Super silky and delicate butterscotch pudding (a beloved Southern dish) forms the first layer of this delightful tart. It's topped with see-through-thin slices of skin-on, tart Granny Smith apples which provide a protective layer for the hot caramel that tops it all off.
Take extra care with the caramel. It's not difficult to make, but it gets dangerously hot once the sugar turns to caramel and can do serious damage to exposed skin. Use a deep, broad-sided pan and add the cream very gradually, as the sauce will bubble up vigorously as the cream is added.
The pudding, caramel, and pastry shells can be made a full day ahead and the caramel apple tarts can be assembled up to three or four hours before serving. Make sure it's nice and cool when you serve it. Drizzle the plates with leftover caramel sauce. I add just a touch of molasses to the pudding for deeper color and a flavor surprise.