit into a 10-inch deep-dish pie pan. Return to refrigerator and chill for 30 minutes.

  4. Roll 1/3 of pastry dough to 1/4-inch thickness, and, using a pizza cutter, make enough 1/2-inch strips for a lattice top. Place on flat surface, and refrigerate for 30 minutes. You might have dough left over, which is great for small tarts.

  5. Heat oven to 375 F.

  6. Place lined tart pan on a baking pan and top the pastry with a piece of parchment paper and pie weights or dried beans. Bake blind for 15-20 minutes or until pastry is lightly golden.

  7. Remove from oven and remove the parchment and pie weights.

  8. Add the cooled apple filling to the parbaked crust. Remove pastry dough strips from refrigerator and make a lattice top over the filling.

  9. Brush lattice strips with heavy cream, and bake an additional 25-30 minutes or until filling is bubbly. Remove from oven, and let cool.

  10. Serve warm, at room temperature, or chilled. A dollop of whipped cream never hurts!