apple tart with cheddar crumble for the gluten-free ratio rally

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The first time I brought my husband Patrick over to my grandmother's house, she tried to poison him. Well... not poison per sae... but unintentionally glutened.

We were having a family dinner and she wanted to prepare for him the dessert she is well known for: her apple cheddar casserole. Generally served crustless, the dessert was always baked in a rectangular casserole dish. 

She usually sliced the apples thin, tossed them with cinnamon and sugar, and topped the whole thing with a cheddar crumble. 

As a child I'd always thought that combination was so creative. Sometimes we'd even nuke a couple cheddar-topped apple slices in the microwave as an afternoon snack. And up until my early adulthood, I largely thought she was the inventor of cheese + apples. 

So when she suggested the dessert as one to woo this new boyfriend of mine, I thought it would be perfect.

Doing my due diligence I gave her the gluten-free rundown. I don't think she'd ever made anything for someone following a gluten-free diet so I tried to give her the cliff notes and keep things simple. She told me how she generally made the casserole and it seemed like it would be easy enough to adapt to be gluten free. In preparation for our visit, she event went to the grocery store and picked up some Bob's Red Mill flour mix which I'd recommended as a good all-purpose flour. 

After our gluten-free meal she brought out the casserole. I beamed at Patrick knowing he was about to try something that was unique to anything he'd ever tried before and something I've always loved since childhood. We gobbled up our servings, and settled in the living room for tea and coffee.

About 30 minutes later Patrick started casually questioning my grandmother about the casserole and what was in it. She went over to the cabinet and retrieved the bag of Bob's flour mix that she'd purchased. Without saying a word Patrick held the bag out to me. It was pure vital wheat gluten... By Bob's Red Mill. My poor grandmother had gone to the grocery store and accidentally grabbed the wrong bag. 

We thanked her very much for the meal and made a hasty departure. 

I don't think Patrick has eaten her casserole since (or even apples + cheddar for that matter). It's really too bad because the casserole is so delicious. It really doesn't deserve to be associated with the accidental poisoning incident... or casseroles. The dessert was in need of a second chance. 

This month I have the great pleasure of hosting the gluten-free ratio rally and thought it would be fun to do tarts! If you aren't familiar with the gluten-free ratio rally, it's a group of bloggers who have a virtual blog meetup each month where they try to solve gluten-free baking challenges using ratios. 

So for my post, I thought it would be fun to reinvent my grandmother's recipe into a tart. A gluten-free (no REALLY this time) apple and cheddar tart. 

In my quest to make this tart I had to consider two possible types of crusts and their respective ratios:

  • pie crust: tender and flaky with little air pockets. 3:2:1, flour:fat:liquid
  • shortbread crust: sweet, tender, and more cookie like. 1:2:3, sugar:fat:flour

Because I was adding the cheddar on the top of the tart, I decided that the somewhat sweeter shortbread-type crust would be the way to go. And in fact, I was not disappointed. 

Each bite tasted of childhood. And of redemption. Sweet sweet, gluten-free redemption.

apple tart with cheddar cheese crumble, gluten free

This tart is adapted from my grandmother's recipe for her apple cheddar casserole. It's done in three parts but takes about 30 minutes of prep time start to finish. I used a mix of tart green apples and sweet red apples to balance the sweetness, but really you can't go wrong with any combination of apples.


  • 1/2 c (50 g) almond meal
  • 1 c  (160 g) gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 c (50 g) powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 5 tablespoons lard, chilled and grated
  • 5 tablespoons butter, chilled and grated


  • 1 c (100 g) almond meal
  • 1/2 c (100 g) sugar 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 c (90 g) grated cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 c (112 g)  butter


  • 5 apples, washed and thinly sliced using a mandolin
  • 1/4 c sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons water

For the crust: Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add grated fats. Dough will look like sand but will hold together when pressed between two fingers. Toss until well combined or if using a mixer use a dough hook until dough just starts to come together. Grease a 9" tart pan and lay a parchment circle at the base. Press dough into tart pan. Place pan in the freezer to chill while making the rest of the tart.

For the topping: Mix almond meal, sugar, salt, and cheese in a bowl and set aside. In a microwave-safe container, melt butter. Let it cool and then add it to the almond meal mixture. 

For the filling: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Toss all ingredients together until apples are nicely coated. Arrange apple slices in the chilled tart pan. Evenly distribute the crumble on top of the apples. Bake for 45 minutes or until the top starts to get golden brown. Let cool and enjoy!


For more gluten-free tart recipes, be sure to check out the posts from the other rally participants!


Hi! I&;d love to join this ratio rally sometime. I&;ve been in the food preserving world for so long, but I am a gluten free baker as well.
How would I go about it?
... I love apples and cheddar together!

Hi Tamika! We&;d love to have you join. Just email me at and we&;ll get you set up!

This looks .... INCREDIBLE!!!! I can&;t wait to try it. Thank you for hosting us this month! :)

Love the story. It is always a treat to hear about the near misses and downright oops that happen when well intentioned folks attempt their first gluten free baking.
This recipe is certainly on my list of to trys.
Thanks for hosting.

You chose a splendid story to back a stupendous recipe! This looks absolutely divine, especially with a lover of apples such as myself.

Thank you for hosting this month!

I don&;t think I&;ve ever had apples and cheddar together, especially as a dessert...Now I&;m going to have to try it! :) Thanks so much for hosting us this month!

I *love* the broken fork at the end! And that story - wow. It&;s the thought that counts, right? Wonderful offering this month from our wonderful host. Thank you!

Thanks Jonathan! I guess prop silverware really shouldn&;t be used for actual eating. ;) lesson learned, but I did kinda dig the resulting photo!

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