Serves 8 / This scrumptious tart strikes a rare balance between rich and not-too-sweet. Prep tips: Fresh vanilla bean adds a decadent element, but you can substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla extract in a pinch. A mandoline makes it easy to slice apples uniformly, but a good sharp knife works too.
Vanilla Pecan Crust
3/4 cup pecans
5 dates, pitted
1 vanilla bean pod (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2/3cup blanched almond flour or almond meal
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 medium Granny Smith apples (about 1 3/4 pounds), peeled and sliced 1/8-inch thick
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1/4 cup agave nectar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1. Preheat oven to 400˚. Place pecans and dates in a food processor and pulse until coarsely ground. Slit vanilla bean pod lengthwise and scrape inside to remove vanilla beans; add to pecan mixture and pulse until well ground. Pulse in flour, egg, and salt. Continue pulsing until mixture begins to form a ball. Lightly coat a 9-inch tart pan with oil or cooking spray. Using wet hands, press crust onto bottom and up sides of tart pan; prick all over with a fork. Bake for 10–12 minutes, until crust is dry, firm, and lightly browned. Cool completely.
2. Preheat oven to 350˚. In a large bowl, toss together apple slices, lemon juice, arrowroot, agave, and cinnamon. Fan out apples on top of prebaked crust, forming a circle; then layer more apples over the first circle and in the center. Pour accumulated juices over apples. Cover with foil, place on a baking sheet, and bake for 50 minutes, until apples are soft but still have some texture. Cool before serving.
PER SERVING: 235 cal, 13g fat (4g mono, 2g poly, 1g sat), 26mg chol, 4g protein, 30g carb, 4g fiber, 49mg sodium