Free Form Apple and Pear Tart

Try this award winning Apple Tart from Circle City Sweets in Indianapolis.

Prep Time
60 min
Cook Time
30 min
Recipe by
Cindy Hawkins
Circle City Sweets
Indianapolis, IN

Tart Dough

4 oz. (113g) Plugrá® Premium Butter, unsalted
1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp. (3g) salt
2-3 tbsp. (28-42g) cold water


1 tbsp. (14g) Plugrá® Premium Butter, unsalted, cold
1 lb. (454g) apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
1 lb. (454g) firm pears, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
2 tbsp. (25g) granulated sugar
dash (0.5g) baking soda
2 tbsp. (30g) apple brandy
1 tbsp. (15g) vanilla bean paste

Butter Caramel

1 cup (225g) heavy cream
½ (3g) vanilla bean, split lengthwise
pinch (0.5g) baking soda
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 tbsp. (35g) glucose or light corn syrup
2 tbsp. (28g) water
5 oz. (135g) Plugrá® Premium Butter, unsalted
pinch (1g) sea salt
⅛ tsp. (0.5g) lecithin

Cinnamon Chantilly

½ cup (112g) heavy cream
1 tbsp. (8g) powdered sugar
¼ tsp. (1g) ground cinnamon
Tart Dough: Cut the butter into small pieces. Place the butter, flour and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and mix on low speed until mixture resembles a coarse meal.
Drizzle with the water and continue mixing on low until the dough just comes together. Remove from bowl and press into a disk. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate while making filling.
Filling: Preheat oven to 350°F. Place a non-stick baking mat onto a baking sheet or line the sheet with parchment paper.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add the apples and pears and sauté until they are browned on both sides, about 10 minutes. Carefully stir in the sugar, cinnamon and brandy as brandy may ignite. If brandy ignites, turn off your burner and wait a minute or two for the alcohol to burn off. Cook an additional 10 minutes or until the fruit is tender. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
Remove the tart dough from the refrigerator and roll into a 12-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Transfer the dough to the prepared baking sheet and shingle the cooked fruit onto the dough in concentric circles. Drizzle with any cooking liquids remaining in the skillet over the fruit. Fold the edges of the tart dough over the filling.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until the tart has browned. Remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Butter Caramel: Combine the cream and vanilla bean in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until it just simmers. Stir in the baking soda, turn off heat and set aside.
While the cream is heating, stir sugar, glucose and water in a medium saucepan and cook over medium low heat without stirring for 10 minutes or until the mixture caramelizes to a medium brown color.
Add the butter, salt and lecithin to the caramelized sugar. Stir until well blended.
Add warmed cream to the caramel and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until the mixture reaches 230°F. Be careful as this step will produce a lot of steam.
Cinnamon Chantilly: Combine the cream, sugar and cinnamon in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on high until cream forms firm peaks.
The recipe for Butter Caramel makes 1½ cups; enough for two tarts. The recipe for Cinnamon Chantilly makes 1 cup. This recipe needs the lecithin, or the butter will separate as it cools. If you don’t have lecithin, you can substitute the recipe for Salted Brown Butter Caramel that can also be found on our website. Use any leftover sauce on ice cream, cookies, apples or other desserts.