I know it’s not fall, but I saw a photo of an apple tart a few days ago and have been craving it ever since. I just had to have one.
If you’re looking for an easy, no-fail dessert, this is for you. It’s perfect for a special after dinner dessert, or for company, or as a gift for the next host or hostess that invites you into their home. It’s straightforward, pretty, travels well, and can be served cold, room temperature, or hot. And did I mention it’s yummy?
If you haven’t made your own pie crust yet, this is the recipe to jump in with. It’s a basic pate brisee, which is a standard flaky crust made with flour and fat. I like to use a mixture of half shortening and half Earth Balance margarine, but you can use all Earth Balance if you prefer.
I used granny smith apples because I like a tart tarte, but if you’re looking for something a little more mild, give golden delicious a try. Any apple that keeps its shape during baking will work, and you can even mix and match varieties to your liking.
A tarte pan isn’t required. Feel free to use a regular pie tin. Or, make a rustic galette-style tarte by simply piling up the apples in the middle and folding the edge of the dough over the top. I was about to do it this way myself, but I couldn’t withstand that pretty, polished, fluted tin. What can I say? I’m easily distracted by shiny things.
Tarte aux Pommes
Makes one nine inch tart
4-5 Granny Smith Apples (or sweeter Golden Delicious)
1 Lemon, juiced
2-3 Tbs Sugar
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 Pinch Nutmeg (optional)
1 Pinch Allspice (optional)
2-3 Tbs Melted Earth Balance
Your favorite jelly/jam, for glazing
1 1/4 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Sugar
1/4 Cup Non-Hydrogenated Veg. Shortening
1/4 Cup Earth Balance Margarine
2-4 Tbs Ice Water
Add the flour, salt, sugar, and fats together in the work bowl of a food processor.*
Pulse until the mixture looks like wet sand, with pea-sized lumps here and there.
Slowly drizzle in water while running the machine until the dough forms a ball. If in doubt, add less water as opposed to more.
Turn out the dough onto the counter and press to form a disc. Cover in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour.
Slice the apples in half and core them. I use a 1 tsp measure to core my apples, it works just like a melon baller would.
Don’t forget to brush the insides with lemon juice, too.
Roll out your pate brisee on a sheet of parchment or wax paper. The dough should be 1/8″ thick and should be larger than your tart tin on all sides.
Invert the dough (using the parchment as support) over the center of the tart pan. If you’re making a pan-less galette, skip this step and move on to arranging the apples.
Gently work the dough into the pan and start arranging your apple slices in rings, starting at the outside and working in towards the center. It won’t really matter what it looks like once it’s baked, so don’t freak out about aesthetics. Just make sure to jam a bunch of apples in there, since they’ll cook down as it bakes.
The color is off, because at this point a huge thunderstorm had rolled in and messed up my lighting. The humidity and heat even wreaked the dough a little, but it still turned out just fine! If your dough gets too warm it may break apart (like mine did), but just mend it and soldier on. You won’t notice after it’s baked.
Once the apples are all in there, coat the top with the sugar and spices. Fold over the edges of the dough towards the center (they won’t cover the top completely–I don’t have a picture of this step because by this time the storm was so bad I couldn’t photograph anything at all).
Brush the entire tarte with melted Earth Balance and sprinkle with more sugar. Pour any leftover earth balance over the apples.
Bake at 400º F for 45-55 minutes, or until the tarte is golden brown and the apples have color on them. Glaze with warmed jam. Let cool most of the way before slicing.
*A food processor isn’t required, it just makes your job a lot easier. If mixing by hand, be sure to work the fat all they way into the dough before adding the water.