Meleana’s Apple Tart

Meleana’s Apple Tart

By Meleana Estes

Inspired by the timeless elegance that defines my love for vintage style, my fall apple tart is a small tribute to a classic flavor that has graced holiday dinner tables for generations. 

Pie making in my ʻohana has always been a highlight of the holidays. It starts with digging into my mom’s small recipe rolodex to find our tried and true "Mary Bellʻs Pie Crust''. This shortbread style crust recipe was created by my Tūtū’s dear friend Mary Bell and it is perfect for apple, berry, pumpkin or any other pie we feel inclined to make that year.

On Kauaʻi the assembly line begins with my mom, sister and I to form the crusts, pop them into the fridge and start on the fillings. It feels effortless in this setting, filled with laughter, cooking with ease and now, teaching our kids to jump in. The team effort makes the process feel effortless, but when I am on O‘ahu and in a pinch (like I usually am) the entire pie process seems overwhelming! I always hope to evoke the same nostalgic and classic feel to any gathering, and when making pie myself, I start to play with a more loose and casual iteration of my family’s beloved pie recipe. 

The recipe below brings all the nostalgic feels with a free form, relaxed vibe while still honoring simplicity, elegance, and a celebration of tradition. For me, this dish represents heartwarming memories of the laughter and love that fill my home during this season of gratitude. I’m sharing this cherished recipe in hopes that you and your ‘ohana can also savor the familiar embrace of this dish, a constant on my table during the cozier months, and a testament to the enduring magic of timeless classics.



  • 1 disc the only pie crust 
  • 4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter
  • ⅓ cup light brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 lbs unpeeled crisp, tart apples such as pink lady or honeycrisp, thinly sliced. (2 pounds if you’re coring the apple)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • Granulated sugar, for sprinkling
  • Flaky salt, for sprinkling



Serves: 4-6


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.



On a lightly floured surface, roll out the crust into a circle about 15-16 inches in diameter. Transfer to a parchment-lined baking sheet and put in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.



Melt the butter in a small pot or skillet over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring or whisking occasionally until the butter starts to brown and foam, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Remove the pot from heat to cool, and use a whisk or fork to scrape up all the browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Set aside.



 Combine the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.



Arrange the apples in an even layer over the pie crusts, leaving about a 2” border. Pour or brush brown butter over the apples, then sprinkle with the brown sugar mixture. Fold the edges of the crust up over the apples, then brush the edges with an egg wash and sprinkle with granulated sugar and flaky salt.



Transfer to the oven and bake until deeply golden, about 60 to 75 minutes.





More from Off Island

May Day is Lei Day

May Day is Lei Day

Nothing says
Vegan Green Goddess Salad Recipe

Vegan Green Goddess Salad Recipe

We are always on the...

Merrie Monarch with Meleana

Merrie Monarch with Meleana

One of the many joys of the Merrie Monarch Festival is the...