I’m watching beef ice-cream being made on Iron Chef America (Battle Ground Meat between Bobby Flay and Viet Pham) right now and I think I might be scarred for life. Before I get put off from desserts and ice-creams entirely, I decided to just post this quickly. Nothing spells warm and winter like apples and caramel. I know most people wouldn’t think that way when they’ve just made their new year’s resolutions and are on a healthy-eating streak. But this dessert can be easily cut into small squares, so portion control is really easy.
After this summer got over, and I realized that my neighborhood Italian grocery store stopped selling fresh dulce de leche gelato, I was constantly on the lookout for incorporating some form of caramel into my desserts. I made this for Christmas, but really, I can have it throughout the fall and winter.
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
- 14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted in fridge overnight
- 3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small bits
Salted caramel glaze
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
- 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- Heat your oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment paper. Ideally you would use a 10×15-inch jelly roll pan. A smaller pan will make a thicker tart (and you might need fewer apples). In a larger pan, you can still fit a 10×15-inch tart.
- Lightly flour your counter and lay out your pastry. 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. Slice the apples halves crosswise as thinly as you can with 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 30-40 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 a little more baking time 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.
- Meanwhile, about 10 minutes into the baking time, make your glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 5-10 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 very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan to mess up their design as little as possible, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze.
- Return the apple tart to the oven for approximately 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let tart cool complete before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain, or if you’re in a decadent mood, with some ice-cream and leftover caramel glaze.