Sunday, December 9, 2007

The Finished Product

All the arranged apples prior to baking

A view of the filling and the fanned out apples.

This was one of my proud "I made this!" moments. I brought this tart to Thanksgiving this year and a professional pastry chef complimented me on it. So, when you really want to impress someone, pull out this recipe. The tart looks pretty and tastes divine. Plus, it is a nice alternative to the traditional apple pie. It is a typical French recipe with lots of steps, and I will insert tip on how to speed up the process, if you want.

From: Williams Sonoma Baking cookbook.
French Apple Tart

Tart Pastry
1 1/4 C all purpose flour
1/2 C powdered sugar
1/2 C cold unsalted butter cut in small pieces
2 large egg yolks
1 TBS heavy cream

Whisk together the first three ingredients. Gently toss the butter in the flour mixture to coat, then cut in the butter with knives until mixture is crumbly and resembles peas.

In a separate bowl, mix eggs then add cream until blended. Drizzle into flour mix and stir with fork until the mixture is an even and smooth mass. On open surface, shape dough into 6 inch disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm - about 45 minutes or more.

On floured surface, roll out dough before becomes too soft and warm - flip the disc several times so it doesn't stick to the surface. Roll the dough circle around a rolling pin and gently unroll dough into a 9 1/2 inch tart pan with removable bottom. Ease the dough into the pan, and cut dough so about 1/2 inch hangs over sides. Bring excess overhang back into the pan and press into the sides of the pan, creating a double thickness. - Freeze crust until ready - about 30 minutes.

Next, you will need to partially cook the crust. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line crust with heavy foil and fill with either uncooked beans, uncooked rice or pie weights. Bake until lined crust dries out, about 15 minutes . Check by pulling up a corner of the foil - if it sticks the crust is not dried out. (If not ready check every two minutes.) Once dried, remove foil and reduce heat to 350 degrees, and continue to bake until the crust is lightly browned on edges - about 5 minutes longer - transfer crust to wire rack and continue with recipe. (*Timesaving tip: use a frozen crust. However, this one is too good to not try it.)

Filling -

(For the filling use several kinds of apples for different textures)
Preheat oven 375 degrees

5 apples peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch peices
2 TBS sugar
2 Tsp fresh lemon juice - strained
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted

Lined a half-sheet cake pand with parchment paper. (I used a 9x13 cake pan.) In a bowl stir apple pieces, sugar, lemon juice, and butter until mixed. Spread in pan and bake about 20 minutes or until soft, stirring once half way through. Remove from oven and scrape into a bowl. Use spoon to mash the warm apples until looks like chunky applesauce. Let cool about 30 minutes and spread in prebaked crust. (*To cut down the time, it is perfectly alright to use premade applesauce. I know a very anal French guy who does it. You won't get the same great texture, but it will taste just fine.)

For Top of tart, use a hard apple like Granny Smith, Rome Beauty, or Northern Spy)
2 C peeled, thinly sliced apples
1 TBS unsalted butter, melted
1 TBS Sugar
1/4 C apricot preserves

On top of the sauce mixture, arrange apple slices in two circles in an overlapping fanned out design. Drizzle with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until apple slices are soft when pierced with fork and crust is browned. 45-50 minutes. transfer to rack and let cool.

In small pan, warm apricot preserves, stirring constantly. Strain the preserves in a small mesh seive to remove large fruit chunks. Use pastry brush to generously brush on preserves over baked apples.

To unmold tart:
set the pan on an inverted bowl, slide the outer ring down, and use an offset spatula to carefully loosen the tart from the pan, sliding it onlo a serving platter. Serve the same day. I used a cinnamon whipped topping with the tart and it tasted heavenly! Enjoy!

No comments: