An Amazing Apple Tart Recipe

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Note: I originally published this apple tart recipe on Oct. 29, 2009, but I just made it again recently and it’s so terrific I’m bringing it back. So here you go …

Apple Tart

Apple Tart

Adapted from David Tanis’ “A Platter of Figs” David Tanis writes that he got this recipe from his friend Ernestine, who was raised in rural Idaho. She called the dough “Mormon pie dough,” and used it for fruit pies and for a memorable sauerkraut and pork sausage pie. The original recipe began “First stir up an egg…,” and it calls for using all lard. For desserts, David (and I) prefer butter. For a savory pie, he uses lard. (It would depend for me what’s in the filling.) His original recipe calls for mixing the butter in by hand. I prefer to use the food processor.Makes 8 to 10 servings.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
  • 2 sticks (1/2 pound) cold butter, in thin slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, beaten, plus enough ice water to make 1/2 cup
  • 6 to 8 medium crisp apples, about 3 pounds
  • 1 cup sugar for the glaze, plus extra for sprinkling on the apples
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Slice the butter into very thin slivers. Put it back in the refrigerator.
  2. Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a processor. Pulse once to mix. Add the butter and pulse 5 or 6 times to bring the dough slightly together, until it looks mealy and there are large flecks of butter still remaining. Pour the egg-water mixture into the bowl and pulse a few more times.
  3. Dump the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be crumbly but wet. Quickly — as if the dough is too hot — knead it a few times to bring it together. It will be soft and sticky.
  4. Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and pat into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.
  5. Divide the pastry in half (there will be enough for two tarts, you can freeze one for later). Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, an inch or two wider and longer than your baking sheet. (Mine was 13 by 9 1/2).
  6. By rolling the first quarter of the dough onto a rolling pin, carefully lift the dough from the surface and transfer it to the baking sheet. Let it relax, then trim the edges to fit the pan with a little going up slightly on the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  7. Peel the apples and cut into quarters. (It’s OK if they turn brown.)
  8. Remove the cores and use to make a glaze as follows: Combine the 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water with the cores. Stir at first to dissolve the sugar, then simmer to a thick syrup. Strain and reserve. (Or use honey or a good apricot jam, heated and thinned for a glaze.)
  9. Slice the apples as thin as possible and try to keep the quarters together as it makes filling the tart easier. Arrange the apple slices in 4 or 5 rows, overlapping them like cards in solitare. Try to keep them standing pretty upright. At this point the tart can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. (Then the apples will really darken. That’s OK too.)
  10. Preheat the oven to 375. Sprinkle the sugar generously over the apples (I used about 1/4 cup) and bake until they are beautifully browned and the pastry is crisp, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack.
  11. Just before serving, reheat the glaze. Slide the tart from the pan (I used a really big spatula) onto a cutting board. Paint the apples with the warmed glaze. Slice into small rectangles to serve.
http://food.lohudblogs.com/2010/09/15/an-amazing-apple-tart-recipe/

It’s fall and my husband keeps buying apples. This easy recipe for a beautiful tart — from David Tanis’ “A Platter of Figs” — was a great way to use them.

I love the recipe for two reasons. One, it looks so fancy but it’s actually really easy to make. And also because the pastry is easy to remember with a ratio: 2-2 and 1/2. Two cups of flour, two sticks of butter and a half a cup of egg-water. Just crack the egg into a measuring cup, stir, and fill the rest with water. David Tanis says the pastry is good for just about anything: savory or sweet. And I believe him.

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So first you slice two stick of butter real real thin. Slivers if you can do it. Then stick them back in the fridge while you prepare the rest of your ingredients.

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Two cups of flour.

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Pulse until you see pea-sized flecks. (David tells you to cut the butter in by hand. I don’t feel like doing that.)

Add the egg water:

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Dump the dough out on the counter. It won’t really be together yet.

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Gather quickly and knead to bring it together. A tip I once heard: pretend like the dough is hot enough to burn you. You don’t want to touch it much.

