Although this French Apple Tart looks fancy and work-intensive, a second read made me realize that almost everything can be done ahead of time. I could easily call it Beautiful & Easy Apple Tart. There are four components to this tart, of which three of them can and even should be prepared ahead of time. Pastry dough, almond cream, apple sauce and apple topping.
In this slice, we can see all four components of the tart: the pastry dough, almond cream, apple sauce, and apple topping. Looks fancy, but it’s super easy and everything can be done ahead of time.
The pastry is a typical sweet pastry dough, just like you see in every tart. The almond cream is a mixture of butter, sugar, almond flour and eggs that’s creamed and spread over the tart shell (there is no blind baking). The apple sauce is a very simple mixture of apples and lemon juice cooked, cooled and then spread on top of the almond cream. All of these components can be prepared ahead of time, and the tart can even be assembled up to this point a few days ahead.
Then comes the cherry on top, or of course, the apples on top. Although they give this tart a very elegant look, putting them together couldn’t be easier. Basically, you slice red royal gala apples very thinly using a mandolin and arrange them nicely in a rose pattern. The closer the slices are packed together, the nicer the tart will look.
Another interesting aspect about this tart is that it calls for two different kinds of apples. The granny smith used in the sauce gives a tangy and sharp taste; the royal gala makes for a sweet and gorgeous presentation. Together, they scream APPLE better than any other apple tart I’ve eaten in years.
This recipe is quite generous. Each component yields a little more than you’ll need for a 10-inch tart. Better this way. I ended preparing a 10-inch tart plus an individual size tart.
For those of us who can visualize the upcoming Rosh A Shana Celebration, dinner can be written in those images! This French Apple Tart is bound to be the cynosure of all eyes!
French Apple Tart
(Inspired by Chef Cedric Grolet)
Makes one 10-inch Tart
(serving 8 to 10 people)
Sweet Pastry Dough:
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter
¾ cup (95g) confectioner’s sugar
1/3 cup (30g) almond flour
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg (lightly beaten with a fork)
2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour (more for dusting and rolling)
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (150g) unsalted butter at room temperature
¾ cup (150g) sugar
1 ½ cup (150g) almond flour
3 large eggs
4 Granny Smith apples
¼ cup lemon juice
4 Royal Gala apples
7 tablespoons (100g) butter
For the Sweet Pastry:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the butter, confection sugar, almond flour, salt and vanilla. When creamed, add the egg, and beat until the mixture is combined. Then, working at low speed, gradually add the flour, stopping just when it is thoroughly incorporated. Shape the dough into a ball, flatten into a disk, cover in plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator to chill. This can be done up to 5 days ahead of time. Be sure to bring the dough to room temperature a good 20-30 minutes before using to make it more malleable.
For the Almond Cream:
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar, and almond flour together. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition. Transfer to a bowl, cover with plastic and chill. This can be done up to 5 days ahead of time. Be sure to bring the almond cream to room temperature before using so that it spreads better.
For the Apple Sauce:
Peel and core the Granny Smith apples and cut them into small cubes (not to small or they will cook and disappear). Combine the apple cubes and lemon juice in a saucepan and cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time with a wooden spoon. When the apples have softened considerably—there should still be pieces of apple visible— remove from the heat. Allow to cool completely. Transfer to a covered container and chill in the refrigerator. This can be done up to 5 days ahead of time.
Look how there are still plenty of apple pieces in the apple sauce
Assemble, Bake, and Make the Apple Topping
Working on a floured surface, roll the dough about 1/16-thick, lifting the dough often and dusting more flour as necessary, making constant turns on the dough. Roll the dough up and around the rolling pin and unmold onto the tart mold, fitting the bottom and sides, and patching as needed. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Heat the oven to 350˚F.
Spread the almond cream over the unbaked tart, filling it half-way to the top of the rim.
Place the tart in the oven and bake until the almond cream is lightly browned, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow the tart to cool.
The almond cream and sweet pastry dough will bake at the same time; you don’t need to blind bake it.
Using an offset spatula, spread the apple sauce over the baked almond cream very thinly. You will not need all of the apple sauce, and that’s ok.
Apple tart is almost fully assembled.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Continue cooking until it just turns lightly brown (this is called beurre noisette, or hazelnut butter).
Apple Topping: Core the Royal Gala apples with an apple corer. Using a mandolin with safety guard, slice them thinly. Cut each slice in half, and starting at the rim, arrange the slices in a rose pattern, pressing the outward slices lightly against the crust. Be patient to make this design and try to pack as many slices as you can. The fuller the tart, the better it looks. Brush the browned butter over the apples and return the tart to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and serve warm.
Thin slices of red royal gala apples
Take your time to arrange and design the slices over the tart.
After about 10 minutes, the apples on top are not mushy. That’s all the time the apple slices need to bake ever so slightly but still keep their shape.
Hope you will enjoy this French Apple Tart after reading this post!
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