Caramel Apple Tartlets, with Cajeta
Serves: Makes 4-5 mini tartlets, or 1 large tart
  • Tart dough:
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ½ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. almond extract (or orange oil, or other flavoring)
  • 1½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for rolling
  • pinch of salt
  • Apples:
  • 3-4 small red apples (I used gala, but use whatever variety you enjoy)
  • 3 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • ¾ cup cajeta (recipe here: -- I added a splash of rum and some extra cinnamon to the cajeta I used in these tarts)
  1. In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar. Add the egg, vanilla, and almond extract, and mix to combine.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and mix until just barely combined.
  3. Shape the mixture into a ball, and place on a sheet of plastic wrap. Pat the ball into a disc, wrap tightly, and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes, or up to a few days.
  4. When ready to use, remove the dough from the fridge. If it's been chilling for a long time, it may need to rest for a few minutes to soften slightly. Dust your work surface lightly with flour, and roll the dough to between ⅛-1/4 inch thick. Using a mini tart pan as a guide, cut circles from the dough that are about one inch bigger in diameter than the pan. Press the dough into the pans, being careful not stretch or pull. Run the rolling pin over the top of the tart pans to trim away any excess dough. (Alternatively, instead of rolling, you can tear off a chunk of dough and use your fingers to press it into the tart pans. Either method works fine, so it's all up to personal preference.)
  5. Place the tart shells in the freezer for at least 15 minutes, while the oven preheats.
  6. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.. Using the tines of a fork, prick holes in the bottoms of the tart shells, then place on a baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 degrees F., and bake for another 5-7 minutes, or until lightly golden. Remove from the oven and let cool while you prepare the apples.
  7. Cut the apples in half lengthwise, and remove the core. Slice the apples using the thinnest setting of a mandolin, and place in a bowl.
  8. In a small pot on the stove, or a bowl in the microwave, heat the sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon until the sugar has dissolved. Pour the hot mixture over the apples -- this will keep them from turning brown, and the heat will help soften them and make them easier to bend. If the apple slices are still too stiff to blend, they can be heated in the microwave for a few seconds to soften them further.
  9. Pour 1-2 TBSP cajeta into the bottom of each tart shell, then begin rolling the apple slices. Start by rolling one of the thinnest slices of apple into a cylinder, then roll another slice around that, and another around that. Continue adding more and more slices until you have a large rose bud. Place the bud in the center of one of the tart shells, then continue to add more slices of apple until you've reached the edges. Use your fingers to gently fan the petals out and open the rose. Repeat with the remaining tart shells.
  10. Return the tarts to the 350 degree F. oven, and bake for another 20-25 minutes, or until the edges of the apples have started to darken slightly.
  11. Remove from the oven and let cool for five - ten minutes before removing from the tart pans. Drizzle with the remaining cajeta, and serve as is, or with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream. Enjoy!
I used four 4-inch tart pans with removable bottoms for this recipe, and had a little dough left over. You could probably get a fifth tartlet out of this recipe, or use all of the dough to make one large (9-10 inch) tart.
You can find my recipe for cajeta (goats milk caramel) here:
Recipe by Will Cook For Friends at