Honey Apple Tarts with Cream Cheese and Cheddar Crust
Recipe and photo by Tami Ganeles Weiser
Prep Time: 45 minutes Chilling Time: 45 minutes Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
This tart is pretty unusual—the crust is easy to make, easy to patch and yet still flaky and buttery. The filling is a honey-sweetened apple confection that is complex. It’s a great match for the extra-cheesey topping.
2½ cups (325 grams) unbleached, all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
½ teaspoon salt
1½ sticks, (3/4 cup/ 170 grams/6 ounces) cold unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
4 ounces (113 grams) cold cream cheese, cut into ¼-inch cubes
7 to 10 tablespoons cold water
1 cup (90 grams) finely shredded very sharp white Cheddar cheese
4 large (about 2¼ pounds) Granny Smith apples
4 large (about 2¼ pounds) Honeycrisp, Crispin, Pink Lady or Mutsu apples
¾ cup (127 grams) honey powder or maple sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons (16 grams) tapioca starch
Juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons honey
1 pound (16 thin slices) cheese, such as very sharp white Cheddar, Edam, smoked or traditional Gouda, Gruyere, or any semi-hard, full-flavored cheese
- Prepare the crust: In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, combine the flour and salt and pulse to combine until light in color. Add the chilled butter cubes and pulse 6 to 8 times, for one second each time. Add the cream cheese cubes and pulse 10 times, for one second each time, until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Add the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, pulsing between additions (about 6 to 8 pulses) just until the mixture begins to hold together in clumps. Add the cheese and pulse until combined.
- Divide the dough into 8 pieces, shape them into 8 discs, and wrap each in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled, at least 30 minutes or up to overnight.
- Make the filling: Peel, core, and cut the apples into ¼-inch pieces and place in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the honey powder, vanilla bean paste, and salt and stir well. In a small bowl, whisk together the tapioca starch and lemon juice until well combined and free of lumps. Slowly add to the apple mixture. Add the honey, stir well, and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally (and gently), for 35 to 40 minutes, until all of the apples are soft and some fall apart (if you like your apples firmer, cook for 17 to 20 minutes). Transfer the cooked fruit to a bowl and let cool to room temperature. This can be done up to 3 days in advance.
- Spray 8 mini-tart pans or pie pans, preferably with removable bottoms. Dust a work surface (preferably cold) with flour. Place 1 disc of the dough on it let rest until it is still cold but not a rock. Dust a rolling pin with flour, and rolling from the center outward, roll the dough into a small circle. Rotate the dough a half turn, making sure it is not sticking. Roll again until the circle is about 3 inches wider than the base of your tart pan. Dust the top with flour. Fold the dough circle in half and then in half again and place the center point in the center of the tart pan. Gently fold to open. With cold fingers, press the dough into the pan, tucking it into the corner and leaving an overhang of at least ½ inch over the rim of the pan. Repeat with the remaining dough and pans. Refrigerate for 15 to 20 minutes, until completely chilled,. This can be done the day before baking.
- When you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spoon the cooled filling into the tart shells, dividing it evenly between them.
- Place the filled tarts on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the juices are bubbling and crust edges are a deep golden color. Remove from the oven and increase the oven temperature to 475°F. Top each tart with 2 thin slices (2 ounces) of cheese. Return to the oven for 2 to 4 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.