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Friday, April 5, 2013

Caramel-Apple Tart and Tartlets

I love these sweet apple tarts, they have all the lovely flavor of apple pie ~ buttery crust and lots of apples, with the addition of caramel and a crunchy topping that just takes this to over the top deliciousness.  They are a bit complex to make, but are well worth the time and effort.  They can be made as a large tart or mini tartlets.  Serve with Vanilla Ice Cream or Whipped Cream!

Crust:  1 stick unsalted butter at room temp
1/4 cup sugar, 1 large egg, 1 1/2 cups four, 1/4 tsp salt
Caramel Sauce:  2/3 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water
1/4 cup heavy cream, 3 Tbsps unsalted butter, 1/4 tsp salt
Crumb topping: 6 Tbsps flour, 6 Tbsps packed dark brown sugar, 1/4 tsp salt,
 1/3 cup pecans toasted, 3 Tbsps chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2" cubes
Filling:  1/2 cup packed golden brown sugar, 1/2 tsp cornstarch, 2 Tbsps unsalted butter
2 lbs Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and cut into 3/4" pieces, 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
For crust:  In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat butter and sugar until blended.  Beat in egg.  Add the flour and salt and beat just until incorporated.  Gather dough into ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.  If making tartlets- use 6  4 1/2" tartlet pans with  removable bottoms ~  divide batter into 6 equal pieces, gather each piece into a ball, then flatten each slightly.  Roll each one out on a lightly floured surface to a 4-4 1/2 " round ~ for mini tart pans as pictured above roll dough to fit.  Press each dough onto bottom and up along sides of  tartlet pans and pierce crust with fork, several times.  If using 1 large tart pan with removable bottom:  roll out dough to slightly larger then pan, press in pan and up along sides.  Roll a rolling pan over pan to evenly cut off excess dough from edges.  Freeze crusts for about 30 minutes.  Then preheat oven to 375 and bake crusts until golden brown and baked through about 30 mins, but adjust depending on size of your pans.  Cool crusts in pans on rack.  This can be done a day ahead, and crusts can be stored in pans in an airtight container.
For caramel sauce:  Combine sugar and water in a heavy med saucepan, stir over med-low heat until sugar dissolves.  Increase heat and boil without stirring until syrup reaches a deep amber color.  Brush down sides of pan occasionally with a wet pastry brush, about 6 mins.  Remove pan from heat, add cream, then butter and salt, stir until smooth.
For crumb topping:  In a food processor, blend flour, brown sugar, and slat, add pecans and blend until coarsely chopped.  Add butter and process just until small moist clumps form.
For filling:  Whisk brown sugar and cornstarch in a bowl to blend.  Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over med heat.  Add the apple pieces and sauté until almost tender, about 10 mins.  Add brown sugar mixture, stir until sugar dissolves, then add vanilla and cinnamon.  Simmer until juices are bubbling and slightly thickened, about 5 mins.  Remove from heat, and let cool completely.
Put it all together:  Preheat oven to 375 degrees, arrange tart/tartlets on a rimmed baking sheet.  Spoon 1 1/2 Tbsps caramel sauce into each tartlet crust, or all of caramel sauce into large tart crust.  Divide cooled apple filling among crusts, or all in large crust.  Sprinkle crumb topping evenly over each tart/let.  Bake until apple filling is bubbling and topping is crisp and golden, 25-30 mins. for tartlets, a little longer for large tart.  Cool 5 mins, then carefully loosen tart/lets from sides of pans with small sharp knife and remove pan sides.  Cool and serve. 
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine
 Tartlet and Tart Pans available in my baking store, here:
Kaiser Bakeware Basic Tinplate 11-Inch Round Quiche Pan with Removable BottomWilton Perfect Results 4.75 Inch Round Tart/Quiche Pan, Set of 6