I know, I know, Thanksgiving was over a week ago and this post is really late now, but at least it’s not Christmas yet. This is prompt for me and you know it.
Okay, so Thanksgiving started out with sacrilege. I flew home to Cleveland Tuesday night, all excited to snuggle up at home and read some Harry Potter and generally
pretend like I’m twelve, and what’s on the counter top? A pecan pie in a box.
Granted, I have never made pecan pie before, but I was offended.
I said “Mom, I’m the pie ho, I make the pie in this house!” …actually it was less bossy and more like “MOOOOOOOOM!” really whiny-like and then I just sort of pointed at it. Her response was “you’re going to make the apple pie!” to which I whined “BOOOORIIIING” and then “TOOO EEEEASY.” I am THE MOST eloquent twenty year old.
If you look back through the posts in recent months you’ll see I’ve made apple pie a lot, and while I could never make myself sick of it I was sort of looking forward to using my parents well stocked kitchen and fancy ovens to try something new, both from a gastronomical and blogospheric standpoint.
I knew my momma had her heart set on an apple pie and she’d already bought the apples, that’s when you know there’s no goin’ back. It was then that I knew I had to be sneaky: I would give my mom her apple pie but I’d also have my way. So Google and Bon Appetit provided me with a solution and it came in the form of this apple tart with caramel sauce
There were a few major differences between this tart and my usual apple pie. 1) The crust was not a pastry crust but a sweet crumbly cookie crust which I would highly recommend. 2) The apples were seasoned with cinnamon and sugar like normal but the recipe also calls for cardamon which I’ve never used before. It gives them a sort of woody taste which was actually quite good. (It should also be noted here that the recipe calls for golden delicious apples but I used granny smiths since my mom already had a crisper full of them.) 3) the caramel sauce, OH THE CARAMEL SAUCE!
Making this tart was pretty easy, though in making it I did make a few amendments to the recipe. They tell you to refrigerate the crust for at least an hour, but it’s totally unnecessary. I forgot, threw the crumbly mixture in the freezer for twenty minutes, and it was fine. I didn’t even try to roll the dough out though. It was crumble like a graham cracker crust and rather than spend a bunch of time making an inevitable mess and loosing dough I just pressed it into the tart pan and up the sides, it actually gave me more control. The caramel sauce was delicious but hard to make. The order of the recipe has you make the caramel sauce first, saying that you can freeze it or save it a few days ahead of time if need be, but I let it cool for about an hour and a half and it became unmanageable. While I was reducing the caramel sauce I got it to the perfect golden consistency, like in the picture, and then took it off the heat
(so it wouldn’t continue to thicken) and set it aside. However the caramel sets into a solid when it’s taken off heat and so soon enough I had a layer of solid caramel sauce in the bottom of my sauce pan. I didn’t worry about it, assuming that it would be easy to warm up again as the recipe claimed. But as I warmed it up again when the tart was done I realized I’d missed a very slim window of caramel perfection. When I heated the sauce up again it was thick and gloopy and didn’t drizzle onto the tart so much as slop on top of the apples. (Heating up the leftovers in the microwave the day after helped to melt the sticky stuff on top though.) I’d say that the caramel sauce should be made while the tart is baking. You can still do other stuff, it doesn’t require constant vigilance.
Overall, this tart was delicious and if I hadn’t struggled with the caramel the presentation would have been fantastic as well: A-. It would have gotten an A or even an A+ considering how tasty it is, but like my papa said, “it was really good, but when you first brought it out it looked kinda like diarrhea.” Thanks dad, for that super classy assessment.
(Originally posted on 12/5/10)