Saturday, May 16, 2009
FRENCH APPLE TART
She's done it again! She who? The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. She's created the most incredible--and incredibly easy--French apple tart you can imagine. If you want to bake something that looks like it took you all day--but didn't--and looks like something you'd buy in a fancy French bakery, this is it. Another winning recipe from her Back to Basics cookbook, this recipe gives you the option of making your own crust or using frozen puff pastry, the latter being my choice. I brought this to a Mother's Day brunch and was very pleased with the results.
Serves 6 - 8
1 pkg. Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry sheets (you use 1 of the 2 sheets)
5 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tbs cold, unsalted butter, small-diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly (or warm, sieved apricot jam)
2 tbs Calvados, rum, or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a silicone mat (I used the latter).
Roll a sheet of the puff pastry slightly larger than 10 X 14 inches. Using a ruler and small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
THIS METHOD FOR PREPARING THE APPLES IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN USING A CORER AND SLICER!!!
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stem and core using 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 until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I didn't use the ends to make the arrangement look prettier, as Ina recommended.) Sprinkle with the entire 1/2 cup of 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. The apple juices will burn in the pan, but the tart will be fine. (I used a baster a few times to redistribute the juices.)
When the tart is done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick. Serve warm or room temperature, but serve within 2 hours. It WILL get soggy, so don't leave any leftovers.