It’s fall and while apples are everywhere, consider making them into a warm tart.
In autumn, apples are a big deal in New York, especially if you visit any of the food markets around town. Even though I grew up in a very apple-rich area called the Apple Kingdom of Sweden, I’m deeply impressed at the variety that’s on display at the markets. I don’t know all the names and flavors so I’m happy that many vendors have apple tastings. It helps when you need to find the perfect apple for your apple pie, compote, juice or the one you just want to bite into.
For example, the McIntosh apple, with its soft and sweet/sour flavor, is excellent soaked with rum under a sweet butter rich crumble, as it melts when baked in the oven. I also like the McIntosh apple in the morning cooked for five minutes with cardamom and cinnamon, topped with kefir or yogurt. For an apple tart, where the apples lay on top of the crust, I prefer a firmer apple such as Granny Smith (sour) or Gala (sweeter). My new favorite apple to eat is the Honey Crisp which is both crispy and juicy. The apple has just enough sweetness without being sour. As its name spells out, it has an elegant honey flavor.
Ever since I was a teenager I’ve been making apple pies in different ways. My caramelized Apple Tart is my latest creation. Enjoy!
Caramelized Apple Tart
for 4-6 people
1 ¼ cup (about 300 ml) regular flour
3.5 ounces (about 100 grams) butter
3 tablespoons sucanat*
1½ teaspoons finely crushed cardamom
a splash of water
4 apples (preferably apples that are sour + firm inside, ex. Granny Smith)
4-5 tablespoons sucanat* (depending on how sour the apples are)
juice from one lemon
2½ ounces (70 grams) butter
½ cup (100 ml ) almonds, toasted and chopped
heavy cream, whipped with a little sugar
Start by mixing together butter, flour, cardamom and sucanat. When the butter is well divided add a splash of water. Work the dough together and let it rest in the fridge for at least one hour. Line a greased 9 inch (about 23 cm) spring form. Pre-bake at 400°F (200°C) the pie shell for about 10-15 minutes until it has got some color. Let cool.
Wash and peel the apples. Cut in half, take out the seeds and slice the rest of the apple in thin slices. Sprinkle the slices with sucanat and lemon juice. Cook over medium heat in a frying pan until they start to get juicy. Add ½ of the butter. Keep cooking the apples until they starts to caramelize. If you think the apples need more sugar you may add some now and let cook for a little bit more. The color should be golden and have some brown spots. Remove from heat and add the rest of the butter and toasted almonds. Let cool a little before arranging the apples inside the baked pie shell. Bake at 450°F (230C) for about 15 minutes until the apples have gotten some nice color. Serve with whipped cream.
*Sucanat is a brown sugar extracted from sugar cane. It’s perfect to bake with and gives cakes and cookies a richer taste. In the U.S. you can often find Sucanat in organic shops. If you can’t find sucanat you may use muscovado sugar or even regular brown sugar instead. When I’m in Sweden I use Farin sugar which works really well too.
Illustration: Johanna Kindvall