I recently bought some tart pans for the simple fact that I think anything in mini-size is cute: mini pies, mini cookies, mini puppies…you get the idea. Now I had to decide what to make with them. I thought of pecan tarts first, but thought that was over done. Then I thought of making onion tarts, but I wanted something a little sweeter.
I went through the entire apple-picking season without making an apple pie this year…very unlike me! So apples won out. I’d slice the apples and arrange them to look pretty, then leave off the top crust…voilà! I figured, while I was at it, why not add some caramel sauce…ooh, and pecans! Always, it’s back to pecans! The end result was classified as “the best dessert” my husband’s had in ages. He’s not a dessert person, so I find his compliments on my desserts particularly flattering.
Update: In October 2012 this recipe was modified slightly. For reasons why see Apple Caramel Nut Tarts – A Recipe Revamp.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup shortening (preferably butter flavored)
- 1/3 cup butter, cut into chunks
- 3 tablespoons ice cold water
- Additional flour for dusting
- 4 granny smith apples, or use another tart, firm variety
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon flour
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 to 2 tablespoons milk
- 2 or 3 tablespoons chopped nuts (I used pecans, but almonds or walnuts would work just as well.)
- Combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine.
- Add the shortening and butter and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
- Add water one tablespoon at a time, pulsing after each addition, until mixture just starts to ball together.
- Form into 8 balls.
- Press balls to flatten slightly, wrap in cellophane and refrigerate at least one hour.
- Roll out dough on lightly floured surface until slightly bigger than the pans you’re using.
- Line 8 tart pans with the dough and trim the edges. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Peel and core the apples. Slice in half lengthwise, then cut crosswise into thin slices. Place slices in large bowl. Add flour and toss gently to coat slices. Arrange slices in prepared tart pans.
- In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in cinnamon, sugar, and salt. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons milk, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and starts to bubble. Immediately spoon mixture over apples. Sprinkle with nuts.
- Place tarts in rimmed baking sheet and Bake at 400ºF for 30 minutes, until crust is golden and apples are tender. Allow to cool at least 15 minutes before serving.