Monday, May 27, 2013

Recipe: Classic French Apple Tart


Tart Dough:
• 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
• 2 Tbsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp salt

• 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
• 3 Tbsp vegetable shortening, cubed and chilled
• 5-6 Tbsp cold water

Apricot Glaze:
• 1/4 cup apricot preserves
• 1/2 Tbsp water

• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/3 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 3/4 cup half and half
• 1/2 tsp vanilla

• 1 1/2 lbs (3 large) Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored cut into 1/8-inch slices
• 3 Tbsp sugar
• 2 Tbsp unsalted butter

• Cinnamon Sugar:
• 1 Tbsp sugar
• 1/4 tsp cinnamon


1. To prepare the tart dough, combine the dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the cubed butter and shortening and pulse to form pea-sized pieces. Add 5 Tbsp cold water and pulse until the dough starts to come together, adding more water as needed. Shape the dough into a long rectangle, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate at least 1 hour.

2. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8-inch thick. Gently place onto a cookie sheet. Lift and place the dough onto the sheet, careful not to stretch the dough. Use your fingers to press the dough firmly. Prick the bottom with a fork, then return to the fridge for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

3. Line the chilled rectangular shell with aluminum foil and fill with pie weights. Bake about 20 minutes until the crust is pale golden brown and the surface looks dry. Remove the foil and pie weights and let cool while you prepare the glaze and filling. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F.

4. To make the glaze, combine the apricot preserves and water in a saucepan and heat until melted. Strain through a sieve, then brush over the surface of the cooled tart shell.

5. For the custard, heat the half and half in a small saucepan to a simmer. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, eggs and vanilla in a large bowl until completely smooth. Once the milk is heated, slowly drizzle into the egg mixture, whisking constantly. Set aside.

6. Prepare the apples. Melt the butter and sugar in a large, high sided saute pan over medium heat. Add the apple slices and cook, stirring occasionally, until the apples begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool (unless you have tough fingers like me and can handle the hot slices).

7. To assemble the tart, arrange the apple slices over the prepared tart shell. I begin by placing slices along the outer edge of the shell, cut side facing into the center, then repeat with a second layer (this helps prop up the apples once you start arranging the slices, otherwise the inner apples end up much higher than the outer apples). From there, arrange the slices, starting from the outside, overlapping the slices so the cut side of the previous slice is covered by the next slice. Save the smaller slices for the inner space. 

8. Pour the custard over the apples, tilting the pan so it fills in all the gaps, filling to just below the edge of the tart shell. Sprinkle with the cinnamon sugar. Bake 25-30 minutes, until the custard is set. Let cool before removing from the tart shell. Serve with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

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