This is my Mom’s favorite dessert. If there is something I make that she brags about the most, it’s probably this. She loves it.
The first time I pulled out this beauty was back in March when Erick and I hosted dinner for our parents. Erick and I like to make food for people. As we’ve said before, some of the greatest conversations can be had at the end of a meal, when you just sit back, push your plate forward, and enjoy company and conversation.
So back in March, while planning the dinner, I asked our Moms to bring a dessert and beverages, and then Erick and I would tackle the rest. But about four hours before dinner, Mom asked if she could do a salad instead because she and Dad were coming into Minneapolis early to run errands.
She must have sensed that the French Apple Tart was coming her way. She’s got crazy intuition like that.
I really didn’t fret because I’d been wanting to try this recipe, and this is an easy dessert. I swear. It looks super fancy and difficult, but I would never do that to you.
If you have butter, flour, sugar and apples — you’ve got this in the bag. And if you’re feeling a little more adventurous like I was a few weeks ago, you could make this with peaches (it was awesome!), pears or plums too. Do what you want people. Experiment. That’s the beauty of baking and cooking your own stuff.
French Apple Tart
adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics
For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
For the apples (or fruit of choice):
5 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly
2 tablespoons water
For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Note: You can do this by hand with two knives or a pastry cutter. Follow the same directions, but when you add the water, add a few tablespoons at a time vs. all at once.
While the dough is setting in the fridge, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. I don’t have a melon baler, so I just use a spoon. 🙂 Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water. Pour the mixture through a sieve and get out the chunky parts, and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper.
Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.