Last week Wednesday, I got up in the morning, wandered into the kitchen and had the sudden urge to bake apple streusel tartlets. I wanted to switch things up from my usual French apple tarts. Omitting the almond paste adding streusel seemed like a good start. Except, I had never baked streusel anything before. But I was in an experimental mood, so instead of looking up a cohesive recipe, I combined base recipes instead.
Most of the time I go with a sweet tart dough but in the spirit of experiments, I decided to go with a basic tart dough. That is, until I saw the amount of butter it called for. My parents are fairly health conscious ad prefer it if I keep the amount of fat and sugar to the minimum. That saw me crossing a sweet tart dough with a basic tart dough. By substituting half the butter with an egg, and adding a little extra water, the liquid proportions were maintained.
The resultant tart base was alright, though not as crumbly as I would’ve liked. Perhaps I’ll try milk instead of an egg and water next time. I predict a more cookie-like base but I’ll see how that goes when I try it.
Again, the amount of butter tripped me up. Rather than making up for the missing moisture, I simply reduced the butter in proportion to the flour and also reduced the sugar. Would I do that again? Most likely not. There was a floury aftertaste that I didn’t like. Thankfully I had added cinnamon to the dough, so the flour wasn’t as strong as it could’ve been. Ultimately, the butter is necessary to incorporate all the ingredients. Verdict: keep the butter or kick the streusel altogether. But I love streusel atop tarts, so there’s that.
There are two ways to go about the apple filling: bake it raw or pre-cook. For French apple tart, I like retaining a bit of crunch and so pop the apples raw into the oven. It’s a nice contrast to the almond cream. Since there was no cream in the apple streusel tartlets, I pre-cooked the sliced apples to soften them. I also mixed in the cinnamon while cooking which the apples absorbed very nicely.
Since I recently bought small SMARTA pie dishes at IKEA, I decided to bake tartlets rather than one big tart. That makes it so much easier to portion and nobody in the family ends up with a smaller slice. Even though I didn’t line the dishes with parchment paper and also didn’t add non-stick spray, the tartlets weren’t too difficult to remove. Definitely a good investment and I plan to buy a few more dishes to add to my kitchen.