Saturday, June 9, 2012

French Country Apple Tart

Oooh! Aaah!

Who doesn't love a good summer tart? With the sweet dough crusts, delicious fillings, and ever-beautiful presentations, they are always a crowd favorite.  

We happened to have a few apples laying around that were a little past their prime, so I decided to bake up a little tart to bring to my friend Emily's house. While this tart looks so impressive, it really doesn't take long! It's a gorgeous, no-fuss tart. The taste is out of this world, and the tight pattern of apples will leave guests (or even just family) wowing. I've brought it on many a picnic and it's always eaten up within minutes. 

This recipe is in two parts because there is one hour of refrigeration required in between making the dough and making the tart. Don't leave this refrigeration out! If you do, the dough will be too soft and it will bake differently. 

French Country Apple Tart

Adapted from the "From A French Country Kitchen" cookbook

Sweet Tart Dough

1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into small pieces, chilled (the recipe calls for unsalted, but I always use salted butter)

1. Mix the sugar and flour together in a bowl. Form a depression in the center and add the egg and butter. 

2. "Fork" the egg and butter into the dry ingredients by rapidly pressing and sliding the fork along the bowl. It will take a few minutes. You'll get your arm workout in, as well. You can add cold water (a tiny bit) if the dough is too dry, but this has never been a problem for me. 

Just think of the triceps you'll have!

3. Form a ball with your hands and chill in wax paper, parchment paper, or plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Apple Tart

1 recipe sweet tart dough
1 1/4 pounds tart apples
1/2 tsp cinnamon
8 tbsp (1 stick) butter (again, I used salted)
4 tbsp granulated sugar
1 whole egg

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. 

2. Press dough into a tart pan (mine is 9x9) or roll out onto a cookie sheet or baking stone. If rolling out onto a pan without sides, be sure to bake "barriers" of dough, like a pizza crust, so the juices don't overflow.

Squish, squish, squish!

3. Using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the tart dough to prevent puffing of the dough. Bake for ten minutes.

Fork, fork, fork!

4. Reduce oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

5. Peel apples. Slice apples very thin, making sure to exclude any seeds or the icky hard pieces in the core. 

I peeled two apples keeping the peels each in one piece. Applause, please. 

6. Arrange apple slices in decorative, tight circular patterns. 

The middle kind of looks like a bird. This was unintentional. But seriously, isn't this gorgeous?

7. Melt butter over low heat, making sure not to brown it. Remove from heat and add the sugar, stirring until it dissolves. Let it cool down a little bit, and add the egg, beating until it's pretty smooth. 

Mmmm... sugar-butter-egg goop!

8. Sprinkle cinnamon on the apple tart and pour the sugar-butter-egg mixture over all the apples. Try to cover all the apples. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until the fruit is tender. (or you can be like me and forget to turn the oven on and sit for 30 minutes wondering why the fruit isn't tender). 

That was painless, wasn't it?! And look at this beautiful result! Everyone together- "Oooh! Aaah!"

Excuse me while I eat my weight in tarts. 


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