’Tis the season right? It’s almost Thanksgiving, the temperature has dropped and the clocks were set back. But fear not, as much as I hate (like really hate) when it gets dark out this early, I do seem to allow myself to spend more time in the kitchen during these fall and winter evenings.
Recently Ry brought home a sac of golden delicious (emphasis on delicious) apples. And, I’ve been wanting to make a giant tart in my fancy scalloped baking dish, so a cardamom cream cheese apple tart seemed like the right thing to do. This is basically a cream cheese tart that’s topped with some baked fruit. Use this recipe as a really basic framework to make any type of cream cheese tart and top it with whatever you like and flavor it with whatever you like. (Be sure to let me know about what variations you did in the comments below!)
For this version I did a brown sugar, cardamom and vanilla cream cheese base, but you could go citrus, chocolate, simply just sweetened with some sugar, and then top it with anything from fresh berries, figs, caramel, cookie crumbles, really anything you want. Go wild.
...as much as I hate (like really hate) when it gets dark out this early, I do seem to allow myself to spend more time in the kitchen during these fall and winter evenings.
The crust recipe I used here is my All Butter Pie Crust. I made the entire batch, which would normally be enough for two pies, or one covered pie in your standard 9” pie plate. But, this scalloped baking dish is pretty massive, 13” in diameter, so I used the full recipe to cover the entire dish. I also par baked the crust, since the cream cheese filling really doesn’t take that long to bake in comparison. There’s a fairly thin layer of filling, so you only need to bake it for about 25-30 mins till it’s set. If you’re using a smaller baking dish, and have a thicker layer of filling, you’ll need to cook it a little longer. After 35 minutes baking, I would keep checking every 10 minutes for doneness. The filling should have just set in the very center. I would recommend erring on the side of underbaking here. You’ll have some carry-over cooking when it comes out of the oven, and it’ll also firm up some more once it’s cooled. You want it to have that nice smooth, creamy interior, rather than an overbaked chalky kinda thing going on.
Apple & Cardamom Cream Cheese Tart
with brown sugar + vanilla
- 1 lb cream cheese – at room temp*
- 1 C sour cream – at room temp*
- 1/2 C packed dark brown sugar
- 2 eggs – room temp*
- 5 Green Cardamon Pods – freshly ground OR a scant 1/2 tsp pre-ground cardamom
- 1 Vanilla bean – Split and scraped OR 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
*seriously, make sure the eggs, cream cheese and sour cream are at room temp. They won’t mix nicely if they’re cold.
- 6 small to medium apples – I used golden delicious here, but use whatever apples you like
- 2 tbsp butter – melted
- 1 tbsp sugar
The Apple Topping:
Pre-heat oven to 375°F (190°C).
Slice apples thinly and arrange in small, shingled layers on a parchment lined baking tray. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake for 45 minutes or until they are tender and golden brown.
Turn oven to 425°F (220°C).
Roll out your All Butter Pie Crust till it’s large enough to fit in your baking dish. Transfer to baking dish, trim off any excess dough that is overhanging. Dock the base of your crust with a fork. Line with foil, or parchment, and pie weights if you have them. (I lived dangerously here and didn’t use any weights.) Bake at 425°F for 10 minutes, you can remove your pie weights, then lower temp to 375°F and bake for another 15 minutes till crust is golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before you fill it.
Time to Fill:
Pre-heat oven to 325°F (160°C).
Ok home stretch, time to make the filling. Combine your cream cheese, sour cream and sugar in a large bowl and beat till fully combined. Add in one egg at a time till fully incorporated. Then stir in your cardamom, vanilla and pinch of salt. Pour filling into crust and bake at 325°F for 30 minutes or until center has just set.
Let cool at room temperature. Top with your baked apple slices, give it a nice sprinkle of powdered sugar just before serving and eat up!