RECIPE: French Apple Tart

Now that the weather has turned cooler and baking season is in full swing (and my kitchen remodel nearly complete!), I’ve been cooking up a storm.  With apples bins still overflowing at the grocery store, a French-inspired apple tart was the perfect treat to add to the mix.

Several years ago I acted in a community theatre play, and one of my castmates was a very French man named Remy with a very French mother who loved to bake for us.  Not a rehearsal went by without homemade goodies (I’m sure we collectively gained 1,000 pounds over the course of the production), and the star was always an apple tart.

After a few trips to Paris since then, I’ve been inspired to make my own French apple tart.  With friends in town over the holiday weekend, it was good excuse to finally try my hand at it, and the result was amazing, served warm out of the oven alongside coffee.  Elegant and sophisticated yet simple and rustic, this French apple tart is a great addition to any holiday celebration or wintertime get-together.

French Apple Tart
Makes approximately 8-12 servings

For the pastry:
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 tablespoon of sugar
12 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup of ice cold water

For the topping:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup of sugar
4 tablespoons of cold unsalted butter, diced small
1/2 cup of apricot jam or preserves
2 tablespoons of water

  1. For the pastry, place the flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor and pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse again until the butter is in small pea-sized bits.
  2. With the motor running, pour the cold water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.  Transfer dough to a floured surface and quickly knead into a ball.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  4. Roll the dough to fit the sheet pan, about 10 by 14 inches, trimming the edges if necessary.  Place the dough on the pan and refrigerate while you prepare the topping.
  5. Peel the apples and cut in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and slice crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices.
  6. 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 the tart with the full 1/2 cup of sugar followed by the diced butter.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is golden brown and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up, cut a slit with a knife to let the air out. You might also notice the juices burning in the bottom of the pan, which is ok.
  8. Remove tart from oven.  Heat the apricot jam and water in a small saucepan and brush the mixture on top of the apples and pastry.  Loosen the tart from the parchment paper with a metal spatula and allow to cool slightly before slicing.  Serve warm or at room temperature

Recipe with instructional video from The Food Network

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