Caramel Apple Tart
Caramel and apples…is there really a more harmonious relationship out there? Like the dish who ran away with the spoon, this couple here has toyed with our imaginations and taste buds for as long as you can remember, I wager. What Halloween would be complete without a caramel apple with its sticky goodness heralding in the night of wondrous sugar rushes for all kids far and wide? Or what about what I like to affectionately call Liquid Christmas ™…a steaming mug of apple cider sprinkled with caramel sauce and cinnamon and then topped with whipped cream? Yes, you know it to be true…caramel and apples…match made in heaven right there!
I first came across this tart when I was looking for something to make as a thank you gift. Early last summer, my father had taken ill and had to stay in long term care at a rehabilitation hospital. We were fortunate enough in that his facility was filled with the most wondrous and caring nurses who helped him recover and get him into the next stage of his rehabilitation. This tart, boasting a homemade caramel sauce, big chunks of apple, and a sweet pâte sucrée seemed to be the right gift with which to convey my heartfelt thanks and gratitude. In the end, I was right…this tart received rave reviews from the staff and my father was very pleased and proud. Tart well done!
This tart is a little more involved than my previously posted tart, but it is well worth the extra effort. The pâte sucrée listed here comes together in a snap with a food processor, but be warned…I’ve only successfully been able to roll this out once. If your dough proves to be uncooperative, feel free to just press it into the pan into the desired shape. I did the last few times and while perhaps not quite as aesthetically pleasing, it gets the job done.
The highlight of this tart is hands down the homeade caramel sauce. Sweet, creamy, and delicious, this sauce really makes the tart and brings it to the next level. It’s not just about the apples here, it’s about the perfect harmony between apples tossed lightly in sugar, cinnamon, and cardamom and caramelized butter and sugar. Remember your first caramel apple? This is what happens to that caramel apple after it’s grown up and is now wearing a designer wardrobe. Who needs Halloween now?
Caramel Apple Tart
Adapted from Bon Appétit | November 2006
For Caramel sauce
3/4 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, diced
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
5 large McIntosh or Empire Apples (about 2 3/4 pounds), peeled, quartered, cored
For caramel sauce:
Bring sugar, cream, and butter to boil in heavy medium saucepan over medium-high heat, whisking constantly until sugar dissolves. Boil until caramel thickens enough to coat spoon thickly, whisking often, about 10 minutes. Caramel sauce can be made 5 days ahead. Cover; chill. Whisk over low heat until warm before using.
Blend flour, powdered sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and blend until coarse meal forms. Add egg yolks. Pulse until moist clumps form. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap and chill at least 1 hour. Dough for tart crust can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.
Whisk first 4 ingredients in large bowl to blend. Add apples and toss until evenly coated.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch-diameter tart pan with removable bottom. Cut overhang even with top of pan sides. Press sides of dough to bring 1/4 inch above sides of pan. Arrange apple quarters, cut side down, in circle around outer edge of pan, fitting snugly. Cut remaining apple quarters lengthwise in half; stand in center of tart, fitting snugly.
Bake tart until apples are tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove tart from oven; brush with some of caramel sauce. Cool tart to room temperature. Rewarm remaining caramel sauce. Drizzle tart lightly with sauce. Serve, passing remaining sauce separately.