Caramel puff pastry apple tart with apple butter and salted caramel sauce. Looks fancy, tastes amazing.
I love puff pastry apple tarts. Or any fruit tarts using puff pastry. Easy to make, looks super fancy and takes advantage of, in my opinion, a must have item to always have on hand - store bought puff pastry.
Puff pastry is definitely a labor of love, it can take a long time to make, and while homemade is usually better in terms of taste and quality, store bought puff pastry is one of those items that is an ok shortcut in my book.
Frozen, store bought puff pastry only takes a few minutes to thaw and that means you can have fancy apple pastry tart goodness in no time at all. You can find frozen puff pastry in the freezer section of most grocery stores near the frozen pie crusts, pastry, ice cream etc.
Besides apples and puff pastry, I used my homemade slow cooker apple butter as a base layer below the apples and I drizzled apple cider caramel sauce over the top after baking.
Puff pastry tart ingredients:
- Puff pastry - store bought or homemade. If store bought. try to find square puff pastry so it can be rolled out to a rectangle. I love the puff pastry from Trader Joe's.
- Apple butter - A perfect layer of goodness between the pastry and apples. You could use cinnamon apple jam or spiced apple sauce. I use my slow cooker salted caramel apple butter in this recipe.
- Apples - I like using either Honeycrisp or Granny Smith. Since these tarts aren't baked for as long as a pie is, you can get away with other kinds of apples and not worry about them ending up mushy.
- Lemon juice - to keep the slices apples from browning before baking, lemon juice is added to a bowl of cold water that the apple slices are placed in.
- Salt - added to the lemon water. A secret ingredient for bringing out more flavor in the apples as well as keeping them from browning before baking
- Cinnamon sugar - sprinkled over the apples after they have been placed on the tart,
- Egg - mixed with water for egg wash to make the tart's edges nice and crisp while baking
- Butter - a little melted butter is drizzled over the apples before baking
- Caramel sauce - drizzled over the top of the tart after baking. I used my apple cider caramel sauce for this. Use a regular or salted caramel sauce.
- Powdered sugar - just a light dusting before cutting and serving.
How do you make a caramel puff pastry apple tart?
Start by thawing your puff pastry. Work with one sheet at a time, you cannot refreeze puff pastry once it has been thawed. I will thaw the second one while the first apple tart is baking.
Once thawed, roll out gently to a rectangle. Score along the edge, about a half an inch, being careful not to cut all the way through. This will get the edge a nice crispy crust. Next, lightly prick the middle of the puff pastry with a fork.
This will help keep the middle from puffing up too much while baking so the apple butter and apples don't go sliding off.
I find that the puff pastry starts to get a little too soft after rolling and scoring so I will slide it onto a small baking sheet and chill in my refrigerator, not freezer, until ready to assemble.
While the puff pastry is thawing though, I will prep the apples. My trick to how to keep apples from browning after being peeled is to set them in a bowl of cold water with a tablespoon or so of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
The cold water keeps them crisp and the combination of salt and lemon both keep them from browning. I drain and pat dry with paper towels before adding to the puff pastry tart.
Once the apples are prepped and in the lemon water, take the pastry out of the fridge, go over the scoring with a knife or fork again if needed.
Working quickly add the apple butter, spread a thin layer inside the edge score lines.
Drain the apples, pat dry with paper towels then place on the tart in any pattern you like, overlapping them if you want. Sprinkled with a little cinnamon sugar then a drizzle of melted butter - just a touch.
The edges of the pastry gets a quick egg wash then its off to bake for only 20 to 25 minutes until golden and crispy.
How long to bake puff pastry?
Puff pastry usually takes around 20 to 25 minutes to bake depending on the recipe. I bake mine all at once, some recipes call for par baking which is baking the puff pastry while scored only, sometimes with an egg wash and baked for around 8 to 10 minutes. Then the toppings are added and it is finished baking.
Why roll out puff pastry?
Most store-bought frozen puff pastry is rolled or folded and will need to be smoothed out once thawed and rolled to an even thickness. In this apple tart recipe, the puff pastry is rolled out from a square to a rectangle. The puff pastry will still puff up nice and golden and crispy even though it was rolled out bigger than the original shape.
I bake my puff pastry apple tart on a baking steel. Similar to a baking stone, it heats in the oven while it is preheating and helps cook the pastry quickly while making sure the bottom is evenly baked and crisp. No soggy bottoms here.
What is a baking steel?
Baking steels or stone are more often used for pizza but I find that using them to bake puff pastry is another great use for them. I will bake the puff pastry tarts for about 10 minutes, then quickly open the oven door and slide the parchment paper out from under them to finish baking.
I slide the pastry onto the steel while still on the parchment since the pastry tends to stick a little bit and using a pizza peel doesn't work as well for puff pastry. I don't like to flour my counter or parchment before rolling out the pastry, don't want to add excess flour to the pastry.
I love love love using my baking steel for pizza and puff pastry recipes.
More recipes using puff pastry:
Caramel Puff Pastry Apple Tart with Apple Butter
- sheets of square/rectangular puff pastry homemade or store-bought
- 1 cup Apple Butter divided ( can be homemade or store-bought)
- 2 - 3 apples peeled, cored and thinly sliced. Honeycrisp or Granny Smith work best
- 2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons butter unsalted, melted
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon water
- 4 tablespoons salted caramel sauce or more (can be homemade or storebought)
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- Heat oven to 400 Deg. F. Use a baking steel or pizza stone if you have one and preheat the oven with the steel or stone on the middle rack. If not, set out a large baking sheet instead.
- Place a rectangular piece of parchment paper on your counter to thaw one piece of puff pastry at a time.
- While the puff pastry is thawing, prep your apples.
- Peel and core the apples and slice thinly. Place in a large bowl, cover the apples with cold water and add in the lemon juice and salt. Gently stir and set aside.
- When the puff is thawed to very cool room temperature, gently roll out to about 9 x 12 inches
- After rolling score along the edges with a knife, being careful not to cut all the way through. Then pierce the middle all over with a fork, again being careful not to cut all the way through.
- Place the prepped puff pastry back in the refrigerator for 5 minutes to firm back up.
- Working quickly, spread half a cup of the apple butter on the pastry inside the edge score lines. Remove apple slices from water and gently pat dry with paper towels, arrange the apples on top of the pastry in any way you like. Drizzle with a tablespoon of melted butter then sprinkle the apples with half the cinnamon sugar.
- Place the tart with the parchment paper on a baking sheet or directly onto the baking steel/stone. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden, crisp and puffed up.
- If using a baking steel or stone, remove the parchment paper halfway through to get a super crispy bottom.
- Once baked, remove from the oven and transfer to a cutting board to cool slightly. Drizzle with caramel sauce and dust with half of the powdered sugar.
- You can prep the second pastry while the first one is baking. Bake that one as soon as the first one is out of the oven. If you have a large enough baking stone or baking sheet you can bake two tarts at once.