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The dough is stickier than most. That’s OK. Shape into a rectangle and cut in half. Freeze one if you like.

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David Tanis says to refrigerate the whole thing and then cut it in half and freeze one of them, but I was worried it would be too hard to cut at that point. (I was wrong. It’s still sort of malleable. Do whichever suits you.)

Refrigerate the dough for at least an hour. Then roll it out into a rectangle. Carefully move the dough onto a baking sheet. This is called a quarter sheet pan. It’s a baking sheet that’s 13 inches by 9 1/2 inches. This recipe will be too small for a regular sheet pan.

Let the dough come up the sides of the pan and then cut some off if you need to. ( I don’t have a photo of that.) Put the dough/sheet pan back in the fridge while you peel your apples.

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Peel and core 3 pounds of apples. About 6 medium, he says. Mine are honeycrisp. Cut the apples into quarters and slice them thin. It helps if you keep the quarters together because you want to stand the apple slices almost vertically on the dough.

To make a glaze, you’re supposed to save the cores and cook them with 1 cup water and 1 cup sugar to make a glaze. My husband, the official apple corer, forgot to save them, so we cut up a few apples that were on their way south and cooked them with the sugar water.

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We strained them to get our glaze.

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You don’t have to do this. You can just put some apricot jam or some honey in the microwave for about 15 seconds.

Sprinkle the apples with about 1/4 cup sugar:

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Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes until the crust is cooked and the apples are golden brown.

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(To get those dough strips down the middle I just used my palm to make cylinder-long strips of the extra dough I cut off from the edges of the pan. That’s not in the recipe, but it’s kinda cool, don’t you think?)

Brush with the glaze.

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Delicious.

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Apple Tart
Adapted from David Tanis’ “A Platter of Figs”
David Tanis writes that he got this recipe from his friend Ernestine, who was raised in rural Idaho. She called the dough “Mormon pie dough,” and used it for fruit pies and for a memorable sauerkraut and pork sausage pie. The original recipe began “First stir up an egg…,” and it calls for using all lard. For desserts, David (and I) prefer butter. For a savory pie, he uses lard. (It would depend for me what’s in the filling.) His original recipe calls for mixing the butter in by hand. I prefer to use the food processor.

2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for sprinkling
2 sticks (1/2 pound) cold butter, in thin slices
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten, plus enough ice water to make 1/2 cup
6 to 8 medium crisp apples, about 3 pounds
1 cup sugar for the glaze, plus extra for sprinkling on the apples
1 cup water

Slice the butter into very thin slivers. Put it back in the refrigerator.
Put the flour and salt in the bowl of a processor. Pulse once to mix. Add the butter and pulse 5 or 6 times to bring the dough slightly together, until it looks mealy and there are large flecks of butter still remaining. Pour the egg-water mixture into the bowl and pulse a few more times.

Dump the dough out onto a floured surface. It will be crumbly but wet. Quickly — as if the dough is too hot — knead it a few times to bring it together. It will be soft and sticky.

Sprinkle the dough with a little flour and pat into a rectangle about 1 inch thick. Wrap and refrigerate for at least an hour, or overnight.

Divide the pastry in half (there will be enough for two tarts, you can freeze one for later). Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, an inch or two wider and longer than your baking sheet. (Mine was 13 by 9 1/2).

By rolling the first quarter of the dough onto a rolling pin, carefully lift the dough from the surface and transfer it to the baking sheet. Let it relax, then trim the edges to fit the pan with a little going up slightly on the sides. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.

Peel the apples and cut into quarters.  (It’s OK if they turn brown.)

Remove the cores and use to make a glaze as follows: Combine the 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water with the cores. Stir at first to dissolve the sugar, then simmer to a thick syrup. Strain and reserve. (Or  use honey or a good apricot jam, heated and thinned for a glaze.)

Slice the apples as thin as possible and try to keep the quarters together as it makes filling the tart easier. Arrange the apple slices in 4 or 5 rows, overlapping them like cards in solitare. Try to keep them standing pretty upright. At this point the tart can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 8 hours. (Then the apples will really darken. That’s OK too.)

