Gravenstein apples had been chillin’ out in our spare refrigerator for several weeks before I finally found time to bake something with them. An apple pie seemed like too much dessert during these days while my husband is doing a slow-carb diet. That means that every day of the week but one, he avoids sweets and carbs. Saturdays are his designated “eat whatever I damn well please” day. So unless I want to make a total pig out of myself, I bake on Saturdays. Then I have the rest of the week to enjoy the leftovers.
This French apple tart recipe was exactly the type of dessert deserving of the slightly tart, crisp apples I’d scored on a recent local farm excursion. Simple. Light. Not too sweet. Goes down easy after a large meal and even better mid morning with hot coffee.
|Working with dough is very satisfying!|
I just learned about glazes. They can magically make pastry look professional.
French Apple Tart
(a slightly modified version of Ina Garten’s recipe)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 sticks cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
Place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds. Add the butter and pulse 10-12 times, until the butter is in small pits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water into the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to hold together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. At this point you can either: grab a sheet pan and line it with parchment paper or a Silpat mat; or, as I did, a rectangular (10x15) tart pan with a removable bottom. I think this gave the tart a fancier, company worthy presentation.
Roll the dough out slightly larger than 10x14 inches. If you’re using a sheet pan, you’ll want to use a ruler and knife and trim the edges. Place the dough on/in the pan of your choice and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
4 apples (you can use Granny Smith, Gravenstein, or any other semi-tart apples)
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 Tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, diced small
Peel the apples the 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. At this point, apple slice placement depends on the pan you’re using. I created three rows of apples, but you could place them diagonally, or spiral them if you want to make it real purty. Sprinkle the apples with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon and dot with 4 Tablespoons of butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to one hour, or until pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown.
1/4 cup apricot jelly or jam
2 Tablespoons apple brandy, rum or water
Heat the jelly or jam along with the liquid. If you used jam, you’ll need to sieve it through cheesecloth. Brush apples and pastry completely with the mixture.
Allow to cool and serve warm with a little whipped cream or ice cream.