Saturday, November 14, 2015

Caramel Apple Tart (With a Twist)

I was watching an episode of The Great British Baking Show several weeks ago, and was inspired by something one of the contestants had made. Kimberly whipped out an amazing sounding caramel apple pie with rosemary and pecans (yay, Kimberly).
I decided I wanted to come up with a version.
(It's already been determined that I'm quite alright with caramel and rosemary.)

Well, I think it's one of those everything-all-at-once fall flavor dishes.
And I'm ok with that.

(And as a side note, in case anyone is dying to know, I prefer pies to cakes. But I prefer tarts to pies. Exactly why, I'm not certain. But I definitely think cake is better eaten in the afternoon- not as an evening dessert. Tarts better serve that evening role.)

Granted, not everyone may be ok with nuts, or rosemary... and that's ok too. Adjust as you see fit.

This is something to do on one of those days when you're spending time around the house getting some of this and that taken care of- perhaps a good rainy day project.  It's an activity you can be attentive to when your attention is required, on and off.  And sure, it may or may not be slightly involved.
Otherwise, you can take care of other matters.

Now we talk apples.  When baking, I think it's important to go for something a bit tart, or a variety that's both tart and sweet: Jonathon, Gravenstein, Empire, Cortland, Braeburn, Honeycrisp, and Pink Lady are all examples in this range. I personally don't want overly sweet apple desserts, but especially in this case as you'll be dressing those apples up a bit with caramel.

And leftovers for breakfast? Yes.
I'm ok with that, too.

Rosemary and Caramel Apple Tart
makes one 10 inch tart, serves 8-10

1/2 c (80 g) brown rice flour
1/4 c (45 g) potato starch
1/4 c (32 g) tapoica flour
1/4 c (25 g) oat flour
1/2 t (2 g) xanthan gum
1 1/2 T (22 g) sugar
1/4 t (2 g) salt
1 T (2 g) fresh rosemary needles, minced
8 T (114 g) unsalted butter, cold and cut into about 8 pieces
2 T (30 g) cream cheese, divided into 4 or 5 pieces

2 lb. (1 scant kilo) apples, see above for recommendations, peeled and sliced into thin pieces (24ths or so)
1/4 c (54 g) sugar

2/3 to 3/4 c (70-90 g) pecans, chopped 

2/3 c (148 g) sugar
1/3 c (80 ml) heavy cream
2 T (30 g) butter
1/4 t (2 g) fine sea salt

Prepare the pastry. In the bowl of a food processor, process the flours, xanthan gum, sugar, salt and rosemary until well blended. Add the butter and cream cheese and process until the mixture comes together into a ball of dough. Place the dough in a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper, wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour.
Remove the dough from the fridge and let sit on the counter to warm 10 minutes so it's more manageable.
Unwrap the dough and roll between two sheets of plastic wrap or parchment paper until it's big enough to fit the bottom and up the sides of the tart tin (maybe 12-13 inches in diameter). Remove the top sheet of plastic or paper, pick up the bottom sheet with the dough, and invert the dough onto a 10 inch tart pan with a removable bottom.Carefully tuck the dough into the sides and crevices. Trim any extra dough hanging over the top and use it to patch holes, cracks, or any thin spots (or fold it down for a thicker crust edge). 
Freeze the prepared tart dough 15 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C, with a sheet pan on the middle rack.
Remove the tart pan from the oven and bake 20-25 minutes, until the bottom is set and dry to the touch.

Meanwhile, toss the sliced apples with sugar in a large bowl and let them sit while the pastry bakes so that they give off a bit of moisture.
When the pastry is ready, remove the tart and sheet pan from the oven, and increase the heat to 375 F /190 C.
Scatter about half of the pecans over the bottom of the crust. Top the crust with apples, partially overlapped and placed in concentric circles starting from the outside and moving inward. Fill in any small gaps throughout with apple slices broken in half. As you do this, pull out slices one by one from the bowl to reserve the juice in the bowl. 
Place the tart and sheet pan back in the oven and bake 40-50 minutes total, until the edges of the crust are pale golden.

Meanwhile, make the caramel. Place the sugar in a medium saucepan over medium heat and pour the reserved sugary apple juice over it. Let the sugar melt and then caramelize until it reaches a deep amber. Do not stir the caramel, but you may shake and tilt the pan to redistribute the sugar granules. Remove the pan from the heat. When the sugar has completely melted and caramelized, add the butter. Once the butter has melted, carefully pour in the cream (it will likely sputter) and whisk until smooth. You may need to place the pan over low heat to re-melt the sugar and incorporate. Stir in the salt and remove the finished caramel to a bowl until ready to use.

This will take a little estimation: When you think the tart has about 10 minutes left to bake, lightly tamp down the apples from above, then scatter the remaining pecans over the top. Return the tart to the oven to finish and toast the pecans.

Remove the tart from the oven and drizzle about half the caramel over the top.
Let the tart cool completely, slice, plate, and drizzle remaining caramel over (you may want to warm the caramel a bit if it's not at optimal flow for drizzling).

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, that looks amazing! So want to try this one! It looks scrummy--definitely style and substance there.