French Apple Tart

A couple months ago, I was watching the Food Network on a quiet afternoon, when the Barefoot Contessa came on. Personally, I prefer Chopped and don’t watch many of the dedicated cooking shows, but on this peculiar day, Ina Garten was preparing a French Apple Tart that looked too easy and too tasty not to try.

So I headed to the store to pick up pastry flour, butter and brown sugar.

Here is the original recipe:

Ingredients
For the pastry:2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (1.5 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:

4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar (I used Brown Sugar)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water (I used Rum)

Directions

For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.

Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Uncooked French Apple Tart
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Cooked French Apple Tart
I’ve made this recipe twice and received more than my fair share of compliments for it. I even brought it into my medical anthropology class to share with my peers and professor. It’s incredibly easy and great for potlucks or any sharing event, because you choose how big the slices are.
On a different note, for now I’ve started posting recipes again, but am thinking of reformatting my posts or blog altogether. While I like posting recipes and cooking experiences, I want to do more, I’m just not sure what or how yet, so keep on the lookout. I’ll post here if I decide to go in a radical new direction.
Lastly, check out a fairly new cd released by my friend Simon Balto. I’m ashamed to say that I’m listening to it for the first time right now, because I’m seeing him live tonight. However, I’m blown away by the heartfelt lyrics and skillful instrumentals that permeate the entire album.
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