Classic french apple tart

Sweet Pastry Crust:

•              200 grams flour

•              50 grams white sugar

•              a pinch of salt

•              125 grams room temperature unsalted butter

•              1 large egg

For the Apple Filling:

•              6 medium-sized apples

•              50 grams unsalted butter

•              50 – 100 grams white sugar

For the Glaze:

•              100 ml apricot preserves

•              1 tablespoon Cognacor Water

Sweet Pastry Crust:

Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating just until incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix just until it forms a ball. Don’t overwork or pastry will be hard when baked. Flatten dough into disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate about one hour or until firm.

Have ready 20 – 23 cm tart pan. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into an 28 – 30 cm circle that is about 3 mm thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).

When the pastry is the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling-pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get shrinkage. Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling-pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough into pan. Prick bottom of dough as this will prevent the dough from puffing up as it bakes. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C and place rack in center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly distributed over the entire surface.  Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on wire rack.

For Apple Tart:

For bottom layer of apples: Peel, core, and slice three of the apples. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon unsalted butter and stir in between 2 – 4 tablespoons of the sugar. Add the apples and saute over moderate heat, stirring occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Gently mash the apples with the back of a spatula or spoon and stir the mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.

For top layer of apples: Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices ½ cm thick.  Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the other 2 – 4 tablespoons  sugar. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften, approximately 5 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.

Spoon the applesauce mixture into the cooled pre-baked tart shell. Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles over the applesauce, and brush with 1 – 2 tablespoons  melted butter. Bake the tart  in a preheated 180 degree C oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the apples are nicely browned and soft.  Once the tart has cooled lightly glaze the apple slices with warm apricot glaze.

Apricot Glaze:

In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps.  Add the Cognac or water.  Use this glaze to seal the baked tart shell and to brush the top of the finished tart.

Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


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