Adapted from Joy of Cooking and Cooking with Julia.
Pâte Sucrée ̣(The sweet, crumble french tart dough):
1½ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
⅛ tsp salt
½ cup unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla
Apple filling and topping
6 large sized Granny Smith apple (3.5 -4 lbs.)
1/4 to 3/4 cup sugar, divided
1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
2 Tbs unsalted butter, divided
1/2 to 1 tsp grated lemon zest (optional)
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Glaze¼ cup apricot preserves
1 Tbs Cognac, Rum, or apple flavor Brandy (optional)
A hand held mixer or standing mixer, food processor
Whipped cream or ice cream to serve (optional)
One 9 in-removable bottom tart pan and a rimmed tray large than tart pan
1. The tart dough: Combine sugar and butter in an electric mixer bowl. Cream together at medium high speed with paddle attached until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla, and salt. Then add egg, scraping the side once or twice if needed until incorporated . Stir in the flour at low speed until just combined. Put the dough into a large plastic bag (13-in or large each side if you want to roll the dough inside it) and form it in a round ball. Refrigerate the dough for at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. This dough is freeze well up to 2 months but need a aluminum foil outside that plastic wrap. Defrost it in the refrigerator overnight. If you want to use food processor, check here
3. Turn on the oven at 400 oF with a rack at center position. Put tart pan over the rimmed tray, cover the tart shell with foil or parchment paper . Then put pie weight or bean inside the pan, press evenly against dough at bottom and side. Make sure the rim is covered lightly with foil or parchment paper. Baking until the rim light brown about 20 minutes. Take the weight and liner out, cover the rim again and put it back in oven and bake until the bottom light brown about 15-10 minutes. Take it out and cool completely on cooling rack.
4. Peel 3-4 apples, core and cut into small chunks. Toss them with 4 Tbs sugar, 1 Tbs butter and 1/4 tsp cinnamon lemon and lemon zest if use in a medium sauce pan. Cook it on medium heat until apple soft about 10-15 minutes. Continue to stir and mash apples with the spatula until all liquid evaporated. Taste and add more sugar, lemon juice, or cinnamon as your liking. I used 2 Tbs sugar for 1 large sour apple. Do not worry if apple is not finely mashed. Let it cool completely.
5. When tart shell and apple compote are cool completely. Preheat oven to 350 oF. Peel, core and cut remaining apples into halves. Then thinly slice apples into 1/16-1/8 in. thick either along or again the stem. Toss apple slices with 1 Tbs melted butter, 2 Tbs sugar, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Spread an even layer of apple compote to the bottom baking tart. Arrange apple slices on the top in the shape you like. Fold foil into thin trips and cover around the rim.
Bake until the apple slices are brown at the edge about 25 minutes. Check the rim to make sure it is golden brown, remove the rim cover near the end of baking time if needed. Test the apple if it is not soft enough, cover with foil and bake 15-20 minutes more. Remove from oven. Let it cool down.
6. Bring apricot preserves to a boil on a stove or microwave. Remove from heat,strain (for smoother glaze) or not and add liquor flavor if use. Brush tart to give it a nice shine.
7. Serve it warm or at room temperature by itself or with a scoop of ice cream. Scissors and a separate knife are helpful to cut the apple slices and shell neatly.
- The texture and amount of apple compote and apple slices can be adjusted by cut less or more apples, small or large chunk, mash or no mash them at all. You can slice all apples into thin slices or thick slices, toss with sugar and spice and spread them directly onto baking tart and bake above without apple compote layer. The thick apple slices may be needed to bake in oven ( on a rimmed tray) or cook in a saucepan until soft and cool down completely before put into the shell to shorten baking time. Remember to adjust the sugar, butter and cinnamon amount to keep the taste the same.
- The unbaked pie shell can be filled and baked at 400 oF preheat oven until the crust is nicely brown and the fruit is tender about 30-40 minutes.
- There are different way to make the tart. The below tart dough was made in food processor with an extra egg yolk and press into the tart pan immediately. Let it rested in the freezer. Then preheat oven to 425 oF. Blink bake the shell with bean/pie weight about 20 minutes; remove the bean/pie weight and bake until the shell looks dry and has some color (light brown) at the rim about 10-15 minutes. Remove the shell from oven and lower the temp. to 375 oF. Fill the hot baked shell as above and bake until the apple soft and tender as your liking about 30-40 minutes. If the shell or apple edges brown too quickly, cover with foil.