The Bavarian Apple Cream Cheese Tart gets a Chinese twist with the use of Five Spice, perfectly complementing this autumnal treat.
This tart starts off with what’s perhaps the easiest sweet tart case I’ve ever made. You literally just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then press them into the tart pan. No refrigeration needed, no baking beans necessary. And you still get a crumbly, buttery case.
So about that five spice. I tend to just use it as a substitute to cinnamon, like I did in my Banana Crumble Bars. Five spice does contain cinnamon, but it’s typically mixed with star anise, cloves, Szechuan pepper (don’t worry you don’t taste it), and fennel seeds. So it gives the dessert a bit of an exotic edge, not enough to make it taste off-putting, but sufficient to give a little sense of excitement.
A word of caution though. If any of the people you’re feeding the tart to is Chinese (or have eaten five spice in non-dessert contexts, as is normal), maybe tell them you used five spice after they’ve actually eaten and praised you and stuff. Those who knew the big secret ingredient in this tart just could not get past that mental block of eating five spice in a dessert.
The toasted almonds on top add a little extra texture and visual interest.
The sweet cream cheese filling also paired well with the tart apples which it lovingly envelopes.
This tart has a really generous amount of apples in it, so you can almost tell yourself it’s healthy.
I got the recipe from here and tweaked it a bit.
- 1 cup all purpose flour (125g)
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (113g)
- 1/3 cup sugar (67g)
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 75g sugar
- 2 8-oz packages of cream cheese, softened (about 453g in total)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Pinch of salt
- 4 medium tart apples, peeled and sliced
- 50g sugar
- 1 tsp five spice
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Combine all the crust ingredients into bowl until just combined. Press into bottom of oiled tart pan. It doesn’t have to look pretty you’re gonna cover it anyway.
- Prick all over with a fork, and then bake at 190°C (375°F) for 10 mins.
- Combine 75g sugar, cream cheese, eggs, pinch of salt, and 1 tsp vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread mixture over the half-baked crust.
- In another bowl, mix the cut apples with 50g sugar and five spice until apples are evenly coated.
- Arrange the apples over the filling in concentric circles, pressing the narrow end into the cream cheese mixture (I suppose for aesthetic purposes).
- Bake for 45 mins at 190°C.
- Sprinkle the tart with the almonds and continue baking 15-20 mins until almonds are toasted and centre is almost set.
- Let tart cool completely before serving. Store refrigerated.
- Pricking the tart with the fork is called docking. It’s meant to prevent the crust from bubbling up. The recipe doesn’t tell you to do it, but I got paranoid.
- Tart apples are better than sweet ones in this recipe since the cream cheese filling itself is quite sweet already.
- I reduced the sugar levels from the original recipe and thought the sweetness level was just right.