Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Normandy Apple Tart

Hubs and I recently returned from a trip up to Pennsylvania. We went to a family reunion for my father's side of the family. One of my father's cousins owns several apple orchards in both Pennsylvania and in Vermont. Her apples from the orchard in Vermont were ready while we were visiting. So of course we had to bring home a big bag of the Pink Paula (great name haha) apples.   

What better to do with some of my apple stash than to make an apple pie/tart of some sort. I turned to my go-to baking cookbook, Baking, From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, for some ideas. This is one of my favorite baking cookbooks. It you don't own a copy, Get. One. Now! No really, it's a cookbook every baker needs on hand. I love Dorie's Rustic Apple Tart recipe that I made here but wanted to try something different this time. This Normandy Apple Tart is a recipe I've always wanted to make but I almost never have enough apples on hand to make it. Well with a twenty pound bag of apples, that was not an issue this time! I really liked this tart. It's simple flavors really let the apples be the star.The slightly tart apples combined with the buttery crust is absolutely heavenly!!

Don't let the making apple sauce step of this tart keep you from making it. It's really quite easy. You could even use a pre-made store bought apple sauce, if you wanted but I encourage you to take the time to make your own sauce. It's well worth the little extra effort it requires!!

Normandy Apple Tart

adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours

makes one 9-inch tart

Skill level: intermediate 

Pâte Sablée (sweet dough crust)

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

9 tablespoon butter, very cold, cut into small pieces

1 egg yolk

For the Applesauce:

2 pounds about 6 medium baking apples, such as Empire, Cortland, McIntosh (I used Pink Paula Apple)

1/4 cup water

1 tablespoon light brown sugar

1-4 tablespoons sugar to taste

For the Topping:

2 medium-sized apples

1 egg for egg wash

For the applesauce: Peel and core the apples, and cut into quarters. Alternately, if you have a food mill there's no need to peel and core the apples, just cut them into quarters. Place apples into a 3 quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan.

Add in the water and brown sugar, and stir to combine.

Cover the saucepan and cook the apples over the medium-low heat, stirring occasionally to make sure none of the apples scorch.

If the water seems to be boiling away too quickly, you can add in a little more. Over about 20-30 minutes, the apples should start reducing and softening in the bubbling water. Don’t leave the pan unattended for too long or the water could boil over or the apples burn.

When the apples are soft enough to be mashed with a spoon, remove the pan from heat. Scrape the apples into a food mill or use a a regular mesh sieve and a wooden spoon to press the apples through into a bowl.  The applesauce should be thick. If it seems runny place the apples sauce back into the pot and cook for a few more minutes until the sauce thickens.

Taste and add sugar to taste – traditionally this applesauce is not meant to be very sweet, but you can add more sugar to suit your tastes. I only added about a tablespoon more to mine.

Pour the applesauce into a container, press a piece of plastic wrap to the surface, and refrigerate until it is no longer warm before using. You can keep the applesauce in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

For the tart shell: Put the flour, confectioner’s sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse a few times to combine. Add the pieces of cold butter and pulse until the butter is cut into pea-sized pieces. Add the egg yolk and combine in several pulses until the dough starts to turn from dry to clumpy. Do not let the dough form one giant ball or it will be be overworked – just keep checking after every pulse and when the dough pieces looks like they will stick when you press them together. Mine took about 10 long pulses.

Butter a 9-in tart tin with removable bottom. Turn the dough out into the tin and press into the bottom and up the sides with your fingers. Do not press the dough too hard or your crust will be tough. Save a small piece of the dough to use as a patch

Freeze the tart shell for at least 30 minutes, longer if possible. When you are ready to bake it, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

To partially bake the tart shell, take a piece of foil and butter the shiny side, then press the buttered side tightly to the shell. Since the dough is frozen,you do not need pie weights. Place the tart shell on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes, until the shell is lightly colored. If any places have cracked, repair with the piece of dough you saved when making the crust. Let cool on a rack until room temperature.

For the tart: When you are ready to finish the tart, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Fill the tart shell with the applesauce almost to the top of the crust and smooth the top. Place the tart on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silpat.

Peel and core the two apples. Cut each apple in half and then again lengthwise. Cut each apple quarter into 6 or 7 slices per quarter, they will be quite thin.

Arrange the apple slices over the top of the applesauce in concentric circles. The apple slices tend to shrink a bit while baking so be sure the edges overlap the tart crust and each other just a little.

Make a egg wash by beating the egg with a teaspoon of water. Brush the egg wash over the apple slices.

Bake the tart in the oven for about 40 to 50 minutes. The applesauce will puff up a little bit and the apples slices will turn a golden brown with the edges of the apples getting slightly darker. When the apple slices are soft enough to be pierced by the tip of knife, the tart is done.

Remove the tart and let cool on a wire rack before removing the tart from the tart ring.

1 comment:

grace said...

these are always so impressive! and tasty, obviously. :)