I usually try to avoid posting other people's recipes straight since I think that there's not much point to it - why not just refer readers to the original recipe? Well, I'm going to do exactly that, for this caramel apple tart by Tish Boyle was so unbelievably delicious that I want to tell the whole world about it! I fell in love with caramelised fruits again after making tarte tatin a couple of times in the past few weeks, and I suddenly remembered that Tish has a recipe for a caramel apple tart on her blog. I tried making one and it was one of the nicest tarts I've ever had the fortune to have. The creamy caramel custard envelops the apples and almost acts as a sauce to the apples. While a tarte tatin needs some sort of cream to soften its edge, this tart needs no accompaniment and is utterly delicious on its own. Think of it as a mellower, self-saucing version of tarte tatin.
I couldn't resist tweaking the recipe slightly: I added an extra apple and skipped the cinnamon. I also macerated the apples in sugar before reducing the syrup drawn from the apples to a caramel before proceeding in similar fashion as as Tish had it. I prefer serving it cold, too.
Caramel apple tart(adapted from a recipe by Tish Boyle)
I make a similar tart by poaching pears in honey and use the poaching liquid to form a caramel. I then use the pear caramel to create a custard filling in exactly the same fashion as this apple tart. It's interesting how different people come up with similar concoctions separately!
Makes 8 servings
1 ¼ cups (150 g) all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes and frozen for 20 minutes
2 tablespoons shortening or lard
2 tablespoons ice water
1 egg white from the filling for eggwash, beaten with a fork
100g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
15g (1 tbsp) unsalted butter
2 pounds crisp apples (about 4 — I used 4 Red Delicious), peeled, cored and each cut into 12 wedges
180ml (¾ cup) double/heavy cream
3 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
2 tablespoons Calvados (optional)
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract (optional)
Macerate the apples:
Mix the apples with the sugar and salt in a large bowl, and let it macerate for at least 2 hours at room temperature.
Make the tart crust:
1. Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse few times to combine. Add the butter pieces and shortening and toss lightly with a spoon to coat them with flour. Blend the fat and flour with about five 1-second pulses or until the mixture is the texture of coarse meal with some of the butter pieces the size of peas. Sprinkle the water over the flour mixture and process continuously until the dough begins to clump together. Do not over-process; the dough should not form a ball. Turn the dough out onto a work surface and shape it into a thick 4-inch wide disc. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and chill until firm enough to roll, about 30 minutes.
2. Place unwrapped dough on a work surface that has been lightly dusted with flour. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into an 11-inch circle, lifting and rotating the dough often, while dusting the work surface and dough lightly with flour as necessary. Roll the dough up on the rolling pin and unroll it over a 9 1/2-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Gently press the dough onto the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Roll the pin over the top of the pan to trim off the excess dough. Refrigerate the crust for 20 minutes while you preheat the oven.
3. Preheat the oven to 190C/370°F and set a rack on the bottom third of the oven. Right before baking, line the dough with aluminium foil or parchment paper and cover with pie weights or dried beans. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Carefully lift the foil (along with the weights) out of the tart pan and bake the crust for 7 to 10 minutes longer, until lightly golden. Apply eggwash to the tart if you wish.
Make the filling:
4. Drain the apples with a colander set over a heavy skillet to let their juices dribble onto the pan. Reduce the syrup until it forms a light caramel. Add the butter and let it sizzle merrily. Carefully add the apple wedges and cook, turning them occasionally, for about 10 minutes, until they are softened and amalgamate lovingly with the caramel. Remove the pan from the heat and, using tongs or a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a bowl. Off the heat, gradually whisk in the cream (it will bubble up vigorously, so be careful). Drain the apples, adding any juice to the caramel cream, and arrange the wedges in the tart crust, in a spiral pattern. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet. Whisk the egg yolks, Calvados, cinnamon and vanilla into the caramel mixture. If you like, strain the mixture through a fine-mesh sieve. Place the tart into the oven and bake for 3 minutes to heat up the apples - this will make the filling bake quicker. Now carefully pour the filling into the tart pan, over the apples. Bake the tart for 5 minutes at 190C/375F before reducing the oven temperature to 150C/300°F and bake for another 15-20 minutes, until the custard is just set in the centre. Cool the tart on a wire rack completely, and chill until cold to serve.