Chipotle Kicks This Thin-Crusted Apple Tart Where You Least Expect It

Thin-Crusted Apple Tart with Chipotle Chili Powder. Yep, I’m smiling. But then again I geek out about this stuff, you know I do. I love unexpected ingredients.

It started with sea salt and caramel (back in the day). Salt on candy? Ewwwwe. No. Thank. You.

Then of course you tasted it. Suddenly all you thought you knew about life, mankind and our place in the continuum of the universe got kicked in the… um… well… below the belt.

From there it was like a house of cards– played too high and built too close to the slamming door. Crash and tumble. Screams and giggles. Pretty soon you were putting vinegar on strawberries, and squeezing limejuice onto corn. What would be next chocolate and chilies?

So when I saw this tart recipe in the LA Times I did not even blink an eye. Of course smoky, spicy chipotle powder BELONGS on an apple tart, right? Apples have always played nicely with cinnamon and spice. It just turns out its latest playmate is not that nice. Nope, devious chipotle doesn’t mind creeping up on you and biting you where you least expect.

Which is what I love about this recipe. The chipotle kick is subtle and sophisticated and downright addicting. But it’s a kick you won’t soon forget.

Gravestein ApplesThin-Crusted Apple Tart with Chipotle Chili Powder serves 8

CLICK here for a printable recipe Adapted from Michele Anna Jordan via LA Times Food Section

  • 1 c flour
  • 1/2 t plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 c unsalted butter, cut into ¼‑inch cubes and chilled
  • 4 T ice water
  • 1 lemon, juice only
  • 4 apples, preferably *Gravenstein
  • 3 T melted butter
  • 3 T sugar
  • 1 t ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 t ground clove
  • 1/8 t ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 t chipotle chili powder
  • 3 T warm hot pepper jelly

In a large bowl, combine the flour with one-half teaspoon salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and use a pastry cutter or fork to work the butter into the flour, forming an even crumb. Work quickly so the butter stays cold. Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix quickly with a fork, careful not to overmix. The dough may not come together completely; this is fine. However, if the dough feels especially dry, drizzle over up to 1 additional tablespoon of ice water.

Place the dough in the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap. Pull the edges of the plastic wrap around the dough, pressing the dough into a disk. Seal tightly and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, fill a medium bowl half full with water and add the lemon juice. Peel the apples and halve them lengthwise. Core the apples with a sharp knife or melon baller and trim the ends. Place the apples in the acidulated water as they are peeled and trimmed so they do not brown.

Cut the apples lengthwise into very thin (one-sixteenth inch) slices, and return to the water.

Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle your work surface generously with flour. Roll out the dough into an 11-inch circle; the dough will be about one-eighth-inch thick. Carefully transfer to a nonstick, rimmed baking pan.

Turn up the outer edge of the circle of dough to form a one-half-inch rim. Use the tines of a fork to press the rim into place and to prick the tart in several places.

Drain the apples, shaking them vigorously to remove excess water. Set the apples out on a dish towel to dry. Arrange a circle of overlapping apple slices at the far edge of the dough. Add a second circle inside the first and a third inside the second. Finish with a small circle of apples in the center. You may not use all the apples.

Using a pastry brush, coat the apples and outer rim of the dough with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, chipotle chili powder and remaining one-eighth teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.

Bake the tart until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Set the tart on a serving plate and gently brush the top of it with the warm pepper jelly. Cut the tart into wedges and serve immediately.

*The apples in this tart were provided to me by Sabastapol Gravestein Apples



Greg Henry

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