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French Apple Tart with Cardamom Vanilla Semifreddo

French Apple Tart with Cardamom Vanilla Semifreddo


French Apple Tart with Cardamom Vanilla Semifreddo

This is an easy yet showstopping dessert that's perfect for fall entertaining. The tart is super crisp and buttery. The cardamom-vanilla semifreddo makes for a fun spin on the classic apple pie a la mode.

Servings 8 people


Cardamom-Vanilla Semifreddo

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 8 cardamom pods slightly crushed
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla paste
  • 1 cup heavy cream chilled

French Apple Tart

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter cold, cubed
  • 1/3 cup ice water
  • 3 apples (Pink Lady used here)
  • 1/4 cup sugar, plus more for finishing
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter



  1. Prepare a baking pan by spraying with cooking spray and lining with plastic wrap. To make the semifreddo, heat the milk and cardamom pods in a heavy pot over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, take off the heat, cover and let sit for 20 minutes. 

  2. In the meantime, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until it turns pale yellow. 

  3. After the milk has steeped for 20 minutes, reheat to a simmer and take off the heat. Very slowly pour the heated milk mixture into the egg-sugar mix, whisking constantly. Once all the liquid is added, pour back into the pot and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly and scraping the bottom often. Heat the mixture until it is thick enough to coat the back of spoon. 

  4. Remove from heat and strain into a clean bowl set over an ice-water bath. Stir in the vanilla paste. While that's cooling, beat the chilled heavy cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Gently fold the heavy cream into the custard until it's mostly incorporated. Pour into the prepared baking pan, covering the top with plastic wrap, and freeze in the freezer for 4-6 hours. 

Apple Tart

  1. In the bowl of food processor, pulse the flour, sugar and salt to mix. Add in cubed butter and pulse until the dough forms into small pea-size crumbles. With the motor running, slowly pour in ice water and mix until dough just comes together. Gather dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Cool in the fridge for at least 1 hour. 

  2. Preheat the oven to 400F. After chilling, roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to about 1/8 inch thickness. You can either trim into a rectangle or leave it with rustic edges. Place the dough on baking sheet lined with parchment paper and keep in the fridge until the apples are ready. 

  3. The apples can be peeled prior to slicing but I prefer to leave the skins on. Cut the apples in half and scoop out the core. Thinly slice the apples ~1/8 inch thick. Arrange the apples in overlapping rows, or whatever design you'd like. Top the tart with 1/4 cup of sugar and dot with small chunks of butter. 

  4. Bake the tart for 45-50 minutes. I like to sprinkle the tart with a little extra sugar after baking and use a creme brulee torch to caramelize it but you can also broil it for a quick minute, just don't forget about it because the crust with burn quickly. 

To Seve

  1. Semifreddo is traditionally frozen in a baking pan and then served by slicing, which makes it really easy. You can also use a scoop, which I did here, and plop it on top of a slice of warm apple tart.

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