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This Caramel Apple Tart with Cinnamon Streusel Topping is epic! Layers of salted caramel sauce and sliced apples are piled high in a sweet tart crust and topped with a cinnamon variation of my favorite, go-to brown sugar streusel!
I know you’re like, “woah, Lindsey. Calm down! That is four components you want me to make for one tart.”
Oui, mes amis! This tart will change your life and all your friends will crown you the Baking Queen or King of your group. And who doesn’t want that?!
Just like Thanksgiving or any large holiday meal, this tart can be easy and low-stress with a little planning and preparation. Here for you with all the TIPS! Because that is what baking friends do! But there is also no shame if you want to make these mini apple pecan pies instead!
Tips for Caramel Apple Tart Success:
- The Crust: Make the pâte sucrée or pâte brisée in advance. You can make it up to two months in advance and keep it well-wrapped in your freezer, but honestly any number of days will do. Just be aware that dough is best kept frozen for more than two days. Unless you dig a greige dough. I do not!
- Caramel Sauce: While technically optional, and the tart would still be ah-mazing without, I have a fairly strong opinion that caramel sauce is always welcome. This can also be made IN ADVANCE! I know! Make my favorite caramel sauce up to one month ahead of time. While you’re at it, make a double batch and then use the rest of it in this double chocolate caramel ice cream or chocolate caramel cupcakes.
- Cinnamon Streusel: Streusel is life. This cinnamon streusel is next level. It is a cinnamon version of my go-to brown sugar streusel recipe. I know you are seeing a pattern here…this can also be made ahead! It doesn’t have to but you can make it up to two months in advance and keep it in the freezer. I do this for mass-production in my pastry shop. Giving away all the secrets today!
- Pre-Cooked Filling: Don’t skip the pre-cooking of the apple filling or you will have a soupy mess instead of a sliceable, show-stopping tart. Tarts don’t cook long enough to adequately cook apples, so know that. You can also make this in advance! Just store it in the refrigerator for up to one week.
You know what else you can make in advance and then store frozen? THE WHOLE TART! ? So maybe make two and store one for later. You can even store it sliced, so that you can have a stunning dessert on a moment’s notice.
What’s that I see in your future? “Parent of the Year Award?” “Most Amazing Host Award?” “I don’t know how they do it Award?” ??
Put that on your mantel with pride, my friends, because you earned it!
I made this recipe in an 8-inch tart because that is the mold that I have at home, but the same recipe will also work in a 9, 10 or even an 11 inch tart mold! It will just be a little thinner and it will bake a little less time!
Caramel Apple Tart with Cinnamon Streusel
For the Pâte Sucrée:
For the Streusel:
For the Apple Filling:
Make the Pâte Sucrée (Sweet Crust Pastry):
- Soften your butter in a stand mixer or let it sit out at room temperature for an hour or so.
- Put sifted powdered sugar and softened butter in stand mixer with the paddle attachment, and cream them (starting on low so the powdered sugar doesn’t get everywhere). This will get silky smooth.
- Add eggs one at a time (it helps if the eggs are room temperature), it might look a little scary in the bowl, but don’t worry, the eggs will incorporate at their own pace.
- Add flour and kosher salt to bowl of stand mixer and start on low to cut in our creamed mixture, be patient and trust the process. What we’ve got here is sucrée!
- This dough still needs to be handled with care and love, because it still has gluten in it which you don’t want to overdevelop.
- Take your sucrée out and divide it into however many packets you want, wrap them in cling wrap and chill them for at least two hours. You can also freeze them already rolled out!
Make the Streusel:
- Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium low until combined. Chill in the refrigerator at least an hour but up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 2 months.
Make the apple filling:
- Peel and core apples. Cut in half and slice apples about 1/16th inch thick. I use a mandoline to make them even. This method also has the bonus factor that it is way quicker! I usually slice them straight into the bowl in which I will mix, because you know how I feel about excess dishes!
- Toss together apples, sugar, brown sugar, and spices.
- Pour into a sauce pan set over medium heat. Cook at a lower heat until the apples begin to release their moisture. Meanwhile, line a baking sheet with parchment paper that over laps the edges or plastic wrap.
- Once the apples are crisp-tender meaning they still have a little crunch to them but they have softened. Whisk together the water and cornstarch in a bowl. Pour into the cooking apple mixture while stirring, so that it doesn't have a chance to clump. This will thicken the mixture immediately. Continue to boil for one minute to cook the starch. Pour onto prepared baking sheet and cool in the refrigerator. The idea is to cool them quickly so they don't get any softer. You will add these cooled apples to the tart.
Assemble the Tart:
- Roll out the tart dough to about an 1/8th an inch thick, and chill again before lining tart pan. While the dough is chilling, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Line the tart pan with the dough, filling in any cracks with scraps. Use the edge of the tart pan to cut away any excess. You can also use a rolling pin to make a perfect edge. Chill 30 minutes, so that the crust doesn’t shrink. Bake in preheated oven for 8-10 minutes or until the surface looks matte and is just being to brown. You can blind bake it with weights but I find it isn’t necessary with my sucrée recipe when it is treat with love and care. Any brisée or pie dough will need to be lined with parchment and weighted down with baking beans or weights or rice. I made a video tutorial on blind baking pie crusts to help with this!
- Pour the caramel sauce into the still-warm crust and spread it out. If your crust is cool, warm the caramel sauce a little to make it easier to spread evenly without ruining the crust.
- Layer in the apples like I did in the video to make even layers or just pour them right on in!
- Crumble [an excessive amount of] streusel all over the top until all the apples are covered.
- Bake in preheated oven for approximately 30 minutes or until the filling has begun to bubble around the edges, the tart shell is a nice deep golden brown and the streusel is a light to medium golden brown. Remember that everything except the streusel is already cooked, so it’s not that serious!