Fresh Apple Tarts in Puff Pastry with Cinnamon Ice Cream
(From Mark Tachman, 411 West)
with most cinnamon ice cream is that the cinnamon is purely conceptual:
It’s all in the name, not in the taste. Not so with the version developed
by Mark Tachman, pastry chef at 411 West, an Italian café in Chapel Hill,
North Carolina. Tachman, a wiry, high-energy St. Louis native who writes
wry culinary commentaries that have aired on NPR, begins with a lush
ice cream base that resembles crème anglaise. Surprisingly, he
achieves the best flavor by adding two spoonfuls of ground
“cinnamon”—actually cassia—to the base after it has chilled, just
before freezing in the ice cream maker.
To serve 6
for the apple tarts:
frozen puff pastry, thawed as directed
1 tablespoon water
3 apples, Fuji or Granny Smith
2 ounces butter, melted
1/4-cup apricot jam, if desired
Method for the
oven to 375 degrees.
2. Defrost the puff pastry sheet as directed on the package. Place the
sheet on the counter.
3. Combine egg yolk and water in a small bowl and beat to combine.
Lightly brush pastry with egg mixture and sprinkle with granulated
4. Cut out six circles (about 1-inch larger than an apple half) with a
large round cookie cutter. Place circles on parchment-lined baking
4. Peel and core three apples. Slice each in half. Slice each apple
half thinly, starting from the top, keeping the shape of the apple
5. Place each apple half on top of a puff pastry round and fan the apple
slices, starting from the top.
6. Bake until pastry is golden brown and apples are tender.
7. If glaze is desired, melt 1/4 cup apricot jam over low heat. Brush
the tops of the individual tarts with the jam.
8. Serve warm with a scoop of cinnamon ice cream.
for the ice cream:
2-1/4 cups milk
1 vanilla bean, split in half
11 egg yolks
1-3/8 cup sugar
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon, or to taste (see note)
Method for the
cream, milk and vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan. Heat to a slow boil.
2. Set up two large mixing bowls to create an ice bath. Fill the bottom
bowl about halfway with ice. Place a strainer over the top bowl.
3. Just as the cream begins to come to a boil, combine yolks and sugar in a
third bowl and whisk to combine. Gradually add about 1/4 of the hot cream
mixture to the egg yolks, whisking until combined.
4. Return this mixture to the saucepan and cook over medium heat,
stirring constantly, with a wooden or heavy plastic spoon until slightly
thickened. The mixture should coat the back of the spoon. Do not boil.
5. Immediately strain the mixture into the large bowl set over the ice
bath. Cool, stirring occasionally until cold. Strain into a plastic
container and refrigerate until needed.
6. Add ground cinnamon, whisk well to combine and freeze in ice cream maker
according to manufacturer’s directions.
Tachman uses ordinary ground cinnamon—most likely Indonesian cassia—in this
recipe. We experimented with Chinese cassia, which produced an ice cream
with a lighter cinnamon taste. For a stronger flavor, try powerful Saigon
cinnamon (Vietnamese cassia). Whichever variety you use, adding more than
two tablespoons of ground cassia may give the ice cream a slightly gritty
to Spice Kitchen]