An Italian apple tart with fennel-laced layers of puff pastry, mascarpone whipped cream and apple vinegar. This one’s a little fancy, but the flavors are sure to bring you home.
For the poached apples:
2 red apples, such as Ruby Frost or Rome
¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
¼ cup Anisette liqueur
1 ⅔ cups water
¼ cup sugar
¾ teaspoon ground anise seed
For the anise sugar:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsly ground anise seed
For the mascarpone whipped cream:
½ cup mascarpone
⅔ cup cream
⅛ teaspoon vanilla extract
⅛ teaspoon Kosher Salt
3 Tablespoons Powdered Sugar
for the sfogliate:
1 sheet puff pastry dough (thawed if frozen)
¼ cup Balconville Apple Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar, boiled and reduced from 1 cup to ¼ cup)-
Make the poached apples:
Slice the apples, with the skin on, about ¼” thick. Place them in a medium sized saucepan with all of the other ingredients and bring to a simmer on medium low heat.
Simmer until the apples are tender and starting to turn translucent. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, Strain off the liquid into a saucepan. Place pan on medium heat and reduce by half, then cool and reserve liquid for plating.
Make the anise sugar:
Mix all ingredients together and set aside.
Make the mascarpone whipped cream:
Place all ingredients in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, and whip on medium until the mascarpone has completely absorbed into the cream. Bring the speed up to high and whip until thick and creamy. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
Make the sfogliate:
Preheat your oven to 350º Fahrenheit.
Roll the puff pastry out to ¼” thick. Using a 3″ diameter tart/ring mold, cut out 8 pieces of puff pastry dough.
Place four empty tart molds onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Place first layer of dough into each mold. Sprinkle ½ teaspoon of anise sugar onto each layer of dough, then fan out 4 to 5 slices of apple onto each piece of dough. Place a second layer of dough in each mold (over the apple slices),then sprinkle each new layer of dough with another ½ teaspoon of anise sugar. Top once again with 4 to 5 slices of apple and sprinkle 1/8 tsp of sugar onto apples.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rotate pan 180º and bake 20 more minutes.
Remove pan from oven and top each sfogliata with 4 to 5 more slices of poached apple and bake 8 to 10 minutes more, until dough is completely golden brown.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes, then carefully pull molds off of each sfogliata (they may still be hot!). Plate immediately (see below), or reheat in a 350) oven for 10 minutes when ready to serve.
Place each sfogliata on the center of a plate and brush with the reduction of the poaching liquid made earlier.
Top with a generous helping of mascarpone whipped cream (about ⅓ to ½ cup per sfogliata). Finish with a drizzle of Balconville Apple Vinegar (or apple cider vinegar reduction) and serve immediately.