For the tart crust, I used an adaptation of the press-in tart dough from The America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book. The dough is made in the food processor and can be used right away without rolling out the dough. Just make walnut-sized balls of dough and scatter them into your tart pan and press it in. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 minutes. Pre-bake the tart shell covered with aluminum foil and pie weights (aka dried kidney beans) for 30 minutes in 375F oven and it's ready for the filling.
In the last couple of years, I've taken to pre-cooking the apples until fork tender before using them in a pie or tart. The major advantage of this method is that you don't have to worry about the apples shrinking and causing the big gap between the filling and the top crust.
I only had Jonathan apples in the house, which are somewhat tart, so that's what I used. My only pet peeve with the recipe was that I wished it specified the weight of the apples instead of the number of apples. After looking at some other apple pie recipes, it looked like most used 5lb of apples for a 9" pie. Since I'm making a tart with only 1 layer of apples, I used 2lb of apples. I used a little gadget that cores and slices the apple into 8 equal pieces. Each piece I cut in half lengthwise. The sliced apples are cooked covered in a non-stick pan on medium heat with sugar, cinnamon, orange zest and dried cranberries for about 15-20 minutes. The apples became fork tender, not mushy and held their shape really well. The cranberries plumped up nicely in the hot juice released by the apples. I cooled the apple mixture outside while the tart crust was pre-baking.
Arrange the apple slices like shingles on the tart crust and use the cranberries to fill the gaps between the two sections of apples. I made half of the caramel sauce in the recipe, and added splash a lemon juice to it at the very end to cut down on the sweetness. I carefully poured the caramel sauce over the apples/cranberry filling and put the tart in a 375F oven which baked for 35 minutes, uncovered.
A big thanks to Susan of Baking with Susan for choosing this recipe. We enjoyed it very much! If you would like to try the double-crusted caramel apple pie, you can find the recipe HERE.
- Hubby and I absolutely loved this tart. He gave it a "good 9 out of 10". The apples were juicy, had the right amount of sweetness, and a great aroma from the orange zest and the cinnamon. The cookie crust was buttery, held its shape where you could even eat a slice out of hand, "pizza-style", yet it was tender and melted in your mouth. There was only 1 Tbsp of sugar in the crust which allowed the apple filling and the subtle caramel flavor to come through.
- Instead of lemon zest, I used the zest of one navel orange because I like orange zest and cranberries together. I threw in a handful of dried cranberries into the apples while they were cooking.
- Pre-bake the tart shell for 30 minutes at 375F. Then arrange the apple filling on top, and bake for another 35 minutes at 375F, in a convection oven.
- Don't forget to the check out the other SMS bakers.