The French are known for their elegant yet simple and delicate desserts. One of their most treasured and famous desserts is the classic French apple tart. Now, we have all had an apple tart or pie, but not quite like this one.
This apple tart has a flaky crust and soft apple filling with a delicate flavor. This French apple tart doesn’t have a top crust; instead it is covered with slices of yummy tart apples.
Preparation Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours
Cooking Time: 1 to 1 ½ hours
1½ cups of all-purpose flour
½ cup of butter softened
¼ cup of sugar
Pinch of salt
For The Apple Filling
2 lbs granny smith, mutsu golden or winesap apples
½ cup sugar
3-4 tablespoons butter
½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
½ teaspoon lemon zest
For The Apricot Glaze
½ cup apricot jam or preserve
1 tablespoon cognac
Start by making the pastry crust. In a stand mixer, add the butter and mix till fluffy. Now, add the egg and mix well. Remember to put the mixer speed at low. Once the egg is incorporated well, add the flour and salt. Mix to form a dough or a round ball. Remove the dough from the mixer and flatten it into a small disk. Wrap it in a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 40 minutes or until the dough is firm.
Once the dough has completely chilled, place it on the kitchen slab and sprinkle some flour on it to avoid it from sticking.
Roll the pastry into a thickness of 1/3 inch and place it on a tart pan with a removable base. Now, gently press the pastry onto the bottom and sides of the tart tin. Get rid of the extra pastry from the sides and prick the base with a fork to avoid the pastry from puffing up. Put the tart tin back into the fridge for another 20 minutes till it chills. Cover it with a plastic wrap if possible.
To bake the tart crust, cover it with a foil and add some beans into it. The beans will act as a weight and will not allow the pastry from rising. Put the tin into a 400 degree Fahrenheit preheated oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until the crust has turned a little golden brown. Remove from oven and place it on a rack for cooling. Remove the foil and prepare the filling for the French apple tart.
To make the apple filling, take half of the apples. Peel and core them. Cut them into slices and add into a pan over medium-high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter and half the cinnamon powder. Now, add half the sugar and cook the apples till they are soft. Mash them with a fork and cook further till all the liquid has evaporated. This is very important as excess liquid will make the tart soggy. Remove from heat and let it cool.
Peel and slice the other apples into thin slices using a mandolin, if possible. In a pan add these slices and the remaining sugar, cinnamon powder and butter. Cook for just a few minutes. Do not let the apples cook too much and turn soft. Just let the sugar melt and caramelize a little. Remove from heat and transfer it into a bowl.
Now take the tart crust and fill it with the cooked apple mash. Place the cooked slices of apple on top in a circular arrangement. Brush some soft melted butter on top for a rich glaze and place it in a baking tray. Preheat the oven at 350 degree Fahrenheit and bake the tart for 20-30 minutes or until the apples on top have a golden crust on them. Remove from oven and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top and place it back into the oven for 2-3 minutes. This step is optional.
To make the apricot glaze, heat the apricot jam or preserve in low heat and bring it to a boil. Remove from heat and add the cognac. Brush this glaze on the French apple tart for a yummy flavor.
This French apple tart is a hit when serves warm and with some whipped cream.