Tuesday, January 19, 2010

French Apple Tart

It's another one from the Barefoot Contessa cookbook! And a darn good one too. Last night my sis Heidi and her roommate Brianna stopped by for dinner on their way home from Idaho. They'd been visiting our sister Amy for the 3-day weekend. So I made these teriyaki meatballs for dinner, which were really tasty, and then I'd been really wanting to try this dessert out from my new cookbook, and it did not disappoint! The crust was super flaky and delicious and the fresh tartness of the apples was so tasty. It's hard to go wrong with her recipes, because she gives very detailed specific instructions. Try it out! (Oh, and I forgot to take a picture of the whole thing after it came out of the oven and before we devoured it, so you just get one piece).

(picture above is before it's cooked)
French Apple Tart
For the pastry*:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 T. sugar
12 T. (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 T. (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small-diced
1/2 c. apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 T. Calvados, rum, or water (I used water)
For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowls of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10-12 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.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10x14 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 baller. 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 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 Calvados (or water) 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.

Right before I put it in the oven (not as beautiful as hers, but close):
*She also says if you need to do it faster, you can use frozen puff pastry (defrosted), but you'll want to eat in an hour or two after it comes out of the oven. I made the crust and it was AWESOME!

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