Mini Apple Tarts

During one of my last trips back home, I stopped in Barcelona to visit my friend Ainara. Barcelona has a special charm, the light, the ocean, the mystic, quirky culture. Beautiful and colorful. And if you are obsessed with pastry as I am, it’s full of beautiful small pastry shops. Chocolate is a big part of their gastronomy. The windows are always full of chocolate sculptures and during Easter, the entire town goes chocolate crazy. It’s a pleasure to watch.

One of my favorite stops in Bubo. It’s a modern pastry shop owned by famous pastry chef Carles Mampel. The shop is only about 3 or 4 years old and it’s full of the most exquisite yet fun pastries I have seen in a long time. His tarts are divine. Some simple, some complex. He also has a catering business and displays some of his mini creations in the window. Savory tapas in a stick. I seem to find food on a stick a lot lately. I think it brings us back to our childhoods and makes food playful, easily and uncomplicated.

Another great Spanish patissier is Paco Torreblanca. He has published three amazing pastry books, two of them are professional level and one of them is for the home cook. More on him on future posts because his books really inspire me.

The tart is built with three different components. Sable breton base which is the same recipe I used for the strawberry and rhubarb tarts, diplomats cream which is pastry cream lightened with whipped cream and caramelized apples. I finished it with apricot glaze and pistachios. The glaze gives it shine and it also protects it from oxidizing.

I used Fuji apples because although they are not used a lot in baking, I feel their crisp texture and tartness makes them perfect for tarts or desserts in which you want to keep some of its consistency.

Caramelized Roasted Apples

Makes 4 tarts

3 medium size Fuji apples or you can even use Granny Smiths

2 Tbs granulated sugar

Peel and core the apples. Cut them into 8 wedges. Place these wedges on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and sprinkle the sugar on top of each one of them. Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until they start to soften and the sugar starts to caramelize. Remove them from the oven and let them cool on the sheet pan until they are cool enough to handle.

Diplomats Cream

Makes more than you will need but you can use the rest as a filling for another pastry or eat it all by itself

2 cup organic whole milk
4 oz sugar
1.5 oz cornstarch
2 organic eggs
1 organic egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 Tbs unsalted organic butter

1 cup organic heavy cream, whipped to soft peak

Whip the cream to soft peak and refrigerate until ready to use.

Make a pastry cream with the rest of the ingredients. Place the milk in a saucepan and bring it to a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, egg yolks, sugar and cornstarch until there are no lumps. Temper the hot milk into the egg mixture and whisk. Return this custard to the saucepan and cook until it starts to boil and it thickens. Remove from heat and immediately, transfer the cream to a clean bowl. Whisk in the vanilla and the butter. Continue whisking until the cream cools down. Place plastic wrap on top, touching the cream so no skin forms on the custard. Refrigerate.

When the pastry cream is cold, we will combine it with the heavy cream. Add a little bit of the pastry cream to the whipped cream and fold gently with a spatula until well incorporated. Add another small amount and continue the same until all has been added.

Assemble the Tart

Pipe a small amount of the cream on top of the baked and cooled sable rounds. Place 5 or 6 baked apple wedges on top of the cream creating a pattern that looks like a fan. Glaze the tart with some hot apricot glaze. Most of the time I use apricot jam that I warm up in the microwave and strain through a fine sieve to get rid of any chunks. Finish with chopped pistachios.

The apples melt in your mouth. They almost taste like if they had been baked with lots of butter but no, they haven’t. There’s something about Fuji apples!


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22 Responses to “Mini Apple Tarts”

  1. Veron says:

    This looks delicious aran. I’ve heard about Paco Torreblanca…he is quite the artist in dessert!

  2. linda says:

    What a beautiful and creative way to do the apple slices, really pretty!

  3. That tart is beautiful! Sometimes apples turn ugly after being baked, but this presentation is great! I love the inside shot too!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Eres única..
    B.

  5. These are adorable! Nice fan of apples! I like that idea.

  6. giz says:

    Bubo looks like a very dangerous place indeed – I like the lines and the simplicity and I stopped counting at 6 million calories. The tart is gorgeous. I’m sure I’ll never be a baker but love the creativity that makes it look so simple. The eating part is kinda fun too.

  7. Hello. I am so happy to have found your blog. I am wondering if you’ve ever used your Sable as a “press-in” dough for tarts? Removable tart pan tarts but also can the dough handle being inside a tart baking vessel like one made of porcelain?

    It looks like a dough that would hold up against a fair bit of moisture which is exciting to me. Thank you for a beautiful blog!

  8. Aran says:

    Thank you everyone for your kind words!

    Shuna- I always bake this dough in a flexipan because otherwise it really spreads and becomes a little too crispy for my liking. So of course, you can bake it in any vessel. It keeps it tender that way. For these tarts I use the large muffin flexipans. Works out perfectly. Thank you for your lovely comment.

  9. Sherry says:

    I have just found your blog and I read through all of it because I love all the beautiful desserts you have been making!

    And I so have a question, a request, really.

    Last year I studied for a semester in Santiago de Compostela and I loved it so much. To tell the truth, I did not really enjoy the food but I did love desserts. I especially loved this one cake that my host mother would buy, and it was a very rich, moist, yellow cake, and sometimes they would put in things like grapes. I remember thinking that it was very strange that they used seeded grapes and I was always torn between crunching on all of the seeds or taking them allll out which took a very long time.

    I was wondering if perhaps that is a basic Spanish cake and that you might have a recipe for it? Or failing that if you have a recipe for a simple olive oil cake with just flour, olive, oil, sugar, eggs, etc.?

    If you don’t have the time I understand, of course, but if you do I would be ecstatic!

  10. Y says:

    I hope to go to Spain one day. Maybe when I do, I’ll hit you up for some recommended pastry shops to visit :-D That’s always my priority, whenever I’m on holiday!

  11. B says:

    What a wonderful recipe and recommendation for visitors to Barcelona! Will not miss it next time I’m in town. Moreover, the mini-apple pies look (and I’m sure tatste) delicious. Love those little bites!

  12. I love Barcelona, but I’ve never had the opportunity to go on a proper pastry binge there, so I’ve clipped this post for future reference.

    Your tarts look amazing!

  13. Eileen says:

    Beautiful apple tarts! Great photos. I’m also passionate about tarts.

    Eileen (passions to pastry)

    http://www.livingtastefully.com

  14. Aran says:

    B-
    Thank you for your lovely comments. maybe next time I’m in Paris you can take me to your favorite pastry shops!!!

  15. C.L. says:

    Aran,
    This is so beautiful! I can’t wait to make them! Thank you so much for sharing. How I would love to meet you face to face someday. I think we would have a riot!

    Carrie

  16. My god this looks fantastic, the pastry shops in Barcelona are indeed fantastic, was there last year and ate my weight in dessert!!!! Such a beautiful vibrant city and these are so elegant and a really “modern” classic!!!

  17. Are your pictures ever short of amazing!?

  18. Tartelette says:

    Great little apple tarts you got there! I love the cut shot!

  19. Sophie says:

    This is such a fun apple recipe! I love how little they are, but I’ve learned that sometimes the smallest desserts are the most difficult to put together, but they also tend to pack a punch of flavor :)…these look like they’ll definitely do that. You did a great job on these, the photos are beautiful :D. If I didn’t have so many cookies to bake at the moment, I’d definitely bake these this weekend :).

    Sophie
    Flour Arrangements

  20. You made it so pretty and yummy! Well done!

  21. morgana says:

    ¡Qué presentación más original!

    Me encanta.

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