I'd bookmarked this recipe soon after I got Dorie Greenspan's recipe book in the mail but I took me a year before I made it the first time, for church potluck. Making this tart is much easier than it looks. The crust is a regular sweet crust for a tart; and the rest of the ingredients is mostly apple.
I was surprised to know how many apple this apple tart had. I think this tart might contain more fruits than that of some pies. The fruit content reminds me of our friend who likes to joke about his main source of fruit, which comes from pies such as key lime pie and blueberry pie. He jokes because some pies are often overloaded with sugar and lack of the fruit itself. So, I like that this tart wasn't too sweet. I could have added more sugar, but I knew the apples were sweet enough. Besides, it wouldn't be special anymore if the sweetness level was as high as that of store-brought tart, would it?
Some people said that they liked the tart. Hubby and I liked it too. This recipe is definitely a keeper.
Normandy Apple Tart from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Sweet Tart Dough 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (4 1/2 ounces) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, confectioners' sugar and salt in the work bowl of a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine. Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is cut in coarsely - you'll have pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and pea-size pieces and that's just fine. Stir the egg, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses - about 10 seconds each - until the dough, which will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds. Just before your reaches this clumpy stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change - heads up. Turn the dough out onto a work surface.
Very lightly and sparingly - make that very, very lightly and sparingly - knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
Butter a 9-inch tart pan tart and press the dough evenly along the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Don't be stingy - you want a crust with a little heft because you want to be able to both taste and feel it. Also, don't be too heavy-handed - you want to press the crust in so that the pieces cling to one another and knit together when baked, but you don't want to press so hard that the crust loses its crumbly short bread-ish texture. Freeze the crust for at least 30 minutes, preferably longer, before baking.
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a piece of aluminum foil and fit the foil tightly against the crust. Bake the crust 25 minutes, then carefully remove the foil. If the crust has puffed, press it down gently with the back of a spoon. Bake for another 3 to 5 minutes, then transfer the crust to a cooling rack; keep it in its pan. Applesauce 2 lbs (about 6 medium) apples, preferably red apples such as Empire, Cortland or McIntosh
1/4 cup water, or more
1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
1-4 tablespoons sugar (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
Peel and core the apples before cutting them up. Stir in the water and brown sugar, cover the pan and put it over medium-low heat. Don't go far from the stove, because applesauce has a way of bubbling up. Stir the apples from time to time to keep them from scorching, and if the water is boiling way quickly, add more by driblets. When the apples are soft enough to be mashed with a spoon - 15 to 20 minutes - remove the pan from the heat and pass the apples through a food mill, or press them through a sturdy strainer, into a bowl.
If the applesauce seems thin (if liquid accumulates around the edges), return the sauce to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes, until the sauce is just thick enough to sit up on a spoon. Remove the pan from the heat and return the sauce to the bowl. Taste the sauce, adding granulated sugar if you think it needs it (traditionally the applesauce for this tart was not very sweet) and vanilla, if you want it. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface, and refrigerate until no longer warm. (The applesauce can be made up to 4 days ahead and refrigerated, tightly covered.)
Topping 2 medium apples (preferably firm Golden Delicious apples)
1 large egg, beaten with 1/2 teaspoon water, for egg wash Glaze about 1/3 cup apple jelly
1 teaspoon water
Getting ready to bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Fill the tart shell almost to the top of the rim with the applesauce and put the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
To make the topping: Peel the apples, cut them in half and remove the cores. Cut each apple half lengthwise in half again and then, still working lengthwise, cut about 7 slices from each of the quarters. (The slices will be very thin.) Arrange the slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles on the applesauce, starting at the edge and laying them down so their tips are against the crust. You will probably have enough room for only 2 circles and some artfully arranged snippets of apple in the center. (If another arrangement appeals to you more, go for it.) Using a pastry brush, paint the egg wash over the sliced apples.
Bake the tart for about 50 minutes - it will look as though the applesauce and apples have risen a bit. The apples should be golden, a little burnt around the edges and soft enough to be pierced easily with the tip of a knife. If you'd like to enhance the color around the edges of the apples, run the tart under the broiler just until you get the color you're after. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack.
To make the optional glaze: If you want to glaze the tart, an easy and very professional touch, bring the jelly and the water to a boil. When the jelly is liquefied, brush a thin layer over the top of the tart with a pastry brush. Return the pan to the rack and cool the tart until it is just warm or at room temperature.
Serving: The tart can be served when it is only just warm or when it reaches room temperature, and it should be served with exactly what the Normans would choose to serve it with - creme fraiche, another of Normandy's specialties. You can sweeten the creme fraiche lightly if you'd like, or serve it straight up, cold and tangy.
Storing: Although the applesauce can be made ahead, as with all tarts, this one is best served the day it is made, preferably within a few hours of being made.