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"We must have a pie. Stress cannot exist in the presence of a pie." David Mamet

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Day 4: Apple Mosaic Tart with Salted Caramel (from

Thank you, Mari Renwick, for the beautiful photograph.
Apples and salt caramel and puff pastry -- and it looks like this. I can hardly believe it came out of my oven. Please trust me when I say you can do this too.

This is Deb Perlman's Smitten Kitchen recipe, unadapted. I couldn't think of any reason to change it, except maybe hire her to do the mosaic. Mine has a rustic appeal but hers has the spiritual precision of Islamic Gihir tiles; you should check it out. She's a master. Nonetheless, as I cook I can't help Instagramming.

Apple mosaic tart with salted caramel                                                             

Reblogged almost verbatim from Smitten Kitchen

Tart base
14-ounce package puff pastry, defrosted
3 large or 4 medium apples (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small bits

Salted caramel glaze
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter (or salted, but then ease up on the sea salt)
1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt (or half as much table salt)
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Heat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.  Roll out pastry dough to 10" x 15" and transfer it to the baking sheet. 

Peel the apples and cut them in half top-to-bottom. Remove the cores and stems (Deb Perlman likes to use a melon baller; I used a pairing knife). Slice the apples halves crosswise as thinly as you can with a knife (DP uses a mandolin, which I don't have)  to about 1/16-inch thickness. Leaving a 1/2-inch border, fan the apples around the tart in slightly overlapping concentric rectangles — each apple should overlap the one before so that only about 3/4-inch of the previous apple will be visible — until you reach the middle. Sprinkle the apples evenly with the first two tablespoons of sugar then dot with the first two tablespoons butter.

The world inside my oven.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until the edges of the tart are brown and the edges of the apples begin to take on some color. If you sliced your apples by hand and they were on the thicker side, you might need a little more baking time to cook them through. The apples should feel soft, but dry to the touch. 

About 20 minutes into the baking time, make your glaze. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt your last 1/4 cup sugar; this will take about 3 minutes. Cook the liquefied sugar to a nice copper color, another minute or two. Off the heat, add the sea salt and butter and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated. Add the heavy cream and return to the stove over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until you have a lovely, bronzed caramel syrup, just another minute, two, tops. Set aside until needed. You may need to briefly rewarm it to thin the caramel before brushing it over the tart.

After the tart has baked, transfer it to a cooling rack, but leave the oven on. Using very short, gentle strokes, and brushing in the direction that the apples fan to mess up their design as little as possible, brush the entire tart, including the exposed pastry, with the salted caramel glaze

Return the apple tart to the oven for 5 to 10 more minutes, until the caramel glaze bubbles. Let tart cool complete before cutting into 12 squares. Serve plain, with coffee or tea, if you’re feeling grown-up or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  I do not recommend this, as the ice cream overwhelmed the tart's subtle flavor.

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