My swoonworthy caramel apple tarts

This has been a long, warm autumn and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, especially thee apples. I grew up with apple trees in our backyard and never touched the fruit except to have to rake up all those heavy, roly-poly apples. But this year, I cannot get enough and I’m eating apples by the peck! Yes, the peck.

Here’s my latest ode to the autumn and all its warm, bright sights and flavours: caramel apple tarts.

Ingredients

12 vegan tart shells (in Ontario, use President’s Choice no-name brand, ready made shells or make your own tart shells – there are tons of great vegan pie crust recipes out there. Making pastry is not my fave thing to do)

For the caramel

¼ cup vegan margarine

¾ cup loosely packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp plant milk (I used almond milk)

2 Tbsp corn starch

1 tsp vanilla extract

For the apple filling

½ cup raisins

1 small apple (I used macintosh) peeled, cored and diced finely

2 tsp real maple syrup

½ tsp cinnamon

Pinch salt

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Directions

Preheat your oven to 325 F.

Arrange your tart shells on a cookie tray.

For the caramel

Using a hand mixer or spoon – mix together the caramel ingredients until you have a creamy, lump-free sauce. Set aside.

For the apple filling

In a small bowl, stir together the apple filling ingredients until the apples and raisins are well coated.

Spoon an equal amount of the apple filling into each tart shell (about 1 ½ tsp per shell). Then spoon an equal amount of the caramel over the apple filling (about a generous tablespoon per tart).

Bake for 30-35 minutes. They are done when the tart shell is slightly golden and the filling is bubbling. The tarts are extremely hot when they come out of the oven so let them cool for a while before handling them. Serve them up as is, or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream…. or some other decadence (and please do tell me about that!).

These tarts can be frozen for a month or two.

Hasselback apples – apple, caramel and a nutty crunch.

hasselbackalldressed

A couple years ago, everyone was making hasselback potatoes. Now it’s hasselback apples. This is my vegan version.

So what’s a hasselback? It refers to slicing a potato or in this case apple in thin slices almost all the way through but not quite. The final effect reminds me of a little hedgehog or armadillo.

This hasselback potato.pngis a hasselback potato – you can see how it’s sliced, ready to impress.

We’re going to do the same thing to an apple, then drizzle it with a delicious sauce that turns into caramel as it bakes. Oh yeah.

Hasselback apples look fancy schmancy but they’re really just an apple cobbler all dressed up for a party.

I’m giving you the proportions for one apple and you can easily scale up the recipe from there.

Ingredients

1 apple – I used a yellow delicious.

1½ Tbsp vegan margarine

1 ½ Tbsp brown sugar

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp rolled oats

1 Tbsp chopped pecans, walnuts or almonds (optional). I used chopped pecans.

hasselbackundressed.jpg

Directions

Heat your oven to 400F.

Peel the apple and cut it in half. Carefully remove the core; if you have a melon baller, that’s an ideal tool to use. You want the apple half to remain intact. Place the apple half cut side down and slice ¼ inch wide slices into the apple almost all the way through but not quite. You should be able to fan the slices open, but not have the apple fall apart.* Repeat with the second apple.

Grease a small oven-safe dish and place the hasselbacked apple halves into the dish.

Melt ½ tablespoon margarine with 1 tablespoon brown sugar and ½ teaspoon cinnamon. Spoon this mixture evenly over the apple halves.

Cover and bake the halves for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, mix the remaining ingredients together to create a streusel crumble mixture. After the apples have baked for 10 minutes, spoon this mixture evenly onto the apples. You can try to get the mixture down between the slices, but it’s not necessary.

Bake for another 10 minutes uncovered.

Serve each hasselback apple with the now carmelized brown sugar-cinnamon sauce spooned over top. Seriously – all that stuff that’s in the bottom of the baking dish, scoop it up and put it back on the apple and eat it.

Serve the apples with vegan ice cream – I’m a huge fan of So Delicious (cashew-based) brand – and a drizzle of maple syrup.

*Oh oh! I sliced too far. My apple fell apart. Now what? Not to worry. Just break the apple up into chunks and bake it in a ramekin. It will be a mini-cobbler instead of a hasselback and just as delicious either way!