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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Recipe: Caramelized Apple Tart

Caramelized Apple Tart in a Pate Sucree Shell

Recipe: Caramelized Apple Tart

When I posted the Ten Pastry Recipes Everyone Should Know, which started with several basic pastry doughs, I knew I needed to figure out something to do with all of the molded tart shells accumulating in the freezer. That's precious ice cream storage space!

This tart is a simple case of being inspired by the ingredients at hand - a couple of Gala Apples, a carton of Greek Yogurt, and a few lonely Raspberries and Blackberries in the back of the refrigerator. 

Et Viola! Why not a make a Caramelized Apple Tart with Greek Yogurt and Seasonal Berries?

I'm not exaggerating when I say that I ate the entire 8" tart without assistance (I didn't even make any token offers to share... because I really didn't want to). With each bite, I kept telling myself that with Apples, Berries and Yogurt, I was eating a well-balanced breakfast. 

Judge for yourself!

Forming a Tart Ring with Pate Sucree
Begin by rolling out the pastry dough on a lightly floured surface to approximately 1/4" thickness. Use Pate Brisee for a buttery, flakey crust or Pate Sucree for a sweet, crumbly crust.

Unbaked Molded Pate Sucree Tart ShellBlind bake (i.e. bake unfilled) the tart shell at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. An unfilled tart shell takes 25-30 minutes to fully bake to a rich, golden brown. Applying a light egg wash helps create a shiny, golden finish. To keep the crust from bubbling (more likely with Pate Brisee), lightly dock the dough with a fork.

When the crust is finished baking, set it aside to cool. Baked tart shells can be stored, wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to a week.

Gala Apple
To make the Caramelized Apple filling, select two medium sized Apples. Firmer Apples are best. I used Gala Apples (a personal favorite).

Pealed Gala Apple
Peel the Apples. To prevent browning, immediately place the pealed Apples in a bowl of cold water or rub them with lemon juice.

Cored Gala Apple
Cut each Apple in half and remove the stems and cores. A melon baller is the most efficient tool for the job. It will cleanly remove the core while saving much of the Apple flesh.

Gala Apple Slices
Slice each of the Apple halves into six wedges for a total of 24 wedges. Make sure that each piece is the same size so that they cook evenly.

Sautéing Gala ApplesHeat some Butter with a pinch of Salt in a large frying pan until it just begins to brown. Add the Apples and sauté them until they are browned on each side. Do not over-crowd the pan - Apples in a crowded pan will just steam to mush.

Caramelizing Apple Slices
Keeping the frying pan over high heat, sprinkle some Sugar over the Apples. Allow the Sugar to melt and begin to caramelize (it will take on a rich, brown color). Lightly stir the Apples as the Sugar caramelizes. Take care not to break up the slices, but move them enough so that they do not burn.

Time to Flambé!  After a couple of minutes, the Apples should be coated with a rich, caramel syrup. Remove the pan from the heat and carefully pour in a shot of Rum (Careful! - Given the heat of the caramel, the Rum will bubble and steam).

Holding the pan away from your body, return the pan to the heat and tilt it towards the flame, igniting the Rum. After a few seconds, the flame will disappear. Give the Apples one last stir and remove them from the heat.

Caramelized Apples CoolingTransfer the Caramelized Apples to a clean plate and let them cool. 

Filling a Pate Sucree Shell with Greek YogurtOnce the tart shell is cool, evenly fill the bottom with a layer of Yogurt.  

Caramelized Apple Tart with Greek Yogurt and Seasonal BerriesOnce the Apples are cool, layer them around the outer edge of the tart. By overlapping each slice, all 24 pieces should fit. Fill the center of the tart with some seasonal berries.

Serve immediately. The tart will keep for 2-3 days wrapped in plastic wrap and stored in the refrigerator. 

- The Recipe -

Caramelized Apple Tart:

Yield: One 8"/9" Tart

  • Pate Brisee or Pate Sucree: 240g / Half Recipe
  • Apples, medium sized: 2x
  • Butter: 45g (3 Tbls)
  • Sugar: 100g
  • Rum: 30g (1 Shot)
  • Salt: Pinch
  • Greek Yogurt: 225g (1 Cup)
  • Seasonal Berries: for finishing 


1. Roll out the pastry dough to 1/4" thickness and fill an 8"/9" tart mold. Egg wash and blind bake the tart shell at 350 degrees Fahrenheit until golden brown (approximately 25-30 minutes). Set aside to cool.

2. Peal, halve and core two medium sized Apples. Cut the halves into six wedges for a total of 24 wedges. Heat the Butter in a large frying pan over high heat. Just as the Butter begins to brown, add the Apples in a single layer. Brown the Apples on both sides.

Chef's Note: Do not over-crowd the pan. If there are too many Apples, they will steam rather than brown.

3. Once the Apples are browned, sprinkle them with the Sugar. Stir gently as the Sugar dissolves and turns into a rich caramel (approximately 2 minutes).

4. Remove the frying pan from the heat and add the shot of Rum. Flambé the Apples, tilting the pan towards the flame to ignite the Rum. Once the flame dissipates, gently stir the Apples one last time and transfer them to a clean plate to cool.

Chef's Note: Be careful when adding the Rum to the hot caramel. It will bubble and steam. When igniting the Rum, hold the pan away from your body and also ensure there is nothing flammable above the stove that could catch fire.

5. Once the tart shell is cool, fill it with a even layer of the Yogurt. Once the Apples are cool, layer them around the outer edge of the tart, slightly overlapping each slice. Fill the center of the tart with some seasonal berries. Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic wrap for 2-3 days.

Caramelized Apple Tart with Greek Yogurt and Seasonal Berries

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