For the Apple Filling
6 cups peeled, cored, and sliced tart apples (about 5 medium-size apples)
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
? teaspoon ground allspice
? teaspoon ground cloves
1½ cups Streusel (recipe follows)
To Make the Apple Filling
Place the apples, sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, salt, and ½ cup of water in a large saucepan and toss together. Simmer over medium-low heat until the apples soften and begin to fall apart and the liquid reduces. This should take 1½ to 2 hours. Use a spoon to break up and crush any large apple pieces remaining. The filling should resemble a chunky applesauce. Set aside to cool.
Perfect Tart Dough
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup cake flour
½ teaspoon salt
13 tablespoons (1? sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons whole milk, room temperature
1 egg yolk, room temperature
½ teaspoon sugar
In a medium bowl, combine the all-purpose flour, cake flour, and salt.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until it is smooth and creamy.
Reduce to low speed and add the milk, egg yolk, and sugar. Beat until the mixture is blended. At this stage, it will look curdled.
Add the flour mixture in small increments, mixing until a soft dough forms.
Divide the dough into two equal portions. Shape each portion into a ball and flatten each into a disc. Wrap the discs tightly with plastic wrap and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.
To roll out and shape the tart dough
Remove one disc of tart dough from the refrigerator.
With a rolling pin, roll out the tart dough on a lightly floured surface to ?-inch-thick, using flour as needed to prevent the dough from sticking to the table and rolling pin.
Allow the dough to rest for a few minutes before cutting to prevent the dough circles from shrinking afterwards.
Cut the dough into six 5-inch circles and line six muffin cups with the dough. Press the dough firmly into the cups and flatten out any folds ensuring an even thickness around the edge.
Remove the second disc of tart dough from the refrigerator and repeat steps 2 through 4. Refrigerate the tart shells in the muffin pan for at least one hour.
¾ cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon sour cream
Place the sugar, corn syrup, and 1½ teaspoons of water in a small saucepan. Have the butter, cream, and sour cream measured and ready. Cook the sugar over medium heat. Use a pastry brush dipped in water to wash away any sugar crystals stuck to the side of the pan.
Cook the sugar until it reaches a medium amber color and immediately remove it from the burner. This happens very quickly after it starts to brown and continues to darken after it is pulled off the heat, so be attentive.
Quickly whisk in the butter. The sugar will bubble and might spatter a little.
Whisk in the heavy cream and sour cream. The mixture will be smooth and creamy, but somewhat thin. It will thicken as it cools. Add the salt and set it aside to cool.
Makes about 2 cups streusel
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
? teaspoon salt
1½ cups all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, salt, and flour.
Add the butter. Blend it into the flour mixture using your fingers or a pastry blender until evenly moistened and resembles coarse crumbs.
Can be used immediately or transferred to a tightly covered storage container and kept refrigerated until ready to use.
To Fill and Bake the Tarts
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the prepared tart dough from the refrigerator.
Spoon about a tablespoon of the cooled caramel sauce into the bottom of each chilled tart shell.
Fill the shells with the apple filling leaving a ½-inch border at the top. Top the apple filling with a heaping ? cup streusel.
Place a sheet of aluminum foil under the pan on the oven rack to catch any filling that may boil out. Bake the tarts for 23 to 24 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the baking time. The pastry is done when the tart dough is lightly browned and all translucency is gone.
Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack for about 10 minutes before removing the tarts. A small offset spatula or a knife works well to pull the tart out. Finish cooling the tarts directly on the wire rack or serve while still warm.
Courtesy of Tara Smith, Standard Baking Co., Portland, Maine