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As much as I love spring peas, and summer tomatoes, nothing really compares with the warm, rich flavors, and aromas, of fall. When it comes to the kitchen, fall is most definitely my favorite time of year, as the chilly autumn months herald the arrival of peak apple season!

It’s the season to cozy up by the fire with mugs of steaming hot fresh apple cider, or warm slices of fresh, sweet apple pie, or in this case, apple tart! The more crisp, fresh, and sweet the fruit, the better, and apples are never better than they are at this time of year, especially when picked straight from the tree.  Don’t worry though, you don’t need your own apple tree to make this delicious dessert. Most farmer’s markets are brimming with a wide variety of sweet, and flavorful apples at this time of year.

This tart recipe is very similar to the pluot tart we posted recently. It’s not very challenging to make, elegant enough in appearance to serve to even the pickiest of guests, and most importantly, this tart is simply delicious!

Apple Tart

Course: Dessert
Yield: 8 Servings

Equipment

  • Food Processor with cutting blade
  • 9-1/2 x 1″ round tart pan with removable bottom
  • Pastry Brush

Materials

The Pâte Brisée

  • 1 1/2 Cups Unbleached All Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Granulated Sugar
  • 10 Tbsp Cold Unsalted Butter (Cut into 1/2 inch cubes)

The Frangipane

  • 3/4 Cup Whole Almonds
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/2 Tsp Pure Almond Extract
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (Melted)

The Fruit

  • 4-5 Firm Red-skinned Apples (Cortland, Gala, Winesap, etc.)
  • 1 Whole Lemon Juiced
  • 2 Tbsp Unsalted Butter (Melted)
  • 2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar

The Glaze

  • Reserved Peels from the Apples
  • 1/2 Vanilla Bean
  • 1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup Water

Instructions

Pâte Brisée (Pastry)

  • Put the flour, salt, sugar, and cubed butter into the food processor fitted with the metal cutting blade. Process for five 1-second pulses to evenly distribute the butter through the flour.
  • Add the ice-cold water, and pulse for an additional 10-12 seconds, just until the dough begins to come to together. Turn the dough out into a medium bowl, shape into a ball, and wrap tightly with plastic wrap.
  • Refrigerate the dough for at least 20 minutes before rolling.
  • On a floured board, roll out the dough into a 12-13 inch circle, and transfer to the tart pan. Press the dough gently into the bottom and sides of the pan, without stretching the dough, and lightly dock the surface.
  • To trim the pastry, lay the dough over the tart pan edges, and quickly trim the excess with one swipe of your rolling pin.
  • Place the pastry-lined tart pan on a small baking sheet, and set in the refrigerator to chill the dough for at least 15 minutes, while you prepare the fruit and frangipane.

Prepare the Frangipane

  • Place the whole almonds, and sugar, into the food processor, and grind to a fine powder. Add the eggs, almond and vanilla extracts, and melted butter, and blend until smooth. Spoon the frangipane into the prepared shell, and smooth with a spoon or spatula.
  • Set the tart shell, with the frangipane, in the refrigerator for 15-20 minutes while you prepare the fruit.

Prepare the Fruit

  • Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon into a large bowl filled with cold water, and stir briefly. Set aside.
  • Rinse and dry the apples. For perfect, even slices, I prefer to use a traditional apple peeler-corer-slicer. (The apples can be peeled, cored, and sliced thinly by hand).
  • As each apple is sliced, place it in the lemon water to prevent browning, and reserve the apple skins for the glaze (instructions below).

Assemble The Tart

  • Remove the tart shell from the refrigerator. If you used the apple peeler, and the apples are still ‘whole’, take an apple from the lemon water, dab it dry with a kitchen, or paper, towel, and slice in half from the stem to the blossom end. Discard one or two slices from the ends of each half as they’re usually too small for arranging on the tart.
  • With the tart shell in front of you, arrange the apple slices on the surface of the frangipane, starting along the outside edge of the tart at the 9 O’clock position, and working clockwise. Be sure the cored side of each slice is facing away from you. Fan the slices, slightly overlapping the previous slice, so the cored section of the slice underneath is no longer visible.
  • For the center of the tart, either arrange smaller slices in concentric circles, or simply take one sliced half of an apple to fill the center.
  • Brush the surface of the tart with the remaining 2 Tbsp of melted butter, and sprinkle with 2 Tbsp of sugar. If your fruit is very sweet you can decrease the sugar to 1 tablespoon.

Bake The Tart

  • Position the tart on small baking sheet, and bake in the center of a 400 F oven for 50-60 minutes, or until the pastry has browned. Rotate once during baking to ensure even cooking.

Prepare The Vanilla-Infused Glaze

  • While the tart is baking, in a small saucepan add the reserved apple skins, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of water. Split the vanilla bean in half lengthwise, and scrape the seeds in to the pan, and add the pod.
  • Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to stand for 10-15 minutes. Pour into a medium bowl through a mesh sieve, pressing the skins with the back of a spoon, and then return the syrup to the pan. 
  • Boil the remaining syrup over medium-high heat until the syrup is reduced to approximately 1/4 cup.
  • When the tart has finished baking, set aside on a rack to cool for 5 minutes, then brush the surface of the tart with the vanilla-infused syrup.
  • Serve the tart either slightly warm, or at room temperature, with a little homemade vanilla ice cream, or lightly sweetened cream. It’s unlikely there will be any leftovers to worry about, but if there are, refrigerate them for up to 2 days. Enjoy!