My sincerest apologies to all of you for my lack of posts lately. The weeks have been flying by–don’t you hate it when that happens?–and my kitchen and all of its lovely stainless pots, enamel pans, melamine mixing bowls, wooden spoons, and rubber spatulas have been neglected. I haven’t made much worth sharing lately, that is, until these little guys. Tartlets. Is that not the cutest name for a dessert? I want to say it over and over. Tartlet. Tartlet. Tartlet. I may have made these for that reason alone. (Well, that’s not entirely true.) These are tasty and the meringue makes them especially attention-worthy. What these aren’t? Pint-sized apple pies. These are different. They have pastry cream. And meringue. And rum. And raisins. I’ll let you know up front, however, that these innocent looking fellas, as adorable as they are, will require a fair amount of your time. But don’t let that scare you. These are worth the effort and if you need to attack them in separate stages, you can always make the crust, the filling, and the pastry cream in advance, then bake and fill the tartlets and make the meringue at a later time. If you have questions about how to do this feel free to email me. Happy Tartletting!
- 1.5 cups flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch of salt
- 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 5 tablespoons ice water
- 6 apples, peeled cored and chopped coarsely
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons raisins
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 1/3 cup whole milk, scalded
- 4 egg yolks, separated
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- 2 tablespoons rum
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 egg whites
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
First make the pie crust. (It is important that you do this first because it will need to chill for at least 30 minutes.) I like to do this by hand but if you are more comfortable using a stand mixer, don’t let my old-fashioned ways stop you!
Place flour, sugar, salt, and sugar on clean countertop and toss together. Add cubes of butter and rub with your fingers until combination looks like small peas. Add the water a spoonful at a time and fluff the mixture together with your finger tips. If you have “hot hands” be sure to dip your fingers in ice water to keep the dough cool. When all of the water is added and dough feels like it will come together nicely, shape into a disc, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make the apple filling.
In a medium pot combine the apples, water, and lemon juice. Cover and simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add sugar, apricot jam, raisins, butter, and lemon zest and cook uncovered until thick and bubbly. Transfer to a glass bowl and cool.
Make the pastry cream.
Heat the milk until just lukewarm. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, beat egg yolks and sugar until light, pale yellow. Stir in flour and salt. Carefully whisk the warm milk into the egg mixture. Cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Continue to boil for 2 minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. If mixture becomes “globby” whisk until homogeneous. Remove from heat and add rum and vanilla. Strain through a mesh strainer. Refrigerate until cool.
Make the tartlets.
Preheat oven to 400F. Roll the pie crust until 1/8 inch thick on a lightly floured counter. Butter 10-12 tartlet pans. (Be sure to get butter into every last crevice!) Drape the dough over the pans and gently press the dough into the bottom and up the sides of each pan. Press firmly around the edge of the pans (using the top of the pan like a cookie cutter) and remove the scraps. Use a fork to poke holes into the bottom of each piece of dough.
Aren’t these little guys adorable?! Here they are uncooked and naked.
Place all of the tartlets on a baking sheet and cover the tartlets with parchment paper. Carefully fill each tartlet (on top of the parchment) with pie weights. Bake for about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and very carefully remove parchment and pie weights. Return to the oven and continue to bake 5-10 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, remove each tartlet from individual pans and cool on a rack.
Once cool, place tartlets on a baking sheet. Spoon about one tablespoon of pastry cream onto each tart. Top with apple filling.
Make the meringue.
In the bowl of a stand mixer (or using a hand mixer and a metal bowl) beat egg whites and lemon juice until soft peaks form. Add sugar, one spoonful at a time, while continuing to beat. Meringue should be the consistency of shaving cream. Transfer into a pastry bag with a star tip and pipe meringue onto each little tart. (Tarts should already be filled with a layer of pastry cream and apple filling at this point.) Bake on the top rack of the oven for 10-12 minutes or until meringue is golden brown and firm. Cool on a rack before serving.