With the arrival of autumn, it seems we are determined to leave apple trees totally cleaned out. And truth be told, I have been meaning to bake this quintessential apple tart for ages. Actually, I couldn’t say the reason why it has taking me so long; there were always any other recipes that stood in the way, like those local landmarks which tourists never miss but that we never visit ourselves because they have always been there and, at the back of our minds, we truly believe that there will be plenty of time to do so any other day.
Well, today I’m a local tourist visiting my own landmark. As a little girl I remember every now and then there was an apple tart awaiting me after school, sitting on the kitchen counter. I just loved it. And still do. But to date I had never considered the idea of setting it into motion myself. So it was about time to put an end to that unacceptable inconsistency.
In my opinion, this apple tart strikes the perfect balance of sweet and tart. To be honest, its buttery sweet pastry crust and its blissful applesauce filling, topped with a beautifully arranged apple wreath to round it all off, is just one of the dreamiest, daintiest morsels one could have in an autumn afternoon after work or school. Or whenever you feel like it, just because.
On the other hand, this time of year, pumpkins are also an indisputable hit but although I’m a great fan of this charming squash, I must confess that thus far I’m not particularly in a very pumpkin-y mood. However, I could spend hours, even weeks, baking apple recipes instead like there’s no tomorrow.
Could there be anything homier than apples (or apple tarts, for that matter)? I seriously doubt it.
See recipe here
- 2 lb (900 g) apples; Russet, Cortland, McIntosh or similar (mealy type)
- ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (60-90 ml) water
- 1 tablespoon (15 g) light brown sugar, packed
- 1-4 tablespoons (15-50 g) granulated sugar (optional)
- 390 g (18 oz) apples; Golden Delicious or similar (firmer and crispier)
- 1 egg (L), beaten, plus ½ teaspoon water (for egg wash)
- 2 tablespoons peach or apricot jam
See recipe here. This recipe calls for a partially baked crust.
- Wash, core and cut the apples into medium size chunks.
- Place the apples into a wide pan, pour ¼ cup (60 ml) of the water and brown sugar and stir. Cover the pan and put it over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon from time to time.
- In the event the water is boiling away, add some more water by driblets to prevent the apples from scorching.
- Once the apples are soft enough to be mashed with the wooden spoon, remove from the heat and pass them through a food mill or press them through a sturdy strainer to get rid the of peels and any seeds left into a large bowl.
- Taste the sauce and add some granulated sugar (to taste) if necessary, one tablespoon at a time, and stir to combine completely (this sauce is traditionally a little bit tart). If the applesauce seems too runny, return to the heat and cook it for a few more minutes until desired consistency.
- Cover with plastic wrap against the surface and keep it in the fridge. (It keeps for up to 4 days tightly covered and refrigerated.)
- Preheat oven (electric) to 400º F (200ºC) and place oven rack in the middle (or ⅓ from bottom) position.
- Fill the partially baked shell with the applesauce almost to the rim and smooth the top surface.
- Wash, peel, core and cut the apples lengthwise in 4 parts. Slice them, lengthwise too, in thin slices.
- Arrange the apple slices, slightly overlapping, on top of the applesauce with the design that suits you best.
- Brush with the egg wash using a pastry brush.
- Place tart pan on a baking sheet and bake for 45-50 minutes until apples are tender and edges are golden brown.
- Meanwhile, warm the apricot or peach jam.
- Remove tart from the oven and brush a thin layer with the still warm jam with a pastry brush (if the jam were a bit lumpy, previously pass it through a strainer).
- Let cool on a cooling rack.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.
It keeps covered at room temperature for up to 2 days (or for an additional 2-3 days in the refrigerator).
Recipe adapted from Normandy Apple Tart, Baking, From my home to yours, Dorie Greenspan