I embarked on this apple tart with a guarded level of both confidence and trepidation. Confidence, because I generally know my way around the kitchen, none of the techniques presented in this recipe were foreign (except getting my apples to do that cool spiral-thingy) and I had instructions for that.
My trepidation came from the fact that I was working with pastry — and I suck at pastry. Maybe it’s genetic. Some “Dorie Greenspan gene” that ended up in the compost pile of my DNA instead of being tucked assuredly into the correct sequence allowing me to roll and crimp like a pro.
Regardless – I was born with the “git-‘er-done” gene, and after a few deep breaths I decided to save my sanity and use a ready-made pie crust. Trust me, it’s just better that way. I laid the crust in the pan and pressed it into the sides and bottom with my fingertips. Then I took my rolling pin and rolled it over the edges of the tart pan, to trim off the excess. Easy.
The frangipane filling was a snap and it came together in seconds in the food processor. The apples took a little more time, but weren’t difficult. After peeling and slicing them, they were lightly saut?ed until tender and pliable. I let them cool before arranging them in the crust.
It was easy to do, just by overlapping the apple slices and continuing in concentric circles. I used two different types of apples and you can see the inner petals are lighter than the outer ones as a result. I brushed the tart with melted butter, sprinkled on the sugar and almonds and baked it. The wonders of tart pans mean that the tarts come right out of the pan with no effort — and it looks like it came from a French Patisserie.
- 1 9 inch pie crust
- 4 ounces almond paste
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
- 5 apples, such as granny smith, honey crisp or golden delicious (or a combination of them)
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Fit the pie dough into a tart pan with a removable bottom. Press the dough into the bottom and sides and trim any excess. Set aside.
- Add the almond paste and sugar to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until you have the consistency of sand. Add the flour and room temperature butter and process to a thick paste. Add the eggs, almond extract and applesauce and pulse until smooth. Spread filling in crust and chill while you prepare the apples.
- Working with one apple at a time, peel the apple, cut it into quarters, lengthwise and use a paring knife to remove the core and seeds. Then slice the apple into 1/2" slices. Transfer the sliced apple to a large bowl, squeeze the lemon juice over the apples and toss to coat. Continue with the remaining apple slices, tossing to coat with the lemon juice after each addition to prevent browning.
- In a large skillet melt 2 tablespoons of the butter. Add the apples and 1 tablespoon of the sugar and saute until the apples just begin to soften and become pliable. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.
- Meanwhile melt the remaining tablespoon of butter and set aside.
- When apples are cool enough to handle, arrange them in concentric circles, starting with the rim of the tart, working toward the center. As you get closer to the center, use thinner slices of apple to curl into tighter rosettes.
- Very lightly brush the apples with the remaining melted butter, sprinkle with the remaining tablespoon of sugar and scatter the sliced almonds over the tart.
- Carefully place the tart pan onto a baking sheet (remember the bottom is removable, so use both hands) Bake for 45-50 minutes until apples and crust are browned. Remove from oven and cool at least 30 minutes. Tart can be prepared up to 8 hours ahead. Serve at room temperature.