As part of our anniversary weekend, I thought I would make an apple custard tart. I love apple pie – a dessert that features fruit so prominently – and putting some light fluffy custard in there gives it an added element to make it even more wonderful and scrumptious. The recipe I used is one I have done before, namely when I made an apple meringue tart in Rouen last summer – it is based on Emeril’s recipe for an apple cream tart. Only I left off the meringue…
This time I got to use Miyoko’s Vegan Butter in the crust, which made it all the more awesome. And once again, I used my big tart pan, the Emile Henry Deep Quiche Pan (Amazon link) I bought from Sur la Table right after we got back from France at the end of the summer.
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
14 tablespoons vegan butter, cut into pats and chilled
6-8 tablespoons ice water
1 pastry shell, blind baked (see below)
4 honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons melted vegan butter
½ cup sugar, plus one tablespoon
¾ cup Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream (Amazon link)
2 teaspoons Calvados or other apple brandy (I used Laird’s Apple Brandy)
Prepare the crust ahead of time (it will need to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before you use it). In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and salt. Add the chilled butter and incorporate using a pastry blender, until the flour and butter resemble large bread crumbs. Sprinkle the ice water over it (start with a smaller amount – you can always add more if you need it) and using a spatula, gently mix it together until it starts to stick to the spatula. Using your hands, form the dough into a ball. Flatten it out into a large disk, cover with cellophane and put into refrigerator for at least half an hour.
When you are ready to use the pastry, take it out of the refrigerator and let it warm up for 5 or 10 minutes. Flour your surface and rolling pin. Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 1/8 of an inch. Butter the tart pan, and carefully arrange the dough in the tart pan, using your fingers to even out the edges of the crust. The butter should keep the dough from sticking, but if you want to be extra cautious (as I always am), prick the bottom of the dough all over with a fork.
Blind bake the tart shell at 375 degrees convection setting (i.e., my oven, when I press convection and then enter 400, immediately adjusts that to 375), or 400 conventional setting. Bake it for 10 minutes, check to make sure the sides of the shell haven’t fallen in (mine often do, and I have to take a spatula and set them back up again). Then bake for another 5 minutes.
Toss the apples with one tablespoon of sugar and the 2 tablespoons of melted butter.
In a mixing bowl, cream the rest of the sugar with your eggs until pale, beating for about 5 minutes. Add coconut cream and apple brandy and beat for another minute or two.
Overlap the apple slices over each other in the bottom of the tart shell, starting from the edge and moving in a counter-clockwise direction. Then do a second layer in the center of the tart, using up as many of the apple slices as you can. I always prepare too many apples (six instead of four) and then have lots of apple left over – but that is no problem, since they can be used in making oatmeal or pork chops.
Pour the custard over the apples evenly, moving around the tart as you do so. Bake in a 375 degree oven (convection setting, or 400 degree conventional setting) for around 50 minutes, until custard is set and the edges of the apples are getting browned. If you notice that the crust is getting too brown, you can cover it with aluminum foil.
Let it cool on a rack or trivet for up to an hour – but if you have been smelling this for an hour of baking time, you may be impatient and want to slice it up after only 15 or 20 minutes. If you do, just be aware that (a) it will still be hot and (b) it may start to fall apart, so you will have to be gentle with it to get it to hold together.
If you are patient and let it cool completely, putting some So Delicious Cocowhip or your own home-made coconut whipped cream over a slice of tart will make it even more fun. Or you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar over it. Either way, enjoy!