Of all the dessert I like to eat/bake, tarts are always my favorite. From the simple lemon tart to a decadent chocolate tart the varieties are endless. Tarts even though simple to make, still needs certain skill with crust. A soggy bottom is a complete no no. Combination of caramelized apples with crunchy almond is match made in heaven. The hint of cinnamon intensifies the flavor of tart by adding a sweet and spicy notes, along with reducing the tartness of apples.
Tarts have at least two things: crispy base and filling/toppings. Mastering the base is key to making a good tart. Filling and toppings can be varied to your preference and depending on which fruit is in season. Here I am using Braeburn apples but Pink Lady can be substituted. Different apples behave differently to cooking; some would turn to a complete mush, while others would stay hard.
For this tart I am using sweet dough called Pâte Sucrée. This type of dough is great for fresh fruit tarts. It’s sturdier because of less butter and won’t crumble. Also can withstand longer times without turning soggy, great when you need to make tart ahead. Using almond flour is optional but it adds a great nutty flavor. Cake flour is a key ingredient here and should not be replaced by all-purpose flour. Along with practice key ingredient is time and allowing the dough to rest. I recommend starting two days ahead so the dough is properly chilled and rested. Serve warm tart with a vanilla bean ice cream and you are sure to forget winter blues.
Recipe from The Art of French Pastry
Makes: 9 inch tart
Pâte sucrée/ Sweet dough/ Tart shell
- 85 grams/ 6 tablespoons butter (if possible french style 82% fat), room temperature
- 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
- 65 grams/ 1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar
- 20 grams/ 3.5 tablespoons almond flour (If not handy replace it with 2 tablespoons cake flour)
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 30 grams/ 2 tablespoons lightly whisked egg
- 160 grams/ 1 1/4 cup cake flour, sifted
- 370 grams (peeled and cored weight)/ 3 counts braeburn/ pink lady apples
- 6 grams/ 1 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice freshly squeezed
- 27 grams/ 2 tablespoons butter
- 40 grams/ 1/4 cup turbinado sugar (also called sugar in raw)
- 8 grams/ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 56 grams/ 1/4 cup egg whites
- 56 grams/ 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 56 grams/ 1/2 cup sugar
- 56 grams/ 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- Pinch cinnamon
- In a large mixing bowl put soft butter and salt. Mix with rubber spatula for 30 seconds. Add confectioner’s sugar and mix. Scrape all sides and add almond flour, if using and vanilla.
- Gradually add egg and one-third cake flour. Mix slowly, add remaining flour. Mix only till it combines, DO NOT OVER MIX. Scrape the dough into a plastic wrap, pat it to form 5 inch round. Cover and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or up to 3 days. Can be frozen for a month. Thaw in refrigerator.
- Roll the dough about 1/4 inch thick on a parchment dusted with flour. Start by tapping the dough with rolling-pin. If you feel the dough with turning to soft put the whole thing in refrigerator for 10 minutes and continue. It should be about 1 1/2 inch bigger than your pan/ ring. Line a tart pan/ring with it by sliding it carefully and making sure the corners are pressed properly, otherwise tart will shrink back while baking. Using a fork dork the bottom surface. Refrigerate the tart pan uncovered for at least 2 hours, preferably overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 325° F. Line the tart pan and blind bake with parchment paper by putting pie weights/ beans/ rice in it for 15 minutes. Remove the parchment with filling and using aluminum foil create a shield for edges. Bake another 15 minutes, until nice golden brown in color. Remove from oven and cool completely.
- Cut the apples into ½ inch cubes, tossing them with lemon juice.Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over high heat, add butter and wait till it turns light brown. Add apple cubes, turbinado sugar and vanilla. Sauté till golden brown. Let it brown on one side before flipping them. Apples should be soft on outside and firm inside. Should take 5 to 7 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F. Fill the tart pan with apples.
- Whisk egg white with a fork to loosen it. Add almonds, sugar and cinnamon. Spread this mix over tart filled with apples evenly. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from oven and cool on rack.