Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Tarte aux Pommes

I'm not even going to pretend that I'm sorry for yet another puff pastry post. I reckon I might have been sorry if my apple tart hadn't turned out well, but, well, look at it. That is one seriously handsome and toothsome apple tart, I tell you what.

The great thing about making a fruit tart with puff pastry is that you cut one piece of dough, and you're done. All you have to do is lay out the fruit so that there is about a 3/4" band of uncovered dough around the perimeter, and when you bake it in a hot oven, the outer rim will rise higher than the rest of the tart and hold all the juices to give them a chance to thicken on the tart rather than on the baking sheet or on the bottom of the oven. In fact, had I had the sense to take my puff pastry out of the freezer and put it in the refrigerator in the morning, I could have made the entire tart, including baking, in forty minutes. I won't say how long it actually took, but I will say that if you don't turn the heat on in your house on a cold, rainy late October day, and the temperature in your kitchen is 58 degrees (sadly, I am not exaggerating, though given my history, I could scarcely blame you for thinking that I am; I did turn the heat on once I realized that it was only 58 degrees in there), and you put the frozen dough on your pastry marble, it will not achieve rollability with rapidity. Oops.

Tarte aux Pommes

A pound or so of puff pastry
2 golden delicious apples
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/3 c. sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
egg wash

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Cut the apples in half, remove the cores and tough bits at the tops and bottoms, peel, and slice crosswise, thinly. Toss them in a nonreactive bowl with the lemon juice.

Roll the puff pastry to a thickness of about 1/8 inch. Cut a 12" circle of the dough, and transfer the circle to your baking sheet.

Arrange the apple slices on top of the dough. Start in the center, and work outwards in concentric circles. The slices should overlap somewhat. The outside of the outer ring of apples should be between 3/4 inch and one inch from the outside of the circle.

Combine the sugar and cinnamon, and sprinkle it evenly over the apples.

Brush the uncovered part of the dough with the egg wash.

Bake the tart for twenty-five minutes, or until it's done.

When you take the tart out of the oven, it will probably still look wet, but the juices will thicken as it cools, and by the time it's cool enough to cut (i.e., still pretty warm), it will be entirely solid, though pleasantly moist and tender.

The "about a pound" of puff pastry in this recipe was one of the three pieces of dough that I cut my puff pastry in when I made it this past weekend.

Fitting the apples to the dough is not rocket science, but you do have to think about it to make sure they'll fit right. I made my first and third circle of slices radially (if that's the right word), and my second circle so that the slices ran parallel to the outside of the circle, or at a 90 degree angle to the other two circles of slices. That way, it fit nicely.

The dough circle can be whatever size you want. I cut mine to the largest radius that would fit on my baking sheet. I cut the dough by inverting a fairly large metal bowl on the rolled out dough and then cutting around it with a pizza wheel. Whatever works for you. I had both dough and apple slices left over. I'm sure you can think of something to do with either. I ate the few extra apple slices, and I put the dough scraps back in the refrigerator to use later.

If by some chance (not that it's ever happened to me you understand, you get a bubble in the dough where the top layer (or top few layers) have expanded away from the rest of the dough, you can pierce it with the tip of a paring knife when you take it out of the oven, and it will settle back down, and no harm will have been done.

I bought a jar of apricot preserves so that I could make a glaze for the tart, but when it came out of the oven, there didn't seem to be any point.

Ideally, you will let the tart cool somewhat but not entirely before you eat it. It's very good at room temperature, but depriving yourself of a slice of warm apple tart is a hill of asceticism that you don't want to climb.


Blogger Sangroncito said...

I`m a bit of a tart myself.

3:37 PM  
Anonymous leslie said...

I'm also partial to an upside down tart - halved apples on a base of caramel (make in cast-iron skillet), cover with puff pastry, bake and invert. Can't have too many apple tart recipes!

7:57 AM  
Anonymous anapestic said...

leslie, if you're talking about what I think you're talking about it's the famous French dessert that's called either Tarte Tatin or Tarte des Desmoiselles Tatin, where you'll have to excuse my French if it's improper. I'm ashamed to admit that I've never made one, but I really think that I must now. Thanks for the prodding!

8:47 AM  
Blogger Chris Lautischer said...

Please feel free to courier me that Apple Tart!!!

God it looks good... I'm gonna have to give it a go.

I got hooked on baking when I started selling Watkins products. I love the stuff especially the vanilla. If you want to take a look, check out and use associate id# 364407 if you are interested in ordering anything.

2:52 PM  
Anonymous leslie said...

It is a variant of tarte tartan - the classic version according to Julia Child is to first poach the fruit - my favorite is a sort of hybrid of two recipes in the Silver Palette Cookbook. Like you I can't just use a recipe - have to mess with it!

6:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you give us a sense of what's in an egg wash? Just whites?

Sorry for the silly question.

10:04 PM  
Anonymous anapestic said...

It's not a silly question. An egg wash is either a whole egg or an egg yolk mixed with water (a teaspoon for a yolk, two teaspoons for a whole egg, but the proportions are not sacrosanct). I just mix the two together with a fork. It is not absolutely required in the apple tart recipe, but it does help the edges brown very nicely. And if you have the foresight to apply the egg wash around the perimeter first (I didn't), it would give you a nice guideline for where to put the apples.

I used a whole egg for my egg wash, but I felt a bit guilty, because I needed very little of the wash for the tarte, and then I don't think you can really keep it for more than a day, if that. I suppose you could scramble the leftover part. Perhaps next time, I'll just use the yolk since egg whites freeze successfully.

6:13 AM  
Anonymous lindy said...

A very lovely tart.

Your scruples as to the egg wash are, perhaps, a tad excessive? I feel fully qualified to grant you a complete pardon for not using every molecule of that egg.

Not that I haven't fretted over similar Crimes Against Food myself.

2:51 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

PS Anything happening on the black cake front?

2:59 PM  
Anonymous anapestic said...

The black cake is still in the extended pre-baking maceration stage. I have a hunch that I'll end up baking it on the day after Thanksgiving, though it could happen a couple of weeks earlier. That still leaves plenty of time for it to be fabulous by mid-December.

3:26 PM  
Anonymous lindy said...

I made a mini apple tart with part of 1/3 of my first ever puff pastry. It looks just like yours, (only small)!
The rest of the 1/3 is made into egg puffs, chillin' in the fridge to be baked for supper. The other 2/3 are squirreled away for future projects.
I am feeling very clever.

11:42 AM  
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