Sometimes I just need to get away, need a break from the usual, a change of scenery, some new views, that sort of thing. So I am very happy to be in Texas for a couple of weeks. I’ve had leisurely mornings and wine infused evenings. I’ve made cranberry jam and buttermilk cake and learned how to use Dad’s new smoker.
Looking out and seeing pasture and horses and trees and little else relieves me. I love being able to sit on the porch or walk around outside and hear no cars or other city sounds. Or head to Denton square and wander around with a friend. And plan a slew of cookies to bake. Dale arrives on Sunday. And thank goodness because I am in dire need of good coffee. Plus, he’s pretty good company.
Apple Speculoos Tart
Before I left Atlanta, I was determined to bake some tartlets and a chocolate cake. The cake will come later. For now, I have these tartlets for you. They came out of an urging for apple pie. I do love apple pie–warm and comforting and fulfilling.
Sometimes though, I want a little crumble in place of the pie crust. Since I’d made speculoos a day or two earlier, I decided to incorporate them via a cookie tartlet crust. Because how could that be bad?
So I stirred speculoos cookie crumbs with butter and pressed it into tartlet pans. Baked them up. Introduced sugared and vanillaed apples and crumble. Baked until crisp. And had dessert. It was exactly what I wanted. The apples cooked up perfectly soft and carmely and the crust and topping wonderfully crumbly. All the comforts of apple pie in a lovely little tartlet.
I highly encourage the joint consumption of these tartlets and a glass of egg nog with a splash of rum. Ultimate warmth y’all.
Apple Crumb Tartlets with Speculoos Crust
makes five 4 3/4-inch tartlets or one full size tart
8 1/2 oz. speculoos or Biscoff cookies (recipe here or store-bought)
56 g (1/4 cup) butter, melted
50 g (1/4 cup) granulated sugar
14 g (1 Tbsp.) butter
3 medium apples, peeled, cored, and cut into small dice
50 g (about 1/4 cup) light brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
100 g (1/2 cup) granulated sugar
45 g (1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp.) all-purpose flour
42 g (3 Tbsp.) cold butter, cubed
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
Make crust. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Process cookies in a food processor until you get fine crumbs. Transfer to a medium bowl along with the melted butter and sugar and stir until mixture resembles wet sand. Divide among tartlet shells and press evenly into the bottom and up the sides. Refrigerate for 15 minutes then bake for 10 minutes. Let cool while you make the filling.
Prepare filling. Melt the tablespoon of butter in a skillet over medium heat until frothy toasty. Add remaining filling ingredients and stir to evenly coat the apples. Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to soften.
Meanwhile, prepare topping. Combine the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Rub the butter into the dry ingredients with your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal.
Increase oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Divide apple mixture evenly among tartlet shells. Top each tartlet with a small handful of the topping. Bake until topping is crisp, about 10 minutes. Let tartlets cool completely in the pans.
This tart crust is a bit fragile (especially if the cookies are not ground up finely enough), so take care when removing the tartlets from the pans. These tartlets are best the day made.
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