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Monday, January 14, 2013

Apple Tartlets...

4:19 pm - 26 degrees - foggy and snowing...

I love the simplicity of this apple tartlet – it looks bakery-special, but it’s easy to put together.  The only real project with this recipe is making the caramel, which can be made days, and up to 2 weeks, ahead.  It just needs to be warmed to a pourable consistency just before serving.  {Shhh... you can always use a prepared caramel sauce if you want to make life even easier.}

~Apple Tartlets~
(Caramel Sauce)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 Tbsp butter
1 sheet all-butter frozen puff pastry dough (thawed)
2 apples, peeled
1 Tbsp melted butter
4 tsp sugar
Flaked sea salt

To make the caramel sauce, put the sugar in a 2-3 quart heavy saucepan and place over medium heat.  Cook the sugar until it melts into syrup, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon (NOT a metal spoon, which will get very hot and burn your hand).

Once the sugar is completely melted, let it cook undisturbed until it’s amber-colored.  Lower the heat and very slowly dribble the cream into the pan.  The mixture will bubble up intensely so be careful.  When the bubbling subsides, bring the caramel to a simmer, whisking until any hardened lumps melt back into the sauce.  Remove from the heat and stir in the salt and butter until smooth.  If you end up with a few stubborn pieces of hardened sugar, you can strain the sauce into a heatproof glass measuring cup.

Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.  Roll the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface to flatten slightly.  Cut out 4 5-inch diameter circles with a pastry cutter or use the upside-down rim of a small bowl.

Transfer the circles to an ungreased baking sheet.  Cu the apples in half and remove the core.  Slice each half crosswise into thin slices, keeping them together as you slice.  Unfurl the slices onto each pastry circle, fanning them in a circular pattern to cover the dough.  Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle each with 1 teaspoon sugar.

Bake 15-20 minutes, until the apples are tender and the edges of the tarts are putted and golden.

Reheat the caramel to pouring consistency if it has cooled, and spoon some sauce over each tart.  Sprinkle with a little flaked salt and serve warm.

You’ll have more caramel sauce than you need for the tarts, but it will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks to use in any way you like.

~ Enjoy!

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