Sweet almond crust topped with a layer of cream cheese custard, fine slices of tart apple and a glossy salted caramel glaze.
This recipe is lightly adapted from one of my favourite dessert cookbooks – Organic & Chic by New York cake designer, Sarah Magid.
Rich, sweet, fruity, nutty, salty, creamy and tart.
Serves 8 (dessert)
Prep/cook time: 45 minutes, plus 1 hour bake time and 1-2 hours cooling
sweet almond crust
- 120g butter, softened
- 120g raw sugar
- 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
- 200g plain flour
- 50g ground almonds
Technique: Homemade vanilla extract is simple to make and an eternity of flavour away from supermarket vanilla. Fill a small bottle with 5-10 vanilla pods and vodka, then leave to steep for at least a month – the longer you leave it, the more flavour.
- 3-4 Granny Smith apples
- 150g raw sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 lemon, juice only
- 225g full-fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 medium egg, lightly beaten
- 1 tsp homemade vanilla extract
- 30g butter
- 2 tbsp double cream
Technique: Raw sugar adds an extra layer of caramel flavour.
for the crust
- Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together until lightened (easiest in a stand mixer or in a medium bowl with an electric whisk). Gently fold in the flour and almonds to make a crumb-like mix. Press firmly into a 25cm loose-bottomed tin, including up the sides.
Technique: This crumb pastry does not need rolling out or blind-baking. When cooked, it is firm, crunchy and holds together beautifully.
for the fillings
- Quarter and core the apples (no need to peel), then slice the apples as thinly as possible (a mandoline is good for this).
Technique: A mandoline is an essential piece of kitchen equipment. It slices very thinly and evenly, much quicker than cutting by hand. Just be careful of your fingers...
- Toss gently in 50g sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice, leave to soften for 10 minutes.
Technique: The acid in the lemon juice helps break down and soften the apple fibres. It also stops the apples turning brown as you assemble and bake the tart.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C. Wipe out the crust bowl, add the cream cheese and 50g sugar, then cream together. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to completely combine. Pour into the prepared (uncooked) crust.
- Working in a spiral, lay overlapping apple slices flat on the cheesecake filling, starting around the edge of the tart and finishing in the centre.
- Cover the tart with tin foil and bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for a further 15-20 minutes, until the custard is puffed and the apple edges are lightly browned – take care to not burn the edges of the apples during this final bake.
Technique: Covering the tart with tin foil helps steam and soften the apple slices as well as protecting the delicate top from drying out or burning.
- When you remove the tin foil, start making the salted caramel glaze.
- Melt the final 50g sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat and cook until melted and golden. Add the butter and stir to combine, then add the cream and cook, stirring constantly, until it forms a smooth, unified caramel. Season well with salt.
- Brush the tart with the glaze, then return to the oven and cook for a few more minutes until the glaze is gently bubbling.
- Cool the tart to room temperature before removing from the tin – it should pop out with a little jiggling.
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- Lovely by itself or go all out with a drizzle of double cream or scoop of vanilla ice cream.
- Can be stored in the fridge, well wrapped, for up to 5 days. If storing whole, leave the tart in the baking tin.
- Swap the raw sugar for any other sugar. Leave out the cinnamon if you prefer.
food styling tips
Slice the apples thinly and evenly. Carefully arrange the apple decoration – this is the most important step for the final look. Take care to not burn the edges of the apples after you remove the tin foil.