Freshly picked apples are one of the delights of autumn. Their beautiful red skins and crisp texture seem a perfect pairing with the changing seasons. These delicious tarts are a great way to showcase apples in a pretty way and I think you’ll find this recipe super easy as well. Note that if you’d like, you can double the quantities and follow the same directions below to prepare a 9 inch tart (use a springform pan). Mini or full sized tarts can be baked ahead and frozen in an airtight container for up to three months, though I doubt you’ll be able to wait that long to polish ’em off.
For the shortbread crust:
- 3/4 cup (185 mL) all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) white sugar
- 1/3 cup (90 mL) very cold butter
For the filling:
- 2 medium apples
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) white sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) ground ginger
For the topping:
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) caramel sauce (purchased or homemade)
- 1/4 teaspoon (1.25 mL) fine sea salt or Maldon salt flakes
- Start by preheating oven to 375F. Line a twelve-compartment muffin pan with paper liners (use the parchment ones if you can find them) and set aside.
- Prepare shortbread crust by combining flour, sugar and butter, cut in 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) cubes in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Alternatively, you can also combine flour and sugar in a medium sized bowl and use a box grater to grate the butter into the flour mixture. Combine well with your fingers, rubbing the grated butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs.
- Divide the flour mixture among the twelve muffin tin compartments and press down with the back of a small spoon.
- Bake for 15 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown. Remove muffin pan from oven but do not turn oven off.
- While crust is baking, prepare fruit filling by peeling and coring apples, then cutting into thin pieces (approximately 1/8 inch by 1/2 inch).
- Put the cut apples in a bowl, toss with lemon juice. Combine sugar, cinnamon and ginger and sprinkle over apples then stir to combine.
- When crust has baked, top with apple mixture, dividing evenly among the twelve tarts. Press down very lightly with fingers.
- Top each tart with 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of the caramel sauce and finish with a sprinkling of salt.
- Return pan to oven and bake for 20 – 25 minutes, until apples are tender and caramel sauce is bubbling.
- Let cool at least 1 hour at room temperature or 30 minutes in the refrigerator (to allow caramel sauce to set) before removing from paper liners and serving.
Makes 12 mini tarts.