Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel

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I love finding good apple recipes in the fall. We take the boys apple picking once a year and end up with many more apples than we can eat. I always make several batches of this apple sauce, but we still have extra apples. If you’re in the same boat, and you don’t want to make a regular apple pie, give this a shot.  It’s a perfect dessert to serve after Thanksgiving dinner.

This tart may look complex to make, but it’s surprisingly easy. If you need a dinner party dessert, this is it. You can make it ahead of time and simply warm it up when it’s time for dessert. It’s a nice light dessert and it’s fantastic with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We recently brought it to some friends who invited us for dinner. It was very well received. Everyone but our boys (no big surprise) loved it.

If you own a mandoline, making this will be easy. It will allow you to slice the apples thinly, and evenly, which is important for this recipe. It’s not impossible to make this if you don’t have a mandoline, you’ll just have a lot of apple slicing to do. Don’t be put off by the fact that this tart is basically just pastry, apples, sugar and butter (and a little cream for the caramel glaze). It truly is delicious.

 

Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen

14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in the refrigerator overnight
3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces

Salted caramel glaze:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Preheat your oven to 400°F. Line a 10×15 inch rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper.

Lightly flour your counter and spread out your pastry. If your package comes with two pieces, put them next to each other and create a single sheet out of them. Flour the top and gently roll it until it fits inside your baking sheet, and transfer it there.

Peel the apples and cut them in half top-to-bottom. Remove the cores and stems (if you don’t have an apple corer, you can use a melon baller or a paring knife). Slice the apples halves crosswise using your mandoline, or as thinly as you can if you’re using a knife. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, fan the apples around the tart in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles — each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4-inch of the previous apple will be visible — until you reach the middle. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of sugar then dot with the first two tablespoons butter.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are brown and the edges of the apples begin to take on some color. If you sliced your apples by hand and they were on the thicker side, you might need to bake the tart for a few more minutes to cook them through. The apples should feel soft, but dry to the touch. If you puffed pastry bubbles dramatically in any place during the baking time, simply poke it with a knife or skewer so that it deflates.

About 20 minutes into the baking time, make the glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 3 minutes. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color, another minute or two. Off the heat, add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until you have a lovely, bronzed caramel syrup, just another minute, two, tops. Set aside until needed. You may need to briefly rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

After the tart has baked, transfer it to a cooling rack, but leave the oven on. Using a pastry brush with very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze. You’ll have to do this carefully so you don’t mess up the nice apple pattern that you made.

Return the apple tart to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let the tart cool completely before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Yield: 12 servings


One year ago:
Chicken Pot Pie
Two years ago: Pumpkin Muffins
Three years ago:  Go Green Giant Calzone

 

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