Apple-Cranberry Tart with Calvados-roasted Figs and Lemon-Vanilla Crème Fraîche
Cranberry-studded tarts are topped with caramelized apple slices, a delicious and classic combination. Chef Lomonaco adds fresh figs cooked in Calvados, an apple brandy, and a dollop of lemon-vanilla crème fraîche. Note that the cranberries are dusted with flour before going into the batter; the light coating of flour keeps them from sinking in the batter.
Special equipment: 8 to 10 non-stick, 3-inch tart molds or crumpet forms
- Lemon-Vanilla Crème Fraiche
- Crème Fraiche - 1 cup
- Vanilla bean - 1/2
- Lemon zest - 1 teaspoon
- Calvados-roasted Figs
- Dark Brown Sugar - 1 cup
- Water - 1 cup
- Calvados or other apple brandy - 4 tablespoons
- Unsalted Butter - 2 tablespoons
- Fresh Figs - 24 to 30, cut in half
- Juice of 1 lemon
- Water - 1 cup
- Apples - 2
- Dried Cranberries - 1/2 cup
- All-Purpose Flour - 1/4 cup
- Unsalted Butter - 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup
- Light Brown Sugar - 1 cup
- White Sugar - 1 cup
- Whole Eggs - 1
- Cake flour - 2 cups, sifted
- Baking Powder - 2 teaspoons
- Salt - 1/2 teaspoon
- Vanilla Extract - 1 teaspoon
- Buttermilk - 1/4 cup
To prepare the crème fraîche: Whip the crème fraîche by hand to loosen slightly. Scrape the vanilla bean seeds into the crème fraîche (reserve the pods to make vanilla sugar) and add the lemon zest. Whip until stiff. Refrigerate until ready to use.
To prepare the figs: Combine the dark brown sugar and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a strong simmer and cook until it is reduced by half in volume. Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes to minimize spattering. Stir in the Calvados. In a saute pan, melt the butter and add the cut figs. Cook for 1 minute, until just warmed. Add the Calvados syrup and remove from heat. Keep warm.
To prepare the tarts: Mix the lemon juice and water together in a small bowl. Peel and core the apples, then slice crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings. Dip the apple slices in the lemon-water as soon as they are cut to prevent browning. Set aside. Toss the dried cranberries with the 1/2 cup of flour, lightly coating them. Set the coated cranberries aside and discard the excess flour.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a small saucepan, melt the 1/2 cup of butter and stir in the brown sugar until it dissolves. Pout the butter and sugar mixture into the bottoms of the tart molds. Place the apple rings into the melted sugar in the tart molds.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the remaining 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar together until fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and combine well. Put the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and mix together. With the beater running, slowly add the flour mixture to the egg mixture. Combine the vanilla extract and buttermilk and add to the batter. Beat until just combined. Fold in the coated dried cranberries.
Pour the batter into the tart molds over the apples. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, or until the tarts are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let rest for 4 to 5 minutes. While still warm, turn out onto individual warmed serving plates.
To serve: Spoon several figs and Calvados syrup around each warm tart. Place a quenelle or mound of lemon-vanilla crème fraîche on each tart.