Leslie of Lethally Delicious decided on Tarte Fine for us to bake this week. If you don't know Leslie, drop on over, she belongs to a few baking groups and always has something great to eat. I'd really like to be one of her co-workers since she is so generous in sharing her goodies with them.
This tart is simplicity at its best. A crispy puff pastry crust is topped with fresh apples and a sprinkling of sugar and baked until the apples are soft and beginning to caramelize. We timed it just right and this was done right as we finished dinner, and it was a tasty way to get ready for fall and all the apple baking to come. I did enjoy making my own puff pastry just for fun, but you could throw this together in no time with the frozen packages, and have a delicious dessert with little effort.
TWD: Apple Tart
Dorie Greenspan Baking: from my home to yours
Dorie's Note: Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets are available in every supermarket across the country. However, I can't encourage you enough to search out an all-butter puff pastry at a local specialty store. If the store doesn't carry frozen all-butter puff pastry, perhaps it will order it for you. The pastry I buy--which is so good I stopped making puff pastry at home--is made by Dufour pastry.
3 medium-size firm sweet apples, preferably Golden Delicious
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
1 sheet (about 8 ounces) frozen puff pastry, preferably all butter (see above), thawed
2 teaspoons milk or heavy cream
1 large egg, beaten with about 1/2 teaspoon water, for egg wash
3-4 teaspoons sugar
1/3 cup apricot jam, for glazing
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Peel the apples, slice them in half lengthwise and core them. Cut the apples halves in half again and cut about 7 lengthwise slices from each quarter. Put the slices into a bowl and toss them with the lemon juice.
On a sheet of parchment paper or a silicone baking mat, roll the sheet of puff pastry out into a rectangle that is about 9 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches. If the dough is warm, cover it with a piece of plastic wrap and refrigerate it for about 20 minutes. If it's still cool, just lift the paper or mat and place it on a baking sheet. Arrange the apple slices in slightly overlapping rows on the pastry, making sure to leave a border of 1/4 to 1/2 inch bare. Brush the borders lightly with the milk or cream, then brush the egg wash over the apple slices. Sprinkle the apples and the borders with the sugar.
Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the pastry is puffed and golden around the edges and the apples are soft and brown at the borders. Remove from the oven. If you want the edges of the apples to be even darker, you can run the tart under the broiler; be very careful not to overbake the pastry border. (To avoid burning the edges, you can cover the perimeter of the tart with aluminum foil.)
Boil the jam with a smidgen of water until it liquifies, then brush the glaze over the apples (if the jam has any chunks of apricot in it, avoid them).
Serve the tart hot or warm.
If you'd like a sweeter tart, before you arrange the apple layer, scatter 2 tablespoons butter, cut into bits, over the pastry rectangle and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons sugar. Omit the egg wash, and once the apples are in place, brush them with 3-4 tablespoons melted butter and sprinkle with about 3 tablespoons sugar. Bake and glaze the tart as directed.