While I love the caramel + apple flavor combination, I’ve never been a giant fan of caramel apples themselves. They’re a lot of fun to make with the kids but come time to eat them, I feel like I’m actually bobbing for the apples. Having a stick to hold just doesn’t help me! I decided this year I wanted to come up with some kind of desert that would really hit the caramel apple flavor, but was a little easier to eat. And maybe a bit more grown up then an apple on a stick?
I played with a caramel apple cake for a while, but I have to admit all the caramel kept making the cake fall apart. (If you’re going to have caramel, you might has well have a lot of it right?) After a few attempts I moved on to the idea of a tart. While the cake may yet happen some day, the tart was inspired move. I turned to my favorite shortbread like tart crust which is sturdy enough to hold not only the apples, but a whole lot of that gooey caramel.
Just for the fun of it I also decided to try a new caramel recipe this time around. While I have always loved my old standard, this new version, adapted from Serious Eats, turned out literally the best caramel I have every made, possibly even the best caramel I have ever tasted. Shockingly, it doesn’t even have butter in it. Just sugar, water, a splash of juice from the apples (my addition), vanilla, and cream. But seriously, don’t doubt the lack of butter, it’s outstanding. I probably will never bother with another caramel recipe again. The other thing about this caramel that’s kind of fun, is if you prep ahead right, you can make one batch of caramel to make the caramel sauce that’s covering the apples, a slightly harder caramel to coat a caramel apple to decorate the center top of the tart, and some pretty little chewy caramel bits for additional decorations.
I will admit this recipe looks super long, but don’t be intimidated, none of the steps are actually all that hard. A lot of them are just extra descriptive to help with making the decorations for the top of the tart. Though, if you want to simplify things skip the decorations and just pour the filling into the tart as is. This tart is an October showstopper either way!Print
Caramel Recipe adapted from Serious Eats, Tart Crust Adapted from Ruth Reichel’s My Kitchen Year.