APPLES, APPLES AND MORE APPLES
Apples have exploded all over my kitchen, not literally thank goodness. For the last few weeks I've been thinking constantly about what delicious desserts and sweet treats I can make with apples - apple cake, apple macaroons, apple pie, apple tarts. You see where I'm going. In addition I've been reducing cups of apple cider down to a thick delicious syrup and thinking of ways to punch up the flavors of my desserts. I broke my wrist in October so I didn't bake much, now I am playing catch up.
This Apple Crumb Tart is the first apple dessert out of my kitchen and I'll be posting my recipe for Apple Cider Donuts soon. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Braeburn apples as they are both my favorite - the Granny Smith for baking and the Braeburn for baking. True confession time. I tend to snack on some of the apples as I am peeling and cutting them up. But I discovered that the peels of fresh organic apples are really good, so I saved them and snacked on them later.
Cinnamon and nutmeg are two of my favorite spices when cooking with apples, but ever since I went to London this past summer to compete in the Great American Baking Show I've become a big fan of cardamom. It's hard for me to describe the taste, but it's like a combination of fragrant and minty. So for this tart, I use a combination of all three spices.
HOW TO MAKE THE APPLE CRUMBLE TART
I make enough pate sucree for two tarts and stick the extra in the freezer. This recipe is great because the dough doesn't slide down the side of the pan, but I tend to be cautious and blind bake (using dried beans) just to be sure. I use a little almond flour for extra flavor, but you can use hazelnut flour instead or just use all flour if you are allergic to nuts.
The crumble was more of a challenge then I expected. The first version was a little wet, I used less butter in the 2nd version and it was like eating sand. Even my pictures looked like I had sprinkled sand on top. So I went back to the first version added even more butter with the addition of maple syrup. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! The third version was it and it's the one I will use a lot going forward. If you want your crumble a little crunchier, you can spread this one a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees F for about 15-20 minutes. But for taste and texture I like the softer crumble.
This apple crumble tart is simply delicious. That apples are tart and juicy and the spices are wonderful. This tart is a year-around dessert but is especially delicious during the fall and early winter with fresh apples.
- 2-3/4 cups (314 grams) all purpose flour, sifted
- 1 cups (112 grams) powdered sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup (22 grams) almond flour
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg + 1 egg yolk
- 12 tablespoons (171 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 4 large apples (7 cups - 740 grams)
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 1/2 cup (90 grams) dark brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds slightly toasted
- 1 cup (142 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (45 grams) packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 tablespoons (85 grams) unsalted butter room temperature
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- For the recipe the crust and the apples are precooked. Precooking ensures the crust will be nice and brown and that apples won’t make the crust soggy.
Pate Sucree Dough
- Sift the powdered sugar, the flour and the almond flour into separate bowls
- With a stand mixer beat the butter and salt together on medium speed until well combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Mix on low speed until combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
- Add the almond flour and the vanilla and mix on low speed until combined.
- Add the eggs and 1/3 of the flour and beat on low speed until well combined. Scrape down the bowl. Add the remaining flour and mix on low speed until the dough comes together. The dough will be soft.
- The dough will weigh about 670 grams. Split the dough into two pieces, 335 grams each and shape each into a circle and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
- Lightly butter a 9-inch tart pan. Do not use too much butter. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out to 1/4-inch thick circle. Fold the dough in half and place into the pan. Unfold the dough and gently press the dough into the base and sides of the pan being careful not to tear the dough. Remove excess dough for the edge of the dough is even with the top edge of the pan.
- Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
- Blind bake the tart dough. Line the dough with parchment paper and fill the paper with pie weights or beans. I use dried beans and keep a jar of beans in my pantry. Bake the dough for 15 minutes. Remove the dough from the oven and remove the beans and paper. Return the dough to the oven and bake for another 15 minutes until it is golden brown.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool before filling it.
- For this recipe I used Granny Smith and Braeburn apples, 2 of each. Use your favorite apples that are suitable for baking. Core and dice the apples. Place them in a bowl and mix the lemon juice.
- Heat a 12-inch nonstick skillet on high heat and add 4 tablespoons of butter. Melt the butter until it just begins to brown. Add the apples and spread into single layer. Sprinkle the apples with the brown sugar and brown the apples on one side (about 3-4 minutes) on high heat before flipping them to brown on the other side. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamom. Gently stir the spices into the apples and cook for another 60 seconds.
- Scrape the apples in a bowl and allow them to cool completely.
Streusel and Almond Topping
- Combine the flour, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt together in a bowl and whisk together. Cut the butter into pieces, add to the flour mixture and use your fingers to mix the butter in until crumbles form. Add the maple syrup and use a fork to mix. Set aside.
- Toast the almonds on 325 degrees F for about 10 minutes.
Assemble and Bake the Tart
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Pour the apples into the baked tart and spread evenly. Sprinkle the streusel evenly on top of the apples. Spread the almonds on top. Bake the tart for 20-25 minutes until the streusel is slightly brown.
- Remove the tart from the oven, place it on a cooling rack and allow to cool. Tart can be eaten warm or at room temperature.