Monday, September 7, 2009

French Apple Tart

I am a huge fan of anything apple and this tart is no exception.

This is a desert that could serve as a light alternative to an apple crisp or a basic apple pie. This tart looks absolutely fabulous when completed and cut up and it has a wonderful delicate quality that makes you feel satisfied and not stuffed. I am a firm believer that no one likes to leave the table feeling sick or overly full and with that philosophy in mind, this would be a perfect accompaniment to a heavy meal.

This recipe comes from a lady who I consider to be a genius of easy and elegant food, Ina Garten. A few things to note about this recipe and the finished product; first, it is indeed easy especially if the pre-packaged puff pastry is used instead of the one that is provided in the book. Second, cover your entire sheet pan with parchment paper and I would even say to cover the edges of the pan with parchment. The sugar with the juice from the apples run all over and trying to get burnt sugar (see first picture) off of a sheet pan is akin to scraping dried and blackened gum off of a sidewalk, a horrible undertaking requiring gladiator scrubbing strength. In addition, open your windows because the sugar will burn and when you open your oven, the smoke will set off your smoke detectors and scare the life out of your little dog and small child (not that I speak from experience). Third is that I used salted butter to dot the apples instead of the unsalted called for in the recipe. My reasoning was that there was absolutely no salt anywhere in the recipe and quite frankly, I do not trust recipes without salt, so I added it in where I thought there was some room for maneuvering.

Here is the recipe with my alternative ingredients:
Frozen Puff Pastry thawed overnight in the refrigerator
4 Granny Smith Apples
1/3 Cup Sugar (her recipe calls for 1/2 cup but 1/3 is plenty)
4 tablespoons cold salted butter diced
1/3 cup apricot jelly (her recipe calls for 1/2 cup but 1/3 is plenty)
2 tablespoons Calvados or Rum (I used dark rum)

Preheat the over to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with edges (very important) with parchment paper.

Lay out the puff pastry on the parchment paper and lightly press it with a rolling pin just to make it smooth. Refrigerate while preparing the apples.

Peel the apples and cut the four sides of the apple off. Slice the apples into 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and then repeat on each side of the middle row until entire pastry is covered. Sprinkler all of the sugar over all of the apples. Dot the sugared apples with butter.

Bake for 1 hour turning twice throughout baking until the apple edges are brown. Take the tart out of the oven and set aside. Heat up the jelly and the rum mixture and then pass it through a fine mesh sieve to make it smooth. Brush the apples with the apricot mixture. Serve, hot, warm or cold.

**My family loved vanilla bean ice cream on top of the tart.

Xoxo - AJ

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