Apple Tart à la Mode is both simple to make and elegant to serve. Put it together ahead of time and bake during dinner. Top with vanilla ice cream and bourbon caramel sauce for an unforgettable dessert.
Bermuda Connection to the Apple Tart
Years ago, the Master Taste Tester had a friend named Malc who lived in Bermuda. When we would visit Malc, he invariable talked about this amazing apple tart dessert at some restaurant in Bermuda.
On one visit, we actually went to this restaurant and ordered the apple tart. Three things struck me about the apple tart.
First, we had to order it at the same time as ordering the dinner. As it turned out, the reason was that the apple tart would be baked while we were eating dinner.
Second, the apple tart was just as amazing as Malc had described. The actual tart was still warm from the oven and was topped with vanilla ice cream and drizzled with cognac.
Finally, as I deconstructed the apple tart when served, I concluded that it would be easy to reproduce. I was totally right about that.
When we returned home, I spent some time experimenting to recreate this delicious dessert.
Read on to see how you can easily make this amazing dessert, but with bourbon caramel sauce instead of cognac drizzled on top.
Ingredients for Apple Tart à la Mode
The ingredients for Apple Tart à la Mode are really quite simple. The base is puff pastry topped with a cream cheese mixture and thinly sliced seasoned apples.
It is served with vanilla ice cream and a bourbon caramel sauce.
Preparing the Apples
I started by peeling and coring some Granny Smith apples. Then, I cut each of the cored apples into thin slices.
After that, I added some lemon juice, sugar and cinnamon to the apples and stirred to combine everything.
I set the apples aside to focus on the remaining items in the recipe.
Cream Cheese Mixture
Next on the list was the cream cheese mixture which was quite simple.
I mixed together some cream cheese and sugar in a small bowl, and set it aside. How simple is that?
Making the Bourbon Caramel Sauce
For the Bourbon Caramel Sauce, I used sugar, water, heavy cream, unsalted butter, bourbon, vanilla extract and sea salt.
I started by heating the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat without stirring until the sugar dissolved (Photo 1). This took about 5 minutes.
Then, I covered the pan and increased the heat to medium high. This is a trick that I learned from Julia Child. The sugar crystals won’t develop if the pan is covered!
After the mixture cooked covered for 5 minutes without stirring, it turned a dark amber color (Photo 2). I removed the pan from the heat and quickly added the cream (Photo 3). I whisked the mixture which bubbled up quite a bit.
Finally, I added the butter, bourbon, vanilla and salt. After whisking everything together, I poured the bourbon caramel sauce into a heat-proof container (Photo 4).
Building the Apple Tart
The first thing that I did was to roll each of the Puff Pastry Shells into a circle that was roughly 5 to 6-inches in diameter (Photo 5).
Then, I cut each of the rolled puff pastry shells into a 5-inch circle and placed the cut circles on a silicone lined baking sheet (Photo 6).
Then, I divided the cream cheese mixture among the four puff pastry circles and spread the mixture to about ½-inch from the edge (Photo 7).
Finally, I arranged the apple pieces on top of the cream cheese mixture in a spiral fashion (Photo 8).
I popped the apple tarts into a preheated 400°F oven for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, the apple tarts were golden brown.
I removed the apple tarts from the oven and transferred them to a wire rack to briefly cool.
Serving the Apple Tart à la Mode
I served the Apple Tart à la Mode while it was still warm with vanilla ice cream and warm bourbon caramel sauce drizzled over the top.
Talk about amazing. All of the flavors perfectly complimented one another to produce a totally memorable dessert. Yum!
Other Apple Desserts
If you’re a fan of apple desserts, you should check out these amazing recipes:
- Irish Apple Cake: Irish Apple Cake, known as Kerry Apple Cake in many parts of Ireland, is the perfect St. Patrick’s Day dessert. Lots of tart, crisp apples create a super moist cake that is baked to perfection. With its crunchy top, Irish Apple Cake is amazing when served warm or cold.
- French Apple Cake: French Apple Cake is moist and flavorful with just the right amount of sweetness to counter the tart apples. With or without the scoop of the vanilla ice cream on the top, it tastes incredible.
- Double Apple Bundt Cake: Inspired by Dorie Greenspan, this amazing Double Apple Bundt Cake is super moist, with just the right amount of spices. It’s filled with fresh apples, apple butter, and toasted pecans, and baked to perfection. Serve it alone or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for an anytime dessert.
- Tarte Normande Aux Pommes (Julia Child’s Custard Apple Tart): Julia Child’s Tarte Normande aux Pommes, a.k.a. Custard Apple Tart from Mastering the Art of French Cooking is amazing. Unlike many desserts, this tart is not overly sweet. It is, however, quite delicious and has the perfect blend of apples and custard.
I hope that you liked this recipe for Apple Tart à la Mode. Please consider rating it and leaving a comment. I’d love to know how it turned out for you!
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Apple Tart à la Mode
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- ½ cup (3.5 ounces) granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) water
- ¼ cup (2 ounces) heavy cream, room temperature
- 2 Tablespoons (1 ounce) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 Tablespoon (0.5 ounces) bourbon (See Tip 1)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
Apple Tart à la Mode
- 2 to 3 small to medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced (See Tip 2)
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 5 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 3 ounces cream cheese, room temperature (See Tip 3)
- 4 puff pastry shells, thawed
- Vanilla ice cream
- Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Bourbon Caramel Sauce
- Add ½ cup of sugar and 2 tablespoons of water to a small saucepan over medium heat. Heat without starring until sugar is dissolved, about 5 minutes. Increase heat to medium high and cover pan. Cook without stirring for 5 minutes or until mixture turns a dark amber color. (See Tip 4)
- Remove from heat. Add cream and whisk to combine. (See Tip 5)
- Add butter, bourbon, vanilla extract and salt. Whisk to combine.
- Yield: About one cup.
Apple Tart à la Mode
- Combine apple slices, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar to cream cheese; stir until smooth. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll each Puff Pastry Shell to a 5 to 6-inch circle. Cut to a 5-inch circle. Prick each circle very thoroughly with the tines of a fork. Place on a silicone lined baking sheet.
- Spread ¼ of the cream cheese mixture evenly on each pastry circle. Top with a single layer of apples, arranged in a spiral fashion.
- Bake at 400º F for 20 minutes or until pastry is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool slightly on a wire rack. (See Tip 6)
- Serve warm, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and Bourbon Caramel Sauce drizzled on top.
- Yield: 4 servings.
Chula’s Expert Tips
- If desired, you can omit the bourbon from the caramel sauce.
- I like to use 3 small apples for this, each cut into 16 pieces. Larger apples can also be used. However, the spiral design is more appealing with the use of small apples.
- I used low fat cream cheese here.
- Watch the sugar mixture closely. Once it starts to color, it moves quickly and can easily burn.
- When you add the cream, the mixture will bubble up violently. Therefore, be careful that you don’t get burned.
- For an elegant dessert for your dinner party, make the apple tarts in advance up to this point. Right before serving dinner, cook the apple tarts. Remove from the oven after 20 minutes and allow to cool slightly before serving.