Monday, October 22, 2007

Red Wine Caramel Apple Tart

I lay in bed, thinking about food. I'm not even hungry, just trying to create something new. The recipe that kept me up this time was my annual pie for Thanksgiving. You see, every year I like to do a twist on a classic pie for my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving. Last year's was going to be pretty tough to top, but I might have come close.

The crust for this pie is a lightly sweet walnut and butter crust. The pie itself contains tart apple slices, very thin. In between the layers of apples are a couple ounces of Gorgonzola cheese and a rosemary-infused red wine caramel sauce. Walnuts, Gorgonzola, red wine, tart apples, hint of rosemary. Perfect. It was, too. When I prep it for the holiday, I will use the mandoline and get the apples thinner (to hold the caramel and cheese better), but that is all I will change.

Red Wine Caramel Apple Tart (with Walnuts and Gorgonzola)

Red wine caramel:

1 cup sugar

1/4 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup red wine

1/2 vanilla bean, split and scraped

1 sprig rosemary


8 medium or 12 small gala or tart-sweet apples, cored, peeled and sliced very thin

2 oz gorgonzola dolce crumbled

For Crust:

1 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup walnuts

3 tbs. sugar

1 stick butter

1/3 cup cake flour (not self-rising)

1/2 tsp. Salt

4-5 tbs. Ice water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust, put the walnuts in food processor and pulse to chop fine. Add the flours, salt and sugar to the food processor next and pulse to combine. Add cold butter one tablespoon at a time and pulse a few times until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add ice water one tablespoon at a time and pulse just until dough starts to come together. You may not need all the ice water. Less water is best. Try not to overmix. Gather dough into a ball and flatten into a flat disk. Cover in plastic wrap and chill for at least one hour and up to a day.

Roll the dough out between sheets of plastic wrap to about a 14-inch round. Peel off top layer of wrap and then invert dough into tart pan, remove wrap. Press into edges of tart pan. Prik the bottom a few times with a fork. Cover crust with plastic wrap. Place dish with crust in the refrigerator to chill while you make filling.

Crumble the Gorgonzola cheese into bits about 1/4 inch each. Have the apples peeled, cored and sliced thin ready. I tried the apple "machine" for this tart, next time I would use the mandoline set very thin. Both work, but thinner is better if you have the time and equipment. Otherwise, just slice the apples very thin with a good knife.

To make the caramel sauce: place the sugar in a small pot and cook, over medium heat until the sugar has melted and caramelized (turned golden), about 10 minutes. This is called a dry caramel as it does not use water to help the sugar dissolve. You will need to watch it nonstop since it goes from sugar to gold to burnt quickly.

Remove the pot from the burner and add the cream and wine slowly. It may bubble and spit, so be careful. When the sauce has calmed down, return it to the flame, add the vanilla bean and rosemary sprig, and heat it slowly, until the wine and caramel are smooth and continue to slowly cook until reduced by half. Remove from the heat and cool until thickened. Remove rosemary.

Put a layer of apple down on the crust. Dot the apples with half the cheese crumbles. Drizzle one-third of the caramel over the top. Do a second layer of apples with the other half of the cheese and one third of the caramel. Place last layer of apples on and drizzle the last of the caramel on top. Bake for about 40-45 minutes.

This recipe is going to be part of Sugar High Friday posts, all recipes that include alcohol and apples. The recipe list will be hosted at Spittoon Extra.


Renaissance Creatrix said...

Gorgeous gorgonzola and red wine and apples. It's luscious and devious and original and whispers at you from deep in the gorgonzola- make me, you know you wanna' taste this incredible recipe!

A secret surprise I will share with the family next month for the feasting! Thank you for sharing!

Erica said...

Laugh at me: I made this.

Kind of. Note:

No matter what the interwebs might have to say about it, a springform pan does not serve as a great replacement for a tart pan. Red-wine caramel sauce everywhere!

Also, you might want to mention that using a plastic spoon in a pan with freshly-melted sugar is a bad idea.

And that gorgonzola cheese makes your hands smell very interesting.

...lessons learned. I can't wait to eat. :)