Alsatian Apple Tart (Makes one 9-inch tart)
- 3-4 big tart apples (1 ½ pounds), such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and halved from top to bottom
- 1 prepared (unbaked) 9-inch Flaky Tart Crust (see below)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3-cup sugar
- ½ cup light cream
- ½ cup milk
- 1-teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Apricot Glaze, melted (adding 2 Tbsp of warm water to apricot jam)
- Position your oven racks so that one is in the center. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Using either a knife or a mandoline, slice the apples thin (1/8 inch) lengthwise.
- Arrange the apple slices in your tart shell, starting from the top tart edge and working all the way around the perimeter of the pan. Repeat, laying the apples in rows of overlapping concentric circles, until the tart shell is full. Use small pieces of apples to fill in any gaps.
- Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a small bowl until they are pale yellow.
Whisk in the cream, milk, and vanilla. Pour this custard over the apple slices.
- The custard comes very near to the top of the pan, so you must be careful when you move it to the oven. You can also set the tart pan with the apples on the oven rack with the door open and the rack slid out halfway, and then pour the custard in the tart shell; this way you don’t have to move the custard filled tart pan. Bake the tart on the center rack for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the apples are golden brown and the custard is set. It will feel warm to the touch and won’t jiggle in the middle when you shake the pan.
- Remove the tart from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly.
- To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a large can, making sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart and place the tart on your work surface. Then slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board.
- Use a pastry brush or a scrunched-up paper towel to coat the apples with the apricot glaze. Serve warm, or at room temperature.
Flaky Tart Crust (makes enough for two 9-inch tarts)
- 2-½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) cold, unsalted butter, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 5 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening
- small glass of ice water
- 1 9-inch tart pan (with fluted edges and removable bottom)
- Dump the flour, sugar, and salt into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a metal blade, and pulse a couple of times to make sure the salt is distributed evenly throughout the flour.
- Add the butter and shortening all at once, and pulse 5 to 10 times, until the mixture forms little balls, like moist crumbs, and no chunks of butter or shortening remain. Pulsing is essential to avoid flour and fats becoming a paste.
- Remove blade from food processor, and dump crumbs into a large bowl. Sprinkle a tablespoon of ice water over the surface, and repeat with three more tablespoons of ice water.
- Using your hands, or a wooden spoon to bring the dough together. Add more water if you have to, 1 Tablespoon at a time. Dough should be past crumbly and just barely coming together. You don’t want it to be so wet that it sticks together or turns sticky-white in color.
- Cut the dough in half, press each of the halves into a disk, and wrap the disks in plastic wrap. Refrigerate the dough for at least 30 minutes before rolling it out.
- Roll out one disk of dough to 3/8 inch thick. Fit the dough into your tart pan.
- For a prepared crust, refrigerate the dough that has been fitted into a tart pan until you’re ready to use it.
Recipe by Chef Jerome Audureau from his book Once Upon A Tart (Knopf)