Honeycrisp Apple Tart

Crisp fall apples pair with a lemony yogurt cream in this simple to make but sophisticated to behold pastry. Highbrow enough for a dinner party, but chill enough for brunch, this tart owes its brightness to in meyer lemon, and its depth to cinnamon and the caramel undertones of coconut flower nectar.

I'll never understand why people get so intimidated by tarts. They might look like a thousand bucks, but even some of the prettiest ones are nothing other than the dessert world's take on pizza: Make a crust, throw some stuff on it, delight almost everyone. In fact, the word "tart" is so ambiguously open to interpretation that even wikipedia admits there are "no sharp distinctions" between tarts and pies, flans or even quiches. All of this is to basically say that, look, if you make something that has pastry crust on the bottom (again, just the bottom - whether that crust covers the sides and top are open to interpretation), you have successfully made a tart. Seriously.

Think of this recipe as a kind of tart 101: We're going to get pretty detailed on the pastry, but keep the filling is as easy as they come. Because once you master the crust, you've also formed your foundation for an endless flow of creativity, from apple pies to homemade pop tarts to savory quiches filled with caramelized onions and gruyere. 

Here, we use Siggi's yogurt and honeycrisp apples to keep our pastry cream thick and our filling seasonal, but you can swap the Siggis for plain greek yogurt, and any type of apple for the honeycrisps. A meyer lemon brings brightness to the filling, and its juice keeps the apple slices from going brown, but again, using a regular lemon is fine. Like I mentioned, when it comes to tarts, fillings can be pretty flexible. 

Honeycrisp Apple Tart

For the tart:

2 1/2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp granulated coconut flower nectar (optional)

1 cup butter, very cold and cut into small cubes

1/3 cup + 1 tbsp ice water

 

For the yogurt pastry cream:

1 1/2 cups Icelandic or greek yogurt 

1/3 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

1 tbsp meyer lemon peel

1 tsp vanilla

 

For the apples:

2 large honeycrisp apples

3 tbsp butter

Juice of one meyer lemon

1/3 cup granulated coconut flower nectar

1 tsp cinnamon

Pinch of salt

 

1. For the tart: Whisk together flour, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Add the butter cubes, and with a food processor, pastry cutter or your fingertips, cut the butter into the flour mixture until butter is in small pieces, about the size of peas. The point here is to work quickly so the butter doesn't become overly soft or melt, so if you start to notice the butter pieces getting too squishy as you work (which happens more regularly when you use your hands), just pop the whole mixing bowl in the freezer for five minutes, then resume. 

When flour mixture is ready, gently fold in the ice water using a fork or spatula. Don't overmix; when the dough forms a loose but very flaky ball, it's ready. Using your hands, form a flat ball with the dough, then cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. 

To make your tart shell, preheat the over to 375 degrees fahrenheit. Grease and flour an 11 inch tart pan and set aside. Lightly flour a countertop surface, then place chilled dough on top of the floured surface and dust a little more flour on top. Using a rolling pin, evenly roll your dough to a 1/4 inch thick circle, pausing regularly to flip your dough and lightly re-flour the surfaces of both the countertop and the dough. Center the rolled dough over your tart pan, then ensure there are no air gaps between the dough and your pan by gently pressing dough to the bottom and sides. Trim excess dough from the edges.

Using a fork, poke the dough every two inches or so to allow steam to escape when it bakes. You can place your tart pan in the oven just like this for a puffier crust, or line the tart shell with parchment paper and fill with pie weights or uncooked beans to produce a denser one. 

Bake tart in oven for 25 minutes. If you're using the pie weight method, remove tart after twenty minutes, carefully remove the parchment paper and weights, then return to the oven for 5 more minutes. When tart is golden brown, remove from over and cool.

2. For the pastry cream: Place all ingredients in a bowl and whisk very thoroughly. Thank God for the simpleness of this step after that tart shell.

3. For the apples: Slice apples into very thin slices, about 1/5th of an inch. Place lemon juice, butter, cinnamon, salt and coconut sugar in a large saute pan, and cook over medium heat until sugar has dissolved and mixture is transparent. Add sliced apples and cook until apples have softened, but before they turn to mush - about 8-12 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.

4. To assemble: Spread pastry cream evenly inside tart shell. Beginning at one edge of the tart, vertically place a slice of apple on top of the pastry cream, then working in a circle, add another apple slice, slightly overlapping the former. When you've made a complete circle, begin that process again, overlapping your first circular row of apples by about an inch. Continue until you reach the center of the tart. Eat immediately or refrigerate.