CELEBRATE THE APPLE SEASON WITH A RUSTIC FRENCH APPLE TART

It’s not always easy to find the right apple for cooking.     For pie you need an apple that will hold it’s shape, such as Cortland, Red Spry, Golden Delicious and Empire.  You can use all of one kind, but in this recipe I have combined both firm apples and apples you would use for making applesauce (Braeburn, Crispin, Fuji, McIntosh).

When I made desserts for our French restaurant they were elaborate; bete noire with creme anglais and raspberry sauce,  Grand Marnier souffle, creme brulee and so on,  extravagant, rich creations to indulge the senses.

Now I prefer a simpler style of baking.  This recipe is the quintessential  country French apple tart.    This is a wonderful  version that is great for beginners because you don’t have to worry about rolling the pastry into any particular shape.

The pastry for this pie is so delicately flaky it whispers as you cut into it.  I’ve just  dusted the pie with icing sugar, but if you want to gild the lily a few drifts of softly whipped vanilla flavoured  cream would be lovely.

 

To prepare filling, in a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 16-inch (40 cm) circle (or whatever shape you end up with!).      If you’re not sure of your pastry rolling ability roll the pastry out between lightly floured  wax paper.  If it seems to stall and not increase in size, it is time to peel back the wax paper, dust it with flour, and reverse the pasty.  Again roll out between wax paper and you will accomplish an approximately 16 inch circle.  Peel the wax paper off the top of your pastry and invert it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.

Spread apples in a 9-inch circle in middle of pastry.  Bring pastry up over apples, leaving hole in centre.

Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar.  Bake in a preheated 425°  F (220° C) oven for 20  minutes.  Reduce heat to 375° F(190°C) and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden and apples are very tender.

Let the pie cool  then dust with icing sugar.

Makes 8 servings.  Enjoy.

A RUSTIC FRENCH APPLE TART
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This recipe is the quintessential country French apple tart. This is a wonderful version that is great for beginners because you don't have to worry about rolling the pastry into any particular shape.
Ingredients
  • pastry:
  • 2 cups (500 ml) all-purpose flour
  • a pinch of kosher salt
  • a pinch of granulated sugar
  • one cup (250 ml) butter or margarine, cold cut in bits(I used butter)
  • ⅓ cup (75 ml) ice water, approx.
  • Filling:
  • Six apples (about 2 - 2½ pounds to 1.25 kg.), cored and thickly sliced
  • ½ cup (125 ml) brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (50 ml) all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp ( 5 ml) ground cinnamon
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten and 2 tbsp. (25 ml) coarse sugar
  • Icing sugar to finish.
Instructions
  1. If you don't have a food processor prepare the pastry, in a large bowl, combine flour, salt and granulated sugar.
  2. Tuck this into the freezer to chill the flour.
  3. Add butter and rub into flour using your fingertips or a pastry blender. Work quickly. Butter should be in tiny pieces but still visible. (If the pieces of butter are too large your dough will collapse.)
  4. Sprinkle with ice water and gather into a rough ball. If it seems quite crumbly add a little more water.
  5. Pat the dough into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  6. Don't try and rush this by putting your dough in the freezer.
  7. If you are using your food processor:
  8. In your food processor bowl combine flour, salt and granulated sugar.
  9. Add butter using the pulse switch. Pulse a few times and check to see if the butter is incorporating into the flour. You want to be able to see the tiny pieces of butter.
  10. Add the water and process just until it is incorporated.
  11. Do no try to process into a ball. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  12. To prepare filling, in a large bowl, combine apples, brown sugar, flour and cinnamon.
  13. On a lightly floured work surface, roll dough into a 16-inch (40 cm) circle (or whatever shape you end up with!). If you're not sure of your pastry rolling ability roll the pastry out between lightly floured wax paper. If it seems to stall and not increase in size, it is time to peel back the wax paper, dust it with flour, and reverse the pasty. Again roll out between wax paper and you will accomplish an approximately 16 inch circle. Peel the wax paper off the top of your pastry and invert it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  14. Spread apples in a 9-inch circle in middle of pastry. Bring pastry up over apples, leaving hole in centre.
  15. Brush pastry with beaten egg and sprinkle with coarse sugar. Bake in a preheated 425° F (220° C) oven for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° F(190°C) and continue to bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until crust is golden and apples are very tender.
  16. Let the pie cool then dust with icing sugar.

 

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