Preheat the oven to 375. Sprinkle the sugar generously over the apples (I used about 1/4 cup) and bake until they are beautifully browned and the pastry is crisp, about 45 minutes. Cool on a rack.

Just before serving, reheat the glaze. Slide the tart from the pan (I used a really big spatula) onto a cutting board. Paint the apples with the warmed glaze. Slice into small rectangles to serve.

Makes 8 to 10 servings.

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About Author

Liz Johnson is content strategist for The Journal News and lohud.com, and the founding editor of lohudfood, formerly know as Small Bites. As food editor, she won awards from the New York News Publishers Association, the Association of Food Journalists and the Associated Press. She lives in Nyack with her husband and daughter on a tiny suburban lot they call their farm — with fruit trees, an herb garden, and a yardful of lettuce, tomatoes, onions, shallots, cucumbers, zucchini, radishes, cabbage, peppers, Brussels sprouts and carrots and four big blueberry bushes.

4 Comments

  1. A very tasty and easy dessert. Adding the egg water is a key step. You shouldn’t just add it all at once, but start out with 4 tablespoons,and continue adding just until the dough holds together when you pinch it between your fingers. You should still see bits of butter in the dough. This is what makes it flaky. The water should be ice cold.
    Another idea: by the time you finish slicing all the apples, you’ll notice liquid has collected in the bottom of the pan. You can pour this off and cook it down for a thickened glaze. You can add apricot jam to it also and then strain out the chunks of apricot.
    Finally, everything needs a pinch of salt.

    Delicious! sweetpaprika.wordpress.com

  2. Joellen Finnie on

    The tart looks delicious. I have been making a semilar tart that my late mother-in-law gave me. She is German. Instead of the glaze that was used – you might try a small can of apricot nectar – heat until boiling and add 1 tsp. of cornstarch (if I did not have it on hand I omitted it. I baked it prior to coming out of the oven. It is quite delicious.

  3. Looks professional! And sounds delicious. I don’t bake much, but this could get me to make pastry dough for the first time in years!

  4. Apple lovers will also enjoy these simple recipes from the new cookbook “Cooking with the Movies” by Hartsdale authors Anthony Chiffolo and Rayner “Rusty” Hesse. The authors developed more than 200 recipes inspired by 14 different “foodie films.”

    Apple and Walnut Salad (from “Cooking with the Movies”; inspired by “Tampopo”)

    2 Tbsp. butter
    2 Tbsp. brown sugar
    ½ tsp. nutmeg
    1 cup chopped walnuts
    10 cups mixed salad greens
    1 sweet onion, chopped
    4 Red Delicious apples, cored and sliced (leave the skins)
    Blue cheese

    Preheat the oven to 450°F. Melt the butter and the brown sugar in a small saucepan; stir in the nutmeg, and pour over the walnuts. Spread the walnuts on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake for 10 minutes or loess (do not allow to burn). Remove the walnuts from the oven and set aside.

    Mix the salad greens together with the onion in a large bowl. Portion to each salad plate. Top each plate with bits of apple, sprinkle with walnuts and crumbled blue cheese. Finish by drizzling a bit of cranberry vinaigrette over the salad.

    Cranberry Vinaigrette

    ½ cup walnut oil
    1/3 cup cranberry juice
    1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    Salt and pepper to taste

    Mix all ingredients together in a jar with a lid. Shake well. Yield: 12 servings.

    Apple Sauce (from “Cooking with the Movies”; inspired by “Titanic”)

    3 apples, cored and sliced (but not peeled)
    1 tsp. cinnamon
    1 tsp. sugar
    1 tsp. cider vinegar
    1 cup water

    To make the apple sauce, place all ingredients in a blender at high speed until smooth. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 6-8 servings

    The book can be purchased directly from the publisher at http://www.abc-clio.com/products/overview.aspx?productid=111476

    Disclosure — Rob Seitz is the publicist for “Cooking with the Movies”

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