The other night, Jason and I invited some new friends Jorge and Angelica over for dinner. We decided to challenge ourselves by cooking up a new menu – from start to finish – everything we made was something we had never tried before. For dessert, I made this caramel apple tart which is a recipe from Susan Spungen.
Fall is my favorite season. Being a native New Englander, I find the changing colors of the leaves and the cool and crisp air incredibly romantic and beautiful. People who aren’t from the Northeast may find the idea of leaf peeping silly, but I don’t find it silly at all. When I look out at a landscape awash in red, gold, and flame orange – a magical feeling comes over me and I think to myself, lucky lucky me. Life is so full of beauty.
I always associate fall with apples. As much as I love LA, I don’t think I’ll get a chance to see the foliage or go apple picking this year. The good news is that I can eat apples, and enjoy apple dessert and this one is just so perfect for right now.
Caramel Apple Tart (makes one 8-10 inch tart)
Start by making the tart dough:
- 1 cup all purpuse flour
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp sugar
- 6 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cute into 1/4 inch piece
- ice water
1. Combine flour, salt, sugar in a chilled bowl and whisk to combine. Cut the cold butter into flour using pastry blender until the largest butter pieces are about the size of almonds. Using your fingers, break down the pieces of butter until the largest pieces are the size of large peas. Use a fork to stir as you dribble in 1 tablespoon to 1/8 cup ice water a little at time. To test whether you have added enough water, squeeze a bit of the mixture in your hand and see if it holds together. Firmly press down dough in bowl and knead 1-2 x until it holds together in a mass.
2. Place the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap, loosely gather up the wrap and firmly press down into a rough circle about 1 inch thick. Chill until firm (at least 1 hour or overnight)
Caramel Apple Filling
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 4 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 8 wedges each
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 tablespoon milk
- Make the caramelized apples: Stir together 2/3 cup water and sugar in a large, light-colored frying or saute pan no smaller than 10 inches diameter. Do not stir! Just swirl the pan gently to keep caramel cooking evernly. If you notice undissolved sugar on the sides of the pan, brush them down with water to prevent crystallization
- Cook over medium-high heat, swirling occasionally. As the caramel begins to darken, swirl more frequently to even out the color. Cook until the sugar is a dark amber color, 15-20 minutes, depending on the size and weight of the pan. If the sugar is cooking too quickly, reduce the heat to medium.
- As soon as the caramel is ready, add the butter, immediately followed by the apples. the caramel will sputter a bit when apples are added so be careful! toss well to combine.
- Continue cooking over medium high heat until the apples begin to turn transparent around the edges (about 15 min). After the initial stir, it is important that you gently toss the apples (I used tongs to flip), rather than stir, so the apples do not fall apart. When the apples are done, turn off the heat. Add the vanilla extract and toss a few times. immediately transfer to a nonstick baking sheet and gently spread them into a single layer to cool
- Roll out the dough – take out of fridge and let the dough soften a bit until lit is malleable. Lightly flour your work surfce and rough the dough from center out, using firm pressure until it is roughly a 14×16 in rectangle (I just estimated this)
- Transfer rolled dough to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Add the apples to the center of dough, leaving a 1.5 inch border. Gently fold the edge of the crust up and over the apples, tearing off excess dough if it is covering too much filling. There should be a 2 inch edge of dough on all sides with center over (see below). Refrigerate until firm
- Preheat over to 375F, position rack in center of over
- Whisk together egg yolk and cream, brush lightly on the edge of the tart. Bake tgeh tart, rotating the pan halfway through, until crust is golden and the apples are bubbling, about 35 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool slightly.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with creme fraiche or ice cream!