I've been on a bit of a caramel apple kick lately, manifested in my graduation party caramel-apple upside down cake. The start of the caramel apple theme started a week earlier, though, with a Friday night dinner. Andy suggested we have enchiladas for dinner, and while the oven was on, why not make a tart?
We had a few apples and one pear in the fridge, so I got the puff pastry out of the freezer and sliced up some apples. Flipping through my exciting new cookbook, Vegan Bake Sale, I saw a recipe for a small batch of caramel sauce. The sauce is meant to drizzle over cupcakes, but I thought it would do well with some apple tart. And flipping through The Joy of Vegan Baking, I was inspired by a crunchy nut topping for an apple strudel. So I combined all of these things into my tart, which ended up being reminiscent of those caramel apples coated in peanuts that I occasionally got from the fair when I was a kid.
First, I sliced up two apples and a pear. I don't bother peeling, because I like the texture. I tossed those in a bowl with some cinnamon, a dash of salt, and a tablespoon of flour. I mix my apples with flour for crumbles, pies and tarts because it helps the juice from the apples get thick and glazy, instead of runny.
Then I mixed up the caramel.
This recipe is great because it only makes 1/3 of a cup. I let that cool down a bit before assembling everything. I turned out to have too many apples, but I kind of liked having a big mound of fruit on top of my puff pastry. Then I drizzled the caramel sauce over the top, and Andy sprinkled with the nuts.
It went into the oven while we nommed on our enchiladas.
Then when I pulled it out, it looked pretty disappointing. Some of the caramel had run and burnt into the pan.
But when we served it up, it turned out not to be a fail at all. It was sweet, and tart from the apples, and delicious. Andy wanted another the next day, it was so good.
And then we mixed together the leftover nuts and caramel, and swirled them through some peanut butter ice cream, for a delicious, delicious frozen treat.