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Judy Rosenberg of Rosie's Bakery


Everyone will swoon when you serve this luscious dessert warm with vanilla ice cream. Inspired by the classic tarte tatin, this fall or winter treat consists of alternating layers of succulent sliced apples and rich pastry dough brushed with a caramelized butter/sugar mixture. Have no anxiety about the fact that you must roll out pastry dough in this recipe -- just stay relaxed, and I promise you that regardless of how much expertise you have or don't have, the end result will be an indescribable synergy of tastes and textures!




3 cups all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chilled, cut into 16 pieces
3 large egg yolks, at room temperature
2 tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling:
5 medium-large tart apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch thick slices (6 cups)
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt

12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks)
3/4 cup sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 2-quart souffle dish with butter.
2. To make the pastry, process the flour, granulated sugar, and salt in a food processor for 20 seconds. Add the butter and process until the dough resembles coarse meal, about 30 seconds.
3. Stir the egg yolks and water together in a cup. With the processor running, pour this mixture through the feed tube and process until the dough comes together, 35 seconds.
4. Remove the dough from the processor and knead it for several turns. Divide the dough into quarters and shape each piece into a thick round disk.
5. Roll each disk 1/8-inch thick between 2 pieces of plastic wrap or waxed paper. Trim each disk to fit the souffle dish. Stack the pancakes on a plate with plastic wrap between each layer and place them in the refrigerator while you prepare the filling.
6. Place all the ingredients for the filling in a large bowl and toss to evenly coat the apples. Set aside.
7. For the caramel, melt the butter in a small saucepan and stir in the granulated sugar. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat, and then simmer for 2 minutes.
8. Pour one-fourth of the caramel into the prepared dish. Fit one pastry circle in the bottom over the caramel.
9. Place a third of the apple mixture (2 cups) over the pastry and top with a second pastry circle. Pour one-fourth of the caramel over the pastry. Add another third of the apples, top with the third pastry circle and one-fourth of the caramel, then add the rest of the apples and the remaining pastry circle.
10. Pour the remaining caramel over the top and spread evenly with a spatula.
11. Cover the top of the dish with aluminum foil and pierce the foil in several places with the tip of a knife.
12. Place the dish on the center oven rack and put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any drips. Bake the casserole for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and continue baking until the top is golden and apple mixture is bubbling, 30 to 35 minutes.
13. Remove the dish from the oven and cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 8 servings.


Judy Rosenberg opened the first Rosie’s Bakery in Cambridge, and now has additional stores in Chestnut Hill and Boston’s South Station. Rosie’s Bakery has won so many Boston Magazine Best of Boston citations that it is now enshrined in their Hall of Fame. Judy is also the author of Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter, Fresh Cream, Sugar-Packed, No-Holds-Barred Baking Book, winner of an IACP/Julia Child Cookbook Award, and Rosie’s Bakery Chocolate-Packed, Jam-Filled, Butter-Rich, No-Holds-Barred Cookie Book.

Food Editor's notes:



This is a unique and elegant dessert. The buttery pastry, succulent apples, and sweet caramel combine to make a special treat that will wow your dinner companions. Always use a long toothpick or skewer to pierce through the layers to make sure the apples are cooked through. The end result should be a beautiful golden brown, glazed showstopper. It is best served warm, about an hour after it is baked, but can be refrigerated and brought to room temperature or warmed slightly in the oven before serving.


I made this dessert twice, in different size containers. The first time I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with a beautiful, deep-dish casserole that provided very thick multilayered portions. The second time I used a rectangular glass dish (9 by 13 inches) and made three layers of dough instead of four. (I then used one-third of the caramel and one half of the apples for each layer. I also had to adjust the baking time to compensate for the shallower container, baking it 25 minutes with the foil and then 20 to 25 minutes more without the foil.) I found I could get 12 smaller, but more than adequate, servings this way.


I also made this dessert using margarine instead of butter, to serve with a fleishig (meat) meal in my kosher home. The version made with butter was richer and had a stronger, more authentic caramel flavor, but the pareve dessert was also delicious and well worth the effort.


This dessert can be easy to make if you do it in stages. I made the dough and refrigerated the rolled disks until I was ready to make the filling. Use one of those machines that peel, core, and slice apples with a turn of the crank and you'll have the filling prepared in no time. Once the casserole is assembled, you can bake it immediately or store it in the refrigerator up to one day before baking. (Do not freeze.) If you're serving this as the dessert for a dinner party or holiday meal, pop the assembled casserole in the oven when your guests arrive. By the time you're ready for dessert, the casserole will be too!

Caramel Apple Casserole


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