Man, it takes me a long time to get around to writing. Reminds me of my college days...Really--I used to do a lot of baking to avoid writing. Now I do a lot of baking and then avoid writing about it. And so it goes.
I made the Sour Cream Apple Tart last weekend, a day after the Oreo Cake. We didn't have any more dessert in the house at the time, so I thought it would be OK. And there was a promise of a chill in the air, which seemed perfect for an apple dessert.
This tart is a production number and a half, I have to say. None of the steps is particularly difficult, but there are a lot of them, and I must say I'm not necessarily convinced that the sum is as good as the parts. But I took lots of pictures, so you can see each step.
First, we have the cream cheese pastry, baked to a golden brown. Maybe I should have left it in another couple of minutes. I did not blind bake it with pie weights because I hate doing that. As usual, my pastry shrank and did not cover the whole pan. Oh well...Let me just say this is not my favorite tart pastry recipe. There are so many better, flakier ones out there.
This was easy enough--coating the crust with apricot jam.
Then I sautéed a mass of apples with butter and sugar and piled those into the crust.
Next comes a layer of caramel. The caramel seemed a bit runny to me. I checked the proportions two or three times, and I did it right, but I still ended up with a lot of caramel running out under the tart pan. (Note: bake this baby on a foil-lined baking sheet!)
Crowning glory: big layer of slightly sweetened sour cream.
Here's a cross section slice, so that you can see the apples, the caramel that's all run out, and the massive layer of sour cream.
Did I mention the huge amount of sour cream? It really kind of overwhelmed everything else. I think that you could make this tart with 2 cups of sour cream and it would be fine--it would be a pain to spread properly, but I think the balance would be better. But one thing I liked about this tart is that it isn't too sweet, unlike many of Maida's desserts.
Claire had this for breakfast every morning, and then for afternoon snack when she got home, and I'm sure Sami and I had our share as well. I would call this a qualified success. But here's the recipe so you can try for yourself:
Sour Cream Apple Tart
4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
4 oz. butter, room temperature
4 oz. flour (1 c. sifted)
Beat together the cream cheese and butter until smooth, then add the flour on low speed and beat until incorporated. Maida says that this takes a long time, but mine was done right away. Scrape this out onto a piece of waxed paper, form it into a ball, wrap it, and chill for an hour or so. While it's chilling, look for your 11-inch tart pan. That's the really big one. When it's chilled, roll it out on a floured surface as far as it can go. I found that it really didn't go far enough to cover my whole tart pan with good edges, but that's another story. Anyway, transfer it to the pan and fold over the edges if you have rolled it out big enough. Put the dough in the freezer and preheat the oven to 400. When the oven is preheated, or after about 15 minutes, take the dough out and prick it all over with a fork. Then put it in the oven for about 15 minutes. Don't leave the kitchen during that time because pastry burns really easily at that temperature. When it's golden brown, pull it out, whether that takes 10 or 25 minutes. But make sure it's really baked to an even golden brown. Now for the apples.
1/3 c. (3.6 oz.) apricot jam
2 lbs. pie apples--Maida recommends Granny Smith or Jonathan, I used McIntosh, which were tasty but rather mushy
5 T. (2.5 oz.) butter
2 T. sugar
While the crust is freezing/baking, you can be doing two things. One is to put the apricot jam in a little Pyrex dish and microwave it for about 45 seconds or until it's bubbling. The other is to get to work peeling and slicing those apples. You want probably about 12 slices per apple (Maida says 15, but my apples were rather small). When the crust is out of the oven, spread the hot jam over it and then put the jammy crust in the oven for 2 minutes to set the jam. I think the idea here is to protect the crust from getting soggy. Reduce the oven temperature to 350.
Back to the apples: Get out a large frying pan and melt half the butter in it. When the butter is nice and hot, add about half the apples and 1 T. sugar and sauté them until they're nice and tender but hopefully not falling apart like mine did. This probably will take a good 5-8 minutes. When the apples are done, transfer them to a plate and do the second batch the same way.
If you used less mushy apples than I did, you can spend time and burn your fingers arranging the apples carefully on the crust in a sunburst pattern as Maida recommends. But no-one is going to see that because of the large layer of sour cream, so you could also just dump the apples on the crust and spread them out in an even layer. Whatever floats your boat. Now it's time to make the caramel!
2/3 c. (5.3 oz.) cream (I wonder if 1/2 cup would be better)
1/2 c. (3.5 oz.) sugar
OK, put the cream in a Pyrex measuring cup and microwave it for about a minute (but watch that it doesn't boil over). Put the sugar in a small saucepan or frying pan and put it over medium-high heat. Stir it until it melts, and then keep stirring until it's a nice caramel brown. Then take it off the heat, and CAREFULLY pour in the hot cream. That will bubble all over creation and might just make a huge mess. When the bubbles have died down enough that you can safely stir it, stir until smooth. You may need to put it back over the heat until the caramel is smoothly dissolved in the cream. Let it cool off for just a bit, and then pour it over the apples.
Now it's time for the last layer (hooray!)
3 c. (24 oz.) sour cream (1 used 2 cups of regular and one of light)
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla
Stir all that together and pour it on top of the apples. Very carefully, so that the caramel doesn't darken the sour cream, spread it over the apples, but not all the way to the crust (you don't want the crust getting soggy). Then bake for 7 minutes (on that foil-lined baking sheet, please). Let the tart cool to room temperature, then refrigerate it, probably overnight. Enjoy a delicious balanced breakfast!