Growing up, one of my classmates always brought apple muffins to school that everyone fought over. They were textured like a cake and had a delightfully crunchy streusel topping; it was a family recipe that I remember his mother being proud of at school functions—even she didn’t have the recipe, only her mother. I hadn’t thought of those muffins in over a decade when I stumbled across an autumn-apple muffin recipe that made me take a trip down memory lane.
The last few autumns, I’ve played around with apple muffin and cake recipes, tweaking recipes until I ultimately came up with a version that suited my taste buds. The stroke of genius came from a recipe I stumbled across in a cook book that was a wedding present: apple whisky cake. Not entirely satisfied with the original recipe, it's undergone a bit of a makeover.
The end result? An apple bourbon tart with gingersnap crust.
Not exactly apple muffins, I know, but it gets the job done and the bourbon gives the flavor enough of a kick that you don’t over indulge and eat too much. This would be a perfect dessert for an autumn-themed dinner or even your Halloween Party served with a bit of sparkling wine.
Apple Bourbon Tart With Gingersnap Crust
For the crust:
gingersnap cookies (about 23)
1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon of salt
In a food processor, combine the cookies, butter and sugar. Pulse until it becomes a crumb-like mixture. Line the bottom and sides of a 9” tart pan with the crumb mixture and set aside. I made the mistake of not greasing a piece of parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan, so when you make this, don't forget!!
For the Apple Bourbon mixture:
3 apples, peeled and diced (I used Pink Ladies)
1/2 cup bourbon or whisky, preferably something not too sweet (I used Bulleit)
1 cup melted butter, cooled
1 1/2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 325º
Combine apples and bourbon, set aside. Dust with a little cinnamon and nutmeg.
Sift together the sugars, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Add in the butter and beat in the eggs into the mixture. Add enough flour to the batter that it isn’t super runny (usually between 3/4 cup and 1 1/4 cup of flour). The batter will be gooey, but not runny. Add the apples and the bourbon. If there’s too much liquid, add a little but more flour.
Scrape the batter into the tart pan, be sure to pop any air bubbles on the top of the tart. Bake for 45 minutes uncovered; put a piece of foil over it and cook for another 30 minutes or until the center stops jiggling.
Cool on wire rack and remove from tart pan. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
What's your favorite dessert to make in the fall? Do you prefer apple or pumpkin in your dessert bowl?
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