Apple of my eye. How about them apples? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Don’t upset the apple cart. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. The big apple. Criss-cross applesauce! An apple for the teacher.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s move on to a month of apples.
To tell the truth, I was feeling a little uninspired in the baking department. However, a friend and colleague (thanks GMS!) made a simple suggestion: tarte aux pommes. Suddenly, I was back in Bayeaux Normandy in early fall just about a decade ago. The air was crisp, the camembert ripe et les pommes? Sigh.
Like its cousin, the apple pie, tarte aux pommes has numerous equally delicious incarnations. But, let’s start with tradition. With a twist. I’ve been experimenting with pie and tart crust. So, this tart started with Dorie Greenspan’s sweet tart dough. This is a press-in dough, so if you fear the rolling pin, this is a good option. This is also a sweeter dough than some and so, pairs well with tart (as opposed to tarte) flavors. Simple ingredients get combined in the food processor.
Once sandy, turn the mixture onto a lightly floured surface, and anything that didn’t get combined in the processor gets a light kneed.
From here, the dough can be pressed directly into your tin, pan or mold. Or, wrapped securely in plastic and chilled until needed.
From Dorie, we now switch to Julia and peel four pounds of apples. She recommends golden delicious. I used a combination of Granny Smith, Gala and golden. Three cups get sliced into pretty 1/8 inch disks. The rest are cut into chunks.
In the meantime, push all of the preserves through a sieve.
The result will be a gorgeous glaze.
Mix 1/3 of the apricots with sugar and apple brandy or cider. Set aside.
Now it’s time for the sauce. Add apple chunks to a heavy saucepan.
Cook on low for about 20 minutes.
Until the apples are tender. Increase heat and mix-in the preserves mixture and butter. Bring to a boil.
And stir constantly until the sauce holds a mass on the spoon.
Then, into the cold tart shell (I’ve used a pie tin here because my tart pan was otherwise occupied. I mean come on, it is a tart pan).
Arrange the apples on top.
And, into the oven until the crust and apples are slightly browned.
As a final step that I somehow forgot to photograph, lightly brush the remaining preserves over the top of the tart. Enjoy warm or at room temperature. And with that, I close my 100th post. Ooh la la!
Coldplay. Don’t know what it is about them or me lately, but they sure hit the spot.
Tarte aux Pommes
Crust: sweet tart dough, Dorrie Greenspan, Baking from My Home to Yours, Houghton Mifflin
Filling: Tarte aux Pommes, Julia Child (with Louisette Bertholle and Simone Beck of course), Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Alfred A. Knopf
- 1 1 /2 C all purpose flour
- 1/2 C confectioner’s sugar
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 9 TBS unsalted butter, frozen and cut into small pieces
- 1 large egg yolk
- Put flour, sugar and salt into a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combined.
- Scatter butter pieces over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut-in.
- Stir the yolk to break it up and then gradually add to the mixture, pulsing in between until the dough becomes sandy and and forms clumps and curds.
- Turn dough out onto lightly floured surface and kneed gently to incorporated any unmixed ingredients.
- Butter a nine-inch fluted tart pan (or in my case, a pie tin as my tarte pan was in use at the time).
- Press the dough evenly into the pan and up the sides of the pan. (TMH note–using the bottom surface an 8 ounce measuring cup is useful in smoothing down the dough, just don’t press too firmly otherwise the dough loses it’s crumbly texture).
- Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes. Or, refrigerate over night.
For filling and to complete the tarte
- 4 lbs firm cooking apples
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/3 C + 1/2 C apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
- 1/4 C Calvados, rum, or cognac or 1 TB vanilla (TMH note: because I took this tart to work, I utilized the vanilla and substituted-in 1/4 C apple cider)
- 2/3 C + 2 TBS granualted suagr
- 3 TB butter
- Grated zest of one lemon
- Peel, core and quarter the apples. Cut enough to make 3 cups into even 1/8 inch lengthwise slices and toss them in a bowl with the lemon juice and first 2 TB sugar. Reserve for the top of the tart.
- Cut the rest of the apples into rough slices.
- Place remaining apples in a heavy saucepan and cook, covered over low heat for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally until tender.
- Beat in the first 1/3 C apricot perserves, butter, remaining sugar and lemon zest.
- Raise heat and boil, stirring until apple-sauce is thick enough to hold in a mass in the spoon.
- Remove crust from fridge and spread the applesauce in the shell.
- Cover with a neat, closely overlapping layer of sliced apples arranged in a spiral or concentric circles.
- Bake in upper third of over for about 30 minutes or until the sliced apples have browned lightly.
- Slide tart onto a rack or serving dish and spoon or paint over it a light coating of melted apricot preserves.