Easy Apple Tart
Apple pie. Is there really anything more American than apple pie? Just the idea/concept of fresh dough baked to perfection with sweet apples on top evokes an image of the American dream in just about everyone. My question is, why is it just limited to the pie? What about apple tarts? Once you sample this, I think you will agree with me, this should be right up there with the warm and fuzzy feelings that “apple pie” brings about.
I had bookmarked this recipe from Smitten last year, but had never gotten around to trying it…that is until a 1/2 case of Fuji apples found their way into my kitchen last week. After realizing that a mere “apple a day” just wasn’t going to to cut it to get through the sheer amount of appley deliciousness, I had to figure out an alternative method to use these little beauties up…and then I remembered seeing this recipe and remembering how simple it sounded.
And simple it really is. This is probably one of the simplest and easiest pate brisee that I’ve ever made. A lot of modern methods call for food processing your ingredients together to form the dough, but I find it impersonal and doesn’t afford you the opportunity to really feel the dough come together. Here, you can do that, and it’s not overly complicated or time consuming.
The filling itself is so easy and really let’s the apples themselves be the star. Literally, just apples, sugar, and butter. The whole tart is then glazed with a syrup rendered from the peels and cores of your apples, intensifying its flavor and lending an additional sweetness. Every bite is present with simple goodness and deliciousness…unadulterated, naturally sweet, appley awesomeness.
Serve it warm with a side of vanilla ice cream or some freshly whipped cream, and share it with your friends and family…that is, if you can bear to part with it. It’s just THAT good!
Alice Water’s Apple Tart
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water
2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced thinly
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sugar
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropey with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Overlap apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.
Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and over apples.
Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
Make glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.
Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
Brush glaze over tart, slice, and serve