Caramelized Apple Tart – Tarte fine aux pommes

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Do you know your apples?  I lived in the East Coast for 10 years, back there and then, the only apples that pop up at the super market were: Granny smith, Red delicious, Golden delicious, and Macintosh.  I didn’t like any of those varieties. It is not until I moved to Seattle my eyes finally opened.  Washington state is one of the biggest producers and exporters of apples in the United States.  When I found Washington apples (with their red stickers) at a grocery shop in Taipei couple of years ago, I was so very proud.

Now onto the tart.  Recipe courtesy of Clotilde from Chocolate and Zucchini:

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons high-quality unsalted butter, melted
  • 40 grams (3 tablespoons) blond unrefined cane sugar
  • 1 quick and easy puff pastry (you can substitute a sheet of store-bought, all-butter puff pastry, about 250 grams or 9 ounces, thawed if frozen, but it will be a lot better with the homemade pastry)
  • 3 small apples, about 450 grams (1 pound), peeled, cored, and thinly sliced into circles
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F).
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and brush the parchment paper with half the melted butter to form a 25-cm (10-inch) disk shape. Sprinkle that zone with half the sugar.
  3. Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured work surface until you can cut out a 25-cm (10-inch) circle using an upturned cake pan or plate as a template. (Stack up the scraps of puff pastry and keep well-wrapped in the fridge to make palmiers)
  4. Transfer the pastry circle cautiously to the prepared sheet, placing it exactly on top of the buttered and sugared area.
  5. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping pattern on top of the pastry, starting from the outside and leaving a 1.5-cm (1/2-inch) margin. Brush the margin and the apples with the remaining butter, and sprinkle with a touch of salt.

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6.   Insert into the oven and bake for 30 minutes, until the apple slices feel soft when pierced with the tip of a knife.

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7.   Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and place under the broiler for 2 minutes, watching closely, until the sugar is caramelized.

8.   Let cool and serve, slightly warm or at room temperature.

I have tried this recipe with both the store bought and homemade puff pastry dough.  Clotilde is right, homemade pastry comes out so much better, the texture is flakier and the sides rise up evenly.  All you need to do is to take it out of the refrigerator and start working as soon as the dough is not too hard to shape.  If the dough is in the freezer, defrost in the refrigerator for at least two hours.

Clotilde advices to slice the apple into circles.  I am a minimalist when it comes to kitchen equipment, I don’t own an apple corer nor a mandolin slicer, so I just sliced the apples into crescent shapes, and tried to match the ones with the same length and thickness.  It is easier to assemble with thinner slices.

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So there you have it: Tarte fine aux pommes.  Flakey, buttery, and because it is thin, you won’t feel guilty to chow it down.  In fact, I’ve been nibbling on small slices one at a time, and before long half of the tart is gone.  So good!!!!!!

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