This post is part of a partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs. All opinions are my own. You can learn more about my favorite purveyor of organic herbs & spices here.
The angle of the afternoon sun has shifted, bright red leaves dot the maple trees out back, and even though it’s 80 degrees, the first whisper of fall is in the air.
Every year at this time, I remember being a kid, dreading going back to school when it seemed that summer was at its very best. I have a lot of memories, even in college, of being inside some academic building and gazing out the window at one of those spectacular September afternoons. The sky turns a deep azure blue and the sun is like gold on every glossy leaf, some red, some yellow, but most still green with that late summer warmth. Now that my school days are long behind me and I have the privilege of working for myself, I love being able to take an afternoon here and there to take Isla outside and do nothing but enjoy the beauty of the changing seasons. There’s something so special about the autumn and all the warm and comforting flavors it ushers in.
For many people, it doesn’t get more fall-flavored than pumpkin spice, but for me it’s all about chai! One of my favorite chai teas is Mountain Rose Herbs’ Organic Turmeric Chai, which is a beautiful loose tea blend with whole green cardamom pods, cloves, ground turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, fennel, black pepper, and a bit of cayenne for a little kick. It’s caffeine free, which is nice if you avoid caffeine, and also makes it a wonderful bedtime tea (mmmm Golden Milk!). And if you’re like me, it means it’s perfect for sipping day or night – especially in a cozy riff on a Hot Buttered Rum!
A classic Hot Buttered Rum consists of hot water, butter, sugar, spices, and a nice long pour of dark rum, making it the ideal way to warm up and chill out after a long, cold day. Often, it’s suggested to make a batch of “batter” with the butter, sugar, and spices to keep in the fridge so that it’s easier to make a few drinks when the mood strikes. I got to thinking, I could simplify (and spice up) things even more by making a syrup with my Turmeric Chai tea to replace both the sugar and the spices – a Turmeric Chai Hot Buttered Rum? Yes please!
Now that apples are coming into season, I’ve been wanting to bake an apple tart, and after making this turmeric chai tea syrup, I thought how beautiful it would be to add turmeric to my apple tart for a gorgeous golden hue. I used a beloved Ina Garten tart recipe as my starting point and added turmeric and chai spices to the apple mixture, then glazed the finished tart with a blend of apricot jam and the tea syrup. The result was a gorgeous golden chai apple tart, the perfect accompaniment to my Turmeric Chai Hot Buttered Rum.
I recently made a cocktail involving almond-infused rum (see recipe over on Instagram). Once I strained the almonds out of the rum, I didn’t want them to go to waste, so I made a very lazy version of orgeat (almond syrup). This left me with some chopped, rum-flavored candied almonds, so I kept them to sprinkle onto something like ice cream, or this spiced apple tart! If you have some spent orgeat almonds, great, but if not, regular old chopped almonds are fine.
If you want to make both the tart and the Hot Buttered Rum, I recommend starting with the pastry dough since it needs to chill in the fridge for at least an hour. While the dough is chilling, you can make the Turmeric Chai tea syrup and prepare the apple filling. Don’t be intimidated by the pastry dough. It’s actually incredibly quick and easy to make! I simply mixed the dry ingredients in a bowl, added the cold butter (diced into small pieces) and cold water, and quickly worked the dough with my hands just until combined. This is a simple and easy tart recipe that could be adapted to work with any seasonal fruit and spices (ooh pear tart, anyone?) so use it as a guide and have fun!
Turmeric Chai Tea Syrup
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup sugar
- .5 cup Turmeric Chai Tea
In a small saucepan, heat sugar and water over medium heat until sugar is completely dissolved. Add Turmeric Chai Tea and stir well. Turn heat down to medium-low and let simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat and allow syrup to cool. Once cool, strain using a fine mesh strainer into a clean, dry jar for storage in the fridge.
Turmeric Chai Hot Buttered Rum
- 1 cup water
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp / 1.5 oz Turmeric Chai Tea syrup
- 3 oz aged rum (I used Barbancourt Rhum 3 star)
In a small saucepan, add water, butter, and syrup and heat over medium heat while whisking to combine. Once combined and simmering, remove from heat and add rum. Stir, then divide into two heat-safe mugs. Garnish with cinnamon sticks and seasonal edible flowers, if desired.
Golden Spiced Apple Tart
Adapted from the recipe: French Apple Tart by Ina Garten
For the pastry:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1.5 sticks cold unsalted butter
- 1 tbsp sugar
- .5 tsp salt
- .5 cup ice cold water
For the filling:
- 4 granny smith apples
- Golden Chai Spice blend*, to taste
- Half a lemon’s juice
- .5 cup sugar
- .5 stick unsalted butter, cold, diced
- Approximately .5 cup chopped almonds (rum-infused or spent orgeat almonds recommended!)
*Golden Chai Spice blend:
- 1 tsp ground turmeric
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- .5 tsp ground cardamom
- .5 tsp ground cloves
For the glaze:
- .25 cup apricot jam
- .25 cup Turmeric Chai Tea syrup
- 2 tbsp / 1.5 oz aged rum (I used Barbancourt Rhum 3 star)
For the pastry: If you have a food processor, add flour, salt and sugar and pulse a few times to combine. Add COLD butter and pulse until the butter is the size of peas. With the processor running, add ice water and blend just until the mixture begins to come together. Dump onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. If you don’t have a food processor, small dice the cold butter, mix dry ingredients, and then simply use your hands to quickly combine all ingredients and knead the dough into a ball. I used the manual method and it came out great. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour. While dough is chilling, put together apple mixture (see below). Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment. Roll out dough, aiming for about 10” x 14” and trim edges.
For the filling: Peel apples and cut in half through the stems. Remove stems and cores using a melon baller, if you have one. Slice crosswise into approximately ¼ inch thick slices and place in a large mixing bowl. Squeeze the juice of half a lemon over the apple slices and use large spoon or spatula to coat the apples. In a small bowl or ramekin, combine the Golden Chai Spice blend and sprinkle into apples, stirring to fully coat the apples. Cover the rolled out and trimmed pastry dough with apple slices diagonally – or however you prefer, covering the dough completely with one layer of slightly overlapping slices. Sprinkle sugar over the top, and then dot with diced butter. It will seem like a lot of sugar, but don’t worry, it won’t be too sweet! It caramelizes the apples and balances their tartness. Bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Rotate the pan once during baking. When you remove the pan to rotate it halfway through baking, sprinkle on the rum-infused or spent orgeat almonds before placing back in the oven.
For the glaze: Once the tart has finished baking, gently heat the glaze ingredients in a small saucepan (I used the same pan I made the tea syrup in), while whisking. Once combined, use a pastry brush to gently brush the glaze over the tart. Let tart sit for at least 15 minutes before serving. I decorated my tart with yellow chrysanthemum flowers, but that’s completely optional.