Caramel Apple Tarts
December 20, 2010
Oh, it is a good thing to have a refrigerator full of caramel sauce. When I set out last week to make a pot full of caramel sauce, I truly intended to pass it on to well deserving friends and family. As the days wear on however, I can see the supply dwindling. The problem is… it is really good! (If you don’t yet have a fridge full, check out my post on Edible Gifts! Chocolate and Caramel Sauces. ) First was the obvious, caramel over ice cream (which has possibly converted this chocolate faithful to the caramel side of the ice cream shop), then apples dipped in caramel (it’s OK to eat it as a snack then, right?), and then putting it all together for one holiday worthy dessert. Tonight’s dessert was part apple crisp, part caramel apple, entirely decadent and yet homey, the caramel apple tart.
This recipe has been sitting in my “someday I want to make” pile for over a year. It was originally published in Bon Appetit magazine, May 2009 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito and originates at the restaurant, Baked, in New York. Here is the concept: individual tart crusts, baked off in advance, then layered with caramel sauce, sauteed apples, and crisp topping. These tasty tarts are then baked again until the sugary syrup bubbles up and the topping browns. The original recipe suggests pairing these with Cinnamon-Rum ice cream (and provides a delicious sounding recipe- you should check it out on Epicurious). I couldn’t manage the extra prep, so I topped it with good ol’ vanilla and a drizzle of caramel sauce. No complaints.
This recipe is elegant enough to serve for guests, but could easily be cut in half if you are cooking for a just few people. It makes 6- 4 1/2 inch tarts or you could roll all the dough out into one 9 or 10 inch tart. (The individual tarts are special, but pretty big for one person. We ended up cutting them in half and that was plenty after a big dinner.) It is best to use tart pans with removable bottoms if you have them. (Thank you, Santa!) If you do not have a tart pan, you can still enjoy this dessert. Either put the crust into a pie pan or create a free form tart on a baking sheet.
There are a number of steps in creating these tarts, but most can be done in advance. This makes it a great dessert for entertaining. I baked off the tart shells and made the filling and crumb topping all before our guest arrived. Just before dinner I assembled the tarts and slide them into the oven. We ate warm tarts for dessert without having to fuss with them while our guests were here.
Caramel Apple Tarts
adapted from Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
(published in Bon Appetit, May 2009)
Makes 6- 4 1/2 inch tarts or one 10 inch tart
1/3 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
2 Tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 3/4-inch pieces (or half Granny Smith, half Golden Delicious)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon whiskey
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Whisk brown sugar, cinnamon, and cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside. Saute apples in butter until they begin to soften. Add sugar/ cornstarch mix and continue cooking until bubbly. Add vanilla and whiskey. Cook until liquid begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Set aside, cover, and cool.
Spoon 1-2 Tablespoons of caramel sauce over the base of each tart shell. Divide the apple mixture into each tart, leaving most of the liquid behind. Top with the crumb topping. Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the juices are bubbling up and the topping is beginning to brown. Cool on a rack 5 minutes. Gently remove from tart pans. Cool 10 more minutes on the rack. Serve with ice cream and a drizzle of caramel. Yum!
Here is a printer-friendly version of the recipe: Caramel Apple Tarts
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