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4.07.2011

French Apple Tart

Life and work have been very hectic for the past couple of weeks.  There's been a lot going on, and when that happens, I always feel like there are less hours in my day than there seem to be in everyone else's.  So often I get the impression (which I'm sure is false) that the rest of the world is accomplishing everything they set out to do, and I'm stuck in the slow lane with a huge list in front of me, barely scratching the surface of all of the tasks to be done.  That's how I'm feeling these days, but I've found that the best remedy for this feeling is to bake stuff.  Baking is a nice little distraction for me, and most of all I can get something started and completed in relatively little time--a small, but rewarding accomplishment.  The other day, I tackled the Barefoot Contessa's French Apple Tart, and it turned out beautifully.

The recipe has you make homemade dough for the crust, which turned out light and flaky with a subtle richness to it.  The fun part is the pretty arrangement of apples (and butter and sugar) that top this dessert


Pop this sheet into the oven for an hour, and it comes out looking carmelized and delicious:


Don't worry about the burnt stuff--its just the juices from the apples.  Looks pretty good, but it gets better with the addition of an apricot glaze.



And yes, it tasted as good as it looks.....after the tart cooled, I cut it up, put it into a pretty box to take and share with family......topped with vanilla ice cream, this is a great and pretty alternate to apple pie--delicious!


Here's the recipe:

For the pastry:
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tbsp. sugar
12 tbps. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or jam
2 tbps Calvados, rum, or water

For the pastry, 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 and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches.  Using a ruler (I just eyeballed it) 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 a 1/4" 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 apple slices.  Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter

Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour, until the 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 slit to let the air out.  Don't worry! The apple juices 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.  Serves 6.

The instructions seem long, but trust me, this is an easy recipe with great-tasting results.  The couple of hours I spent on it certainly helped me to destress!

3 comments:

The Starr Family said...

Oh heavens. I could eat this for breakfast, lunch, and dinner... looks divine! Might make a nice Easter brunch option.

Suzanne said...

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sostinkingcute.blogspot.com

Chantel said...

Looks so divine. My mouth is watering just looking at the pictures