Sunday, February 13, 2011

French Apple Tart

My friend C got married two weeks ago, I think I mentioned that I had to miss it, but I wanted to take part in the celebration somehow. Thankfully, her former roommate invited me to Sheva Brachot. She asked me if I could make a dessert and I agreed. Assuming that my two other friends who were making dessert were both making chocolate desserts, I opted to go the fruit route. I settled on this recipe for a French Apple Tart in one of my Israeli cookbooks. A similar one appears in Dorie Greenspan's Baking volume, so I used it for reference. Anyway, the recipe in Carine Goren's Kitchen Helper book is very simple. She offers one of two ways to fill a baked tart shell, either with applesauce or apple jam. I really wanted to make one tart with each but I couldnt find apple jam on any supermarket shelf. Perhaps it's a seasonal item. So the applesauce it was. The variation she offers is to add cinnamon to the applesauce so I made one tart that way and one tart plain. For one tart, I obeyed the recipe and sprinkled powdered sugar on top of the buttered apples before baking and for the other I opted to sprinkle with turbinado sugar. To make sure that the tart shells would shrink too badly, I kept them in the fridge until I came back from errands and baked them one by one. There was still shrinkage, but not as bad as with the Pecan Tart. So how did they fare? Well, to be honest, only half a tart got eaten at the party itself. But in my defense, there was so much food served during the meal itself that people really didnt have much appetite for dessert. So I brought home and my girls happily devoured the remainder. Just a technical note: the pastry recipe that she gives yielded more than enough for two nine inch tarts. Feel free to make one and freeze the rest for a later use.

French Apple Tart
adapted, in parts, from Sheshet

300 grams flour
1/4 tsp salt
100 grams, about 3/4 cup, powdered sugar
200 grams cold butter or margarine, cut into cubes
1 egg, beaten
milk or cream, if needed

1 cup sweetened applesauce, or apple jelly
1 tsp cinnamon, optional
4-5 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced very thinly
30 grams melted butter or margarine
2 tbsp powdered sugar and/or turbinado sugar

To make the pastry dough, combine the dry ingredients in the work bowl of a food processor. Pulse to combine. Add in the margarine and pulse until big pieces and little pieces remain. Add the egg and pulse to combine. Grab a fist full, if it clumps together it's ready. If not, add milk or cream until you reach the desired consistency. Turn the dough out onto a non stick surface and knead just until it comes together. Cover and chill at least one hour. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.
Carefully place the rolled out dough into a nine inch tart shell and trim the excess. Refrigerate or freeze at least one hour or until ready to use. Dock the tart shell with a fork and preheat your oven to 180 degrees.
Bake the your tart shell(s) until light golden. It will have shrunk. Remove from the oven and cool completely.
Spread the applesauce evenly in the tart shell. The tart shell on the top contains applesauce mixed with a bit of cinnamon. The tart on the bottom is plain.
Arrange the apple slices neatly in concentric circles. Brush with the melted margarine.
Dust with powdered sugar or sprinkle with powdered sugar.
Bake at 190 for about half an hour or until the apple slices have nice golden color on them. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream or serve cold, plain. 

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