Friday, September 25, 2015

Mini Apple Pecan Tarts in a Cinnamon Crust

My Fall denial is waning. I'm officially embracing the season. The proof is in this recipe I whipped up last weekend. 

In creating these German mini apple tarts, it wasn't enough to make them small and cute. I went overboard and made them apple shaped. Bring on the Fall.

These tarts are roughly four inches in diameter. Of the thousands of cookie cutters I have stashed in undisclosed locations, I could not seem to locate my large apple shaped one. I improvised by using the bottom of a small round spring form pan to cut circles out of the dough and then shaped them into apples with my fingers. 

Of course, these are just as delicious if you skip creating the apple shapes and bake them in mini tart pans.

I used raw chopped pecans to scatter over the tops of the tarts. Feel free to swap them out for your favorite kind.

The tart filling is a thin layer of a sweet crème fraîche mixture. Adding ground cinnamon to the crust amps up the flavor. The apples are the star of this tart, not the filling. The MacIntosh apples were just the right size to fit in the tart but any type will do. 

Mini Apple Pecan Tarts in a Cinnamon Crust
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Bake Time: 20 minutes
Rise Time: 45 minutes 
Yield: 6 Mini Tarts

For the crust:
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg yolk

For the filling:
  • 3 small apples (McIntosh Variety)
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  •  1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoon chopped raw pecans
  • Heat the milk to a lukewarm temperature. Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Mi Ab 
  • Combine the yeast milk with the all-purpose flour, unsalted butter, white granulated sugar, salt and egg yolk. Knead everything together into a smooth dough. 
  • Cover the bowl, stow in a warm place and let stand for 45 minutes. 
  • Peel and core the three apples. Cut the apples into wedges, place them in a separate bowl and toss the wedges with the freshly squeezed lemon juice. Set aside.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Remove the dough from its warm place and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough out and use a 4 -5" apple shaped cookie cutter or alternately, a store- bought or handmade cardboard stencil to cut out 6 apple shapes. 
  • Place the dough apple cutouts on the baking sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. 
  • Roll the rest of the dough out into a long rectangle Use a sharp knife to cut long strips out of the dough. Working with one apple cutout at a time, Use the dough strips to form a frame around each. Press and smooth the dough frame to attach the bottom piece. 
  • Form a thick stem with the remaining dough and a sharp knife to create a leaf for each cutout. Use a toothpick or a fork to create impressions in the leaf. Attach both a stem and a leaf to each dough apple on the baking sheet. 
  • In a small bowl whisk together the egg, the two tablespoons of white granulated sugar, creme fraiche, cornstarch and powdered nutmeg. Pour a thin layer of the mixture into the tart beds dividing it evenly between each of them. 
  • Distribute the apple slices inside of each of the dough apples. 
  • Sprinkle the chopped pecans over the tops of the dough apples. Place in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until the tops become golden brown. 
  • Remove the apple tarts from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before serving. 

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