Monday, January 17, 2011

French Apple Tart

French Apple Tart

This past week I was busy testing some cookie recipes & encountered some major kitchen blunders. You would think that something as simple as a cookie could not possibly turn out horrible, but it DID. I actually made a cookie that turned out hollow. Most of us like to bite into a warm, chewy cookie…not air!!  I was fed up with the cookbooks I was using, so I set out to the bookstore to buy one I could rely on! I ended up getting Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor from Simple Ingredients by Ina Garten. I love the simplicity of her recipes and I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed.

A few friends were visiting from out of town, so I wanted to surprise them with a freshly baked Apple Tart. The dough has a great buttery flavor and pairs nicely with the sweet apples. Perfect for any tart lover…like me :) XOXO...little j Y

French Apple Tart
Recipe from: Ina Garten
*Makes 12 servings

Pastry Dough:
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 Tbsp sugar
1 ½ (12 Tbsp) sticks cold, unsalted butter, diced into cubes
½ cup ice water

*Tip: Omit sugar to make dough for quiché & other savory dishes.

Apple Topping:
4 Granny Smith apples
½ cup sugar
½ stick (4 Tbsp) cold, unsalted butter, diced into small cubes
½ cup apricot jelly or jam (see note below)
2 Tbsp water

*Tip: Don’t have Granny Smith Apples on hand? Don’t worry. It’s okay to use any type of apple that may be in your refrigerator. I tested a little portion of this tart using Fugi apples & found that they held their form a little better than the Granny Smith apples. The Fugi apples were also a bit sweeter. I always thought Granny Smith’s were supposed to be the best for baking, but I don’t think this is true anymore. Experiment with different types & see what you like best!

To prepare the pastry dough, place the flour, salt, and sugar into a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add butter and pulse 12-15 times, or until the butter forms small bits. With the motor running, pour the water down the feed tube. Continue to pulse until the dough starts to come together. Quickly dump dough onto a floured surface and knead into a ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Dough can also be prepared 2 days in advance. (*Note: If you do not have a food processor, you can use a pastry cutter to mix the butter in with the flour mixture. Then gradually add the ice water until the dough becomes formed.)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 x 14 inches. Use a ruler to be exact, and trim the edges if there is excess. Place dough on sheet pan and place back in refrigerator while you prepare the apples.

Peel apples and cut them in half through the stem. Use a melon baller to remove the core. Use a sharp paring knife to remove the stem. Slice the apples crosswise in ¼ inch-thick slices. If needed, use the melon baller to create a semi-circle at the bottom of sliced apple. This makes the apples a little more aesthetically appealing. Arrange the apples by overlapping them diagonal rows, starting with the middle row first. Continue with rows until the pastry is completely covered. Sprinkle sugar over pastry and dot with the butter.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the pastry has browned. Rotate the pan halfway through cooking to insure even browning.

While the tart is baking, melt the apricot jelly and water in a small saucepan. If you are using a jam or preserves rather than a jelly, sieve the mixture after it is heated. This will get rid of any apricot clumps and leave you with a nice glaze. When the tart is done, brush the apples and pastry with the jelly mixture. Loosen tart to make sure it doesn’t stick to the parchment paper while it cools. Serve warm or at room temperature. Store in a ziploc bag or air tight container. 

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