French Apple Tart
For best flavour and texture, blind-bake the crust thoroughly until deep golden brown. Miraculously, this requires no weights or beans as is usually the case. I like to use Ida Red, Royal Gala or Cortland apples for a dessert like this. This is more detailed than recipes I usually create but I feel the little details are helpful in this case. Inspired by a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.
1⅓ cups all-purpose flour
5 tbsp granulated sugar
½ tsp salt
10 tbsp butter, melted
10 apples, peeled, cored
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp water
½ cup apricot preserves
¼ teaspoon salt
Adjust 1 oven rack to lowest position and second rack 5 to 6 inches from broiler. Preheat oven to 350F.
For crust, whisk flour, sugar, and salt together in bowl. Add melted butter; stir until dough forms. Using your hands, press two-thirds of dough evenly into bottom of 9-inch/23 cm tart pan with removable bottom. Press remaining dough into fluted sides of pan. Place pan on wire rack set in baking sheet. Bake on lowest rack until crust is deep golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through baking.
For filling, cut 5 apples lengthwise into quarters; cut each quarter lengthwise into 4 slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and water; toss to combine. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to large plate; cool. Do not clean skillet.
Heat apricot preserves in microwave or small saucepan until soft. Strain through fine-mesh strainer into small bowl, reserving solids and 3 tablespoons strained preserves for brushing tart.
Cut remaining 5 apples into ½-inch-thick wedges. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add apple wedges, strained apricot preserves, apricot solids and salt. Cover; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are soft, about 10 minutes. Mash until pureed using potato masher. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes. Transfer to baked tart shell.
Select 5 thinnest slices of sautéed apple; set aside. Starting at outer edge of tart, arrange remaining slices, tightly overlapping, in concentric circles. Arrange reserved slices to fit in centre. Bake tart, still on wire rack in sheet, on lowest rack, 30 minutes. Remove from oven; heat broiler.
Brush reserved strained apricot preserves evenly over apples, avoiding tart crust. Broil tart, turning as necessary, until apples are attractively caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Cool. Remove from pan; transfer to serving platter. Serve with vanilla ice cream, whipped cream or thick yogurt.
Makes 8 servings.