Gardening, Cooking and Decorating on the Prairie of Kansas

Welcome to Linderhof, our 1920's home on the prairie, where there's usually something in the oven, flowers in the garden for tabletops and herbs in the garden for cooking. Where, when company comes, the teapot is always on and there are cookies and cakes to share in the larder.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

French Apple Tart

In the fall, we love bowls of apples on tabletops. Whether store apples like Gala or Granny Smith or orchard apples from friends whose pedigree is unknown. The apples are handy for tart making, sauteed lightly with a sprinkling of sugar to serve with a pork dish, to slice and add to batter for an apple cake, to thinly slice and add to salad greens with toasted walnuts and bleu cheese, or to just eat out of hand as a snack.

I like apple tarts better than pies for the tarts have more fruit than crust. My newest cookbook, Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics, has a recipe for an apple tart that I just had to try. It's a simple tart to put together and the crust is just fantastic. In the notes, Ina wrote for an even faster tart, you can use frozen puff pastry. But, this dough comes together in a thrice -- much faster than it would be to thaw puff pastry.

The tart orchard apples made a great tart and I sprinkled each slice with a shower of powdered sugar. It was so good, that we had a SECOND piece later in the evening!

(From Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics)

2 cups flour
1/2 t. salt
1 T. sugar
12 T. cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup iced water

For the Apples:

4 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 T. cold unsalted butter, small dice
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 T. Calvados, rum or water

Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apples slices. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.

Bake for 45 min to 1 hour until the puff pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry, the applejuices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart is done, heat the apricot jelly with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.


Anonymous said...

Oh I can't wait to get this book! The recipe looks wonderful.

Anonymous said...

Good reason to get the book, Martha! That looks delicious! That final brush of calvados and jam always seems to brighten up a tart.

katrina said...

I just made this very same recipe and it's just beautiful ( and delicious!)....I skipped the Calvados this time and substituted lemon juice, which worked just fine.