Jun 28

Apple Tart with Salted Caramel Drizzle


Apple Tart with Salted Butter Caramel Drizzle





Hello all.

I have been away for such a loooong time, I know. Haven’t been very inspired lately and I have gone off my food for some reason; must be the hot weather.

I cannot even bring myself to step into the kitchen to make dinner on a daily basis, let alone bake for the sake of baking and blogging.

I dread the heat, the mess and the washing up duties that inevitably follow.



Today, however, as I lay on my sofa watching Wimbeldon (tennis) … I suddenly wanted apple pie. Warm. With a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream sitting on top, slooowly melting into rivers of white. I played around with this idea for a while, thinking it would pass. But it didn’t … so off I went to the shops in search of good old fashioned apple pie, something the Dutch are famous for.


At the store, I had a change of heart. I picked up some apple turnovers instead … and decided to make my own apple tart, from scratch, at home. Into my shopping basket went a bag of Royal Gala apples, right next to my paper bag of turnovers. I had a recipe in mind already ~ just a regular open-faced French-style apple tart, but today I intended to spice it up further with a salted caramel drizzle.



I was recently in France (again) for a weekend mini break with R. and the dog. We absolutely adore France so we make every opportunity to pop down there at the drop of a hat. R. loves driving and he misses having a car of his own. We hire our car every holiday and he always feels sad when it comes time to give it back.



Brittany St Malo France




We make every effort to visit a different part of France every time we go there and this time we headed to the north-west coast, with the intention to make our “base camp” somewhere in Brittany. We got the car on Friday, and we pushed off the minute R. got home from work. Doopey was all excited because when he sees us packing the car he knows we are off on yet another road trip. He travels very well in cars and, once on the road he settles very quickly in the backseat … smearing the windows with his wet nose.



Brittany St Malo France1




We drove thru the night until we reached our destination : The Saint-Malo Golf & Country Club in Le Tronchet, Brittany. As well as being a golf club, it also has rooms available on this massive manicured property. We arrived at 2 a.m and the reception had left us a key in an envelope stuck to the glass door of the club house (reception is only open until 11 p.m). Thankfully, after such a long drive, we managed to find the key cards and walked into our lovely room with an awesome bed. Glass doors opened out onto the lawn and the beautiful lake beyond. It was such a peaceful night that we slept with the doors slightly ajar to keep the room temperatures intentionally low for the benefit of our dog. The doors could have been wide open, but Doopey would never wander off away from us. However, the poor darling did try to join us in bed at some point during the night but he wasn’t allowed. He sat there in the dark looking forlornly at me from the edge, and even put a paw up on the sheet in a last ditch attempt at making his plea appear more pathetic. In the end he had to settle on his blanket and huffed off to sleep.



In the morning we drove off in search for local grub. First stop was the historical walled city of St. Malo, for breakfast. After a rather filling meal of traditional Brittany buckwheat pancakes (galettes de blé noir), we hopped back in the car en route to Mont St. Michel. Along the way I spied a sign advertising the sale of local produce, namely salted caramels … and I had R. turn the car around IMMEDIATELY!




Saint Malo Salted Butter Caramel




Brittany lies on the north-west coast of France and, it sorta juts out into the ocean forming a peninsula surrounded by the English Channel, the Celtic Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. All this briny water, therefore its not hard to see why Brittany is famed for producing some of the best oysters and mussels around. Apart from the copious amounts of fresh seafood, Brittany is also famous for salt and it’s salted products like, the local salted butter and salted butter caramels. Having read up on the subject before we arrived, when I saw the shop sign I had to visit and sample the fare.




Saint Malo Salted Butter Caramel




The sign outside advertised some products that had won awards in the recent show in Paris. I had to try them for myself. The shop not only sold salted caramels and  famous jams, but they also sold biscuits, calvados (aged 35 years!!), apple cider and cider vinegars. We were the only ones at the store at the time so the proprietor had all the time in the world for us … offering us sample after sample, and giving us a little background story of each product.



Salted Caramel Tuiles



Salted Caramel Tuiles




The caramels came in a variety of flavours (who knew that caramel could come in any other flavour apart from caramel?) … some coffee, others vanilla and even chocolate. There were weirder flavours which I did not sample, like ‘mint’ (what?!?!) … but we stuck to the original and best tasting one. We had a taste and it was heavenly … like velvety indulgence in a jar … like the most luxurious spoonful of toffee I have ever experienced.




Brittany Salted Butter Caramel




Along with my jar of salted butter caramel I also picked up a jar of caramelized apple jam ~ a product which the guy told me had won awards in Paris recently. I was intending to also get the ‘Orange & Bergamot Marmalade’ but I got distracted and I forgot about it … now I can only kick myself back here in the Netherlands.




