While I’ve never been a fan of desserts that are too sweet, I would never bat an eye at anybody else for their love of sweets. But recently, I was watching some TV cooking competition, and the judges jumped all over a competitor for his dessert being too sweet. I was sitting at home, thinking/yelling at the TV, “I get it. But desserts are sweet. You can’t be mad when they’re TOO sweet!” Anybody else yell at their TV during “Chopped”? Just me?
Sometimes, I make like a TV cook and bake decadent sweets for friends, family or Jeff’s co-workers. Things sort of got out of control this time. At first, I was like “OK, I’m going to make an apple tart that would be great for Thanksgiving.” Then I thought, “Well, the tart should have pecans. Maybe a homemade pecan butter. Plus maple syrup. Maple-pecan butter. Oh yeah.” But I wasn’t ready to be finished yet. “I think this needs some caramel. Oh look, we have a new bottle of bourbon. Let’s make bourbon caramel.”
When I’m baking from scratch, I like to use the best ingredients that I can find. Whenever a Bob’s Red Mill option is available, that’s always the product that goes into my shopping cart, because I know it’ll be of the highest quality. This recipe marked my first time using Bob’s Red Mill Organic Unbleached All-Purpose White Flour. This flour is freshly milled from organic hard red wheat, and it is not enriched with any additives. It is a kitchen staple that is incredibly versatile and perfect for all of your baking needs.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: this apple and pecan tart seems like a lot of work. I won’t lie to you. It is sort of a special occasion item. But, it’s totally doable, because you can spread the work out over the course of a few days. The caramel can be made one day, and kept in the fridge for at least a week. The maple-pecan butter can be made another day, and also kept in the fridge for several days. You can make the tart dough and leave that in the fridge overnight, too! All that’s left to do on the big day is roll out the crust, spread it with the nut butter, fill it with apples, and bake. Remove from the oven, drizzle with caramel and grab a fork!
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Apple & Pecan Tart with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
For the Tart Crust:
- 1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus additional for flouring work surface and rolling pin
- 1-1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons ice water
For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce:
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons bourbon
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
For the Apple & Pecan Tart:
- 1 egg
- 6 ounces toasted pecan halves (about 1-1/2 cups), plus additional for garnish (if desired)
- 4 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, divided
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of kosher salt
- 5 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and very thinly sliced
- Make the Tart Crust: In bowl of food processor fitted with knife blade attachment, pulse flour, sugar and salt until combined. Add butter; process 10 to 15 seconds or until mixture resembles a coarse meal (all chunks of butter should be smaller than pea-sized). Add egg yolk; pulse until just combined.
- With processor running, pour ice water through feed tube in slow, steady stream and process until dough just holds together (no longer than 15 seconds). Transfer dough to work surface. Shape into disk; wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to overnight. Dough can also be frozen up to 1 month (thaw in refrigerator overnight before using).
- Make the Bourbon Caramel Sauce: In medium saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat. Cook, watching very closely, 15 minutes or until mixture turns deep amber color (swirl pan occasionally, but do not stir). Remove pan from heat and slowly stir in cream. Stir in bourbon and salt. Transfer to heat-safe container and refrigerate up to 1 week (mixture will thicken as it cools). Bring to room temperature before serving.
- Make the Apple & Pecan Tart: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In clean food processor fitted with knife blade attachment, process egg, pecans, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth.
- Lightly flour work surface and rolling pin; roll dough into 13-inch round. Transfer to 9½-inch round tart pan; pat down and cut off excess dough. Spread Maple-Pecan Butter evenly over bottom of crust; arrange apples over Maple-Pecan Butter. Sprinkle apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 tablespoons butter. Transfer to oven and bake 1 hour or until apples are golden brown and tender. Transfer to wire rack; cool 20 minutes before serving.
- To serve, garnish tart with additional pecans, if desired. Slice and serve tart with Bourbon Caramel Sauce.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own. Posts like this help me pay for the costs associated with this blog (groceries…lots of groceries), and help support me as I pursue a career in recipe development and food photography.