Strawberry Shortcake with Vanilla Bean Whipped Cream
The ultimate spring dessert. Or breakfast. Or snack.
Ever since I made homemade puff pastry again a few weeks ago, we’ve been pondering when to make this apple tart. The perfect opportunity came this past weekend when my friend Callie and her fiance Aaron came to stay with us! We spent the morning shopping and visiting the Portland Farmers Market. We got ingredients for a little pizza party and a big bag of apples later on in the day.
The four of us spent some quality time in the kitchen, chopping pizza toppings, making the crusts, shredding the cheese and sipping our homebrewed porter. After the pizza came out of the oven, it was time for the tart to go in. Callie was our master apple chopper, Dave made the caramel and I took care of the puff pastry. I love collaborative dinners – it’s one of my favorite ways to spend time with guests.
This turned out to be one of the prettier desserts that we’ve ever made (I am not sure anything can top Dave’s Pineapple Upside Down Cake).
Here’s what you need:
And for the caramel:
Start by peeling and coring the apples, and cutting them into eighths. Toss with the lemon juice and 1/2 cup sugar and set aside for 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. In a 10-inch cast iron (or other oven-proof) skillet, melt the butter and 1 cup sugar over medium heat and stir to combine. Pour off a 2-3 tbsp. of juice from the bowl of apples into the pan as well. Keep cooking and stirring the butter-sugar-juice mixture on medium heat. Eventually it will turn a caramel color – this will be after about 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and arrange the apples in a spiral – they won’t all fit on one layer, but the bottom layer in the pan will eventually be the top layer of the tart, so try to make that one the prettiest and most structurally sound.
Roll your puff pastry to a 1/4-inch thickness, and use a cake pan, lid or pie pan similar in size to your skillet to trim the pastry into a circle. Place on top of the apples and tuck the edges of the pastry into the pan around the edges, making sure there is pastry between any toppings and the sides of the pan at the edge (further down in the pan does not matter).
Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the puff pastry is golden brown. After the pan has cooled for five minutes, pour off a little bit of the juice – there will be much more than you need.. Place a heat-safe platter on the top of the puff pastry. Carefully, holding the plate and the skillet together, invert the tart onto the plate.
You may have to replace a few apples that go astray – and that is OK. Just replace them.
Allow to cool a bit before serving with ice cream or whipped cream.
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