From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Place crust ingredients in mixing bowl and, using electric mixer or by hand, rub in butter until mix resembles moist, golden breadcrumbs, but does not form a dough. (This is why the butter or substitute should be cold.)
3. Press crumbs onto bottom and halfway up sides of 9″ pie plate.
4. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until the crust is slightly shrunken and tinged brown. Remove from oven.
5. While crust is baking, and in same mixing bowl, mix cream cheese, egg substitute, vanilla, flour and sugar until well blended and creamy looking. Mix in apples.
6. Spoon apple mixture into partially baked crust. This will have a very full appearance and will be over the height of the crust, but it won’t overflow or rise too much.
7. In small non-stick saucepan or in the microwave, melt butter over medium heat. Turn the heat off and stir in butter, almonds and cinnamon until they are evenly coated. If it cools too rapidly, then the nuts will start clumping together, so just warm through on low heat. Gently spoon over apple mixture.
8. Bake at 350 degrees for about 55 minutes, covering the top if it seems to be browning too much.
Tips and Alternatives:
The tart needs this length of cooking, otherwise the apples will be too firm. Additionally, the cornstarch in the cheese mix needs to cook, otherwise you will taste a raw floury texture when you eat the tart. The cream cheese mixture will appear cooked and set by the 30-minute mark, but requires the extra cooking time.
I like a crispy, crunchy top, so I use a lots of nuts for the topping. The texture differences are wonderful.