This crispy, buttery, maple-y apple tart with a silky, maple pastry cream filling is doused in caramel. It is my first in a series of Eat-Local recipes that I’m making as part of the Slow Food Eat Local Challenge (see more about that below). I love cooking in season with regional ingredients, so here’s my chance to share some love with many of my favorite food-producing Vermonters! Check out the list and links to my local resources below.
Wikipedia describes Slow Food as “…an organization that promotes local food and traditional cooking. It was founded by Carlo Petrini in Italy in 1986 and has since spread worldwide. Promoted as an alternative to fast food, it strives to preserve traditional and regional cuisine and encourages farming of plants, seeds, and livestock characteristic of the local ecosystem. It was the first established part of the broader slow movement. Its goals of sustainable foods and promotion of local small businesses are paralleled by a political agenda directed against globalization of agricultural products.”
I’m fascinated by regional and cultural cooking traditions and how important those food traditions can be in helping to shape our identities and our lives. The foods we eat; where they come from and how they’re produced have a profound effect on our own health and overall well-being, as well as the health of our environment. And I’m convinced the act of preparing food together and sharing food together strengthens our understanding of each other, bridges cultures and strengthens our overall social fabric.
I’ve been a long time supporter of the Slow-Food movement. I first became aware a number of years ago on a trip to the Piedmont region of Italy, the birthplace of Slow Food, where each small town has it’s own distinct version of regional cuisine and takes great pride in it’s local food, products and preparations. Here in Vermont, it’s apple season, and I live down the road from an orchard. There are lots of apples on my counter at the moment, so I thought a tart would be fitting. In the spirit of the challenge, I’ve used only local ingredients in this tart. Even the puff pastry comes from my favorite local bakery! Check out my sources below.
Mirabelles – Princess Puff Pastry
Strafford Organic Creamery – milk
Republic of Vermont – maple sugar
King Arthur – flour
New Village Farm – eggs
Vermont Creamery – butter
Shelburne Orchards – apples
Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm – maple syrup
Fat Toad Farm – Traditional Goat’s Milk Caramel, Salted Bourbon
Stowe Ice Cream – Maple ice cream
- 1 cup whole milk (Strafford Organic VT)
- ¼ cup VT maple sugar (Republic of Vermont)
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon flour (King Arthur)
- 3 egg yolks (New Village Farm)
- 1 tablespoon butter, softened (Vermont Creamery)
- 1 tablespoon VT maple syrup (Couching Lion Maple Sugar Farm)
- 1 lb puff pastry sheet, thawed (Mirabelles Princess Puff Pastry)
- 3 Macintosh apples (Shelburne Orchards)
- 3 tablespoons maple sugar (Republic of Vermont)
- 1 tablespoon butter, melted
- 3 tablespoons maple sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- Start by making the maple pastry cream. Heat the milk in a heavy saucepan, be careful not to boil. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar, cornstarch and flour, and then whisk in the egg yolks one at a time.
- Slowly pour a little of the hot milk into the egg mixture, whisking continuously. Continue slowly pouring about half of the hot milk into to egg mixture while whisking. This tempers the egg so it won’t scramble. Off the heat, slowly pour the egg and milk mixture back into the pan of milk, whisking the whole time.
- Turn the heat back on to medium and continue whisking until the pastry cream begins to thicken. As soon as it thickens and large bubbles begin to rise to the surface, remove from heat and whisk in the butter and maple syrup. Strain the cream into a shallow bowl and cover with plastic wrap (the wrap should be pressed up against the surface of the pastry cream to keep a skin from forming). Chill until ready to use.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- On a floured surface, roll out the sheet of puff pastry into a large rectangle, about ¼” thick. Place it on a parchment lined baking sheet. Using a sharp knife, score a 1 inch border all around the edge of the rectangle. (This edge will puff up in the oven and form a rim around the tart). Using a fork, prick the bottom of the tart, inside the scored edge (This keeps the center from rising too high).
- Bake the pastry for about 15 minutes until just golden.
- While the pastry is baking, peel, core and halve the apples. Place the apples flat side down and slice into very thin slices. In a bowl, toss the apples with the maple sugar.
- Spread the pastry cream evenly over the inside of the puff pastry, just up to the edge of the raised border. Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping rows and paint the top of the apples with the melted butter and sprinkle them with maple sugar.
- Increase the heat to 375 degrees. Bake the tart for approximately 40-45 minutes, or until the apples are tender and have begun to brown.
- Remove the tart from the oven. While it's still warm, paint the apples with maple syrup.
- Serve with caramel sauce (Fat Toad Farm Traditional Goat’s Milk Caramel, Salted Bourbon)
- and maple ice cream (Stowe Ice Cream)
Click this link for more information on Slow Food and the Eat-Local challenge.