Updated: Jul 5, 2021
I like to image this is something Julia Child would approve of. I love to bake and I always try create confections that are equally beautiful as they are tasty. Sometimes, however, I like to take shortcuts where I can. So the term "rustic" is a savior in that way.
Sweet but slightly tart apples, carefully arrange and enveloped in a flaky and buttery base, dabbed with additional butter and sprinkled with sugar. My approach is similar to to a galette which is a flat pastry round, then folded over to create an edge. It's free form and my shortcut that involves no real fuss or par baking. This recipe is easy, great for a group and will pull together in no time, leaving you ample time to enjoy your time, outside of the kitchen.
"You don't have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces - just good food from fresh ingredients." ~Julia Child
Rustic French Apple Tart
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (plus more) 1 tsp kosher or sea salt 1 tsp granulated sugar ½ cup (1 stick) cold butter, cubed 4 – 6 tbsp ice water – Added slowly 1 tbsp of butter to grease a 9” pie plate
4 Pink Lady, Granny Smith or Honey Crisp apples ½ cup granulated sugar 6 tbsp butter, cubed 1 egg white with a splash of water ½ cup apricot preserves 2 tbsp water
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
To make the crust, in a large bowl add the flour, salt and sugar and stir to combine. Using cold butter, cube into smaller workable pieces and toss directly into the flour mixture. With your hands and fingers, work butter into flour, breaking apart until you have what looks like wet sand. Using your fingers, pinch the butter as you go. You will want most of the butter incorporated with some small “disks” of butter remaining. Once this is achieved, add the ice water (not the ice) slowly. Start with 4 tbsp and see where you are at with texture. You want the dough to just start to stick together without sticking to your hands. Additional water may be needed. Once the dough comes together, turn out onto a floured surface and kneed a couple times until it is a smooth dough round. On a floured surface, roll out dough into a large round shape, approximately ¼” thick. Carefully place pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover loosely with a kitchen towel and set aside to rest.
While the dough is resting, prepare your apples by peeling, coring and slicing apples into 1/8” thick slices. Try to keep the arrangement of your apples together to make it easier to fan the arrangement in the tart. Once apple sliced are done, begin arranging directly in the center of your pastry circle, starting in the middle and working your war outward. Leave a 1 ½-2 inch boarder around the edges. While arranging, try to maintain some overlapping to the apples and simply fan them out. Once apples are arranged, crimp outer edge of pastry inward, folding it over to create an outer crust.
Sprinkle tops of apples evenly with sugar and dollop with cubed butter. Brush egg white that has been thinned with a splash of water around the outer edge of crust.
Place sheet pan in the center of the oven and bake for about 50 minutes to 1 hour or until apples and crust are golden brown and sugar has caramelized. Do not worry if your apples and sugars release juices outside of the tart while baking.
While tart is baking prepare your glaze by warming in a small sauce pan the apricot preserves and water. Heat until bubbly. Once done, carefully remove from heat and strain through a sieve or fine strainer. Set aside until tart is baked.
After tart is baked, carefully remove from oven. While tart is hot, use a pastry brush to spread the prepared glaze across the apples evenly. Let rest for at least ten to fifteen minutes before serving. Tart can be enjoyed warm or chilled.
~serves 6 to 8 people
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