Brtittany Salted Butter Caramel & Preserves




Two bottles of cider managed their way into our shopping basket as well as a bag of caramel & hazelnut brittle … a specialty of the region I am told. R. would have wanted the bottle of aged calvados but at  € 400 for a small bottle, he gave it a miss.




Apple cider Brittany France




Other unique things that were up for sale were spice blends for soups, casseroles and, dry rubs for roasts. There was even a lobster infused salad dressing which I was tempted to buy but thought otherwise just five seconds later.



Brittany St Malo France3




Back in the Netherlands I am now about to put the salted butter caramel to the test. At the shop in Brittany the proprietor was telling me of all the good things the caramel would go on top of. I love it when people talk food to me with a passion; none more so than when the French talk food.



Anyway, so I settled on a classic French apple tart with an apple puree filling and lined on the top with thinly sliced apple crescents. After baking the top is swiped with a good shellacking of melted apricot jam and then drizzled with the salted butter caramel while still warm.



The base of the tart is your standard sweet pastry dough … similar to a shortbread cookie dough. I like using this dough for my tarts because it is very forgiving and if you rip a hole in it while rolling, simply patch it up with excess dough and you are good to go again. This dough crisps up nicely once it cools to room temp and stays that way. I use it for my ‘Blueberry Cream Cheese Tarts‘ and when I make ‘Lavender Shortbreads’.




Sweet crust pastry

  • 100g butter, soft
  • 100g icing sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 225g plain flour



Combine flour, sugar, butter and egg in a food processor. Mix and blend until a smooth dough is formed. Roll out and put into a plastic bag or wrap in cling film. Chill in the refrigerator for 25 – 30 minutes. For this recipe, since I am making a standard sized tart and not individual ones, I rolled out the pastry and fitted it into the tin before chilling it in the fridge. Chilling the pastry thoroughly will ensure the crust doesn’t shrink too much while baking. If you don’t feel like waiting half an hour then simply cover it with plastic wrap and toss in the freezer for 10 minutes.





Apple Tart with Salted Butter Caramel Drizzle2





The pastry needs to be ‘baked blind’ … and I don’t mean you need to deprive yourself of sight whilst attempting to do this near a hot oven either. Blind baking simple means to bake your tart shell on its own for a few minutes, then remove it from the oven to receive the filling, and baked again to cook the filling. Pastry weights are used to keep the surface of the pastry compressed and flat. Pricking the dough with a fork also helps the crust to bake evenly and allows hot air to escape, instead of forming unsightly blisters on the surface.The crust isn’t fully cooked yet when you remove it from the oven; that occurs when it is baked for the second time with the filling.



Once the crust is cool enough, I brushed the bottom with a light coating of egg white to seal it. This ensures the filling won’t make the crust go all soggy later. I placed the crust back in the oven to dry for a couple of minutes. Now for the filling.



The hardest thing you will ever need to do for this recipe is peeling, coring and thinly slicing enough red apples to cover the tart in a beautiful rosette formation. I don’t know about you, but my ‘thin-slicing knife skills’ are never consistent. If in doubt of your own skills, I think a mandolin should do the trick. I am using Royal Gala apples because they are sweeter than regular baking green apples. I’d use green apples in a crumble or an apple pie, but this recipe isn’t one that is baked for too long, so a sweeter variety of apple is prefered.



Apple Tart with Salted Butter Caramel Drizzle1




Spread the apple puree on the bottom of the tart shell and use a spatula to smooth it all out. Sprinkling cinnamon sugar over the puree wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Then start adding the sliced apples, arranging them slightly overlapping, in a clock-wise direction until you reach the center. Lightly sprinkle over with some raw sugar or demerara sugar and bake for 20 – 30 minutes.



Apple Tart with Salted Butter Caramel Drizzle3




Once the tart comes out of the oven, swipe the surface with some melted apricot jam. This gives the apples a nice sheen and it will look quite professional … like you see in a bakery. Allow the tart to cool slightly then, just before serving, drizzle on some of that yummy caramel and voila! A delicious dessert ready to be devoured with a generous scoop of ice cream (with extra caramel on that too, please!). I would have photographed the tart with the ice cream, except when I woke up this morning I discovered that R. had eaten all of it last night … so no vanilla ice cream to adorn my tart. Bummer. I did make my displeasure known by texting him but, oh well. The tart was delicious, but I think it would have been perfect with some creamy accompaniment.



I hope this tart makes it to your repertoire coz it is so yummy and it uses so few ingredients, you can’t think up of a better excuse to NOT bake this. As an end note, I do hope I get back into my baking / cooking / blogging mood soon coz I have over ninety recipe ideas lined up and partly drafted … I just need to compose everything and actually get cooking. I have also been rather frustrated with my poor photography outcomes and its not helped boost the confidence levels either. Well, hopefully I will improve soon and I will look upon my posts with pride. Until next time then.



~ Enjoy! ~





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