When you go apple picking and come home with a plethora abundance of the lovely fruit, it’s pretty much sacrilege to not make at least one pie with your stash. Last year I made a wonderful, deep-dish, double-crust apple pie. Basically the classic version. It was comforting, earthy and so delicious. I even made it again for Thanksgiving.
But this year I wanted something different in the realm of apple pies, and this tart seemed ideal. It was. Beautiful to look at and beautiful to eat. And while this might not have been what the French had in mind, once it’s cooled to room temperature, you can totally pick it up with your hands and eat it like an open-faced hand pie!
This tart is more difficult and fussy to make than your standard American apple pie. It just is. I know it’s all vogue these days to say that French food really isn’t fussy (really!), but I’m not always convinced that’s entirely accurate. This was a little fussy. You do need a ruler to measure the pie dough as you’re rolling it out. And I will HIGHLY recommend completely and thoroughly wrapping your baking sheet in foil first. I didn’t; I just lined it with parchment paper, baked the tart, and then had a hell of a time getting the crusted burnt sugar off the baking sheet later.
Also, I could have easily halved the amount of glaze called for, so that’s how I’ll write it; of course you can increase that amount if you wish. And I think that’s it! Enjoy this one guys, it really is a showstopper apple dessert everyone will love.
Source: adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten
2 cups all-purpose flour
½ tsp kosher salt
1 tbs sugar
12 tbs cold unsalted butter, cut into chunks or pats
½ cup ice water
2 large apples, such as Granny Smith (you want apples that will stay sturdy when baked)
½ cup sugar
4 tbs cold unsalted butter, small-diced
¼ cup apple jelly
1 tbs brandy
First, make the pastry crust. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk lightly to combine. Add the butter and use your pastry blender to cut in the butter until it’s the size of small peas. Add the ice water and stir together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon until the dough has mostly come together. Use your hands to knead in the last little bit of crumbs. Form the dough into a rectangular (as much as possible) shape and wrap tightly with plastic wrap. Chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Tightly wrap a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Then line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
Flour your rolling pin. On a floured surface, unwrap the dough and roll it out to slightly larger than 10×14 inches. With a sharp knife and a ruler, trim the edges to make a 10×14” rectangle. Place the dough on the prepared baking sheet. Keep the baking sheet away from the preheating oven while you prep the apples. Stick in the refrigerator if necessary.
Peel the apples. Use a melon baller and sharp paring knife to remove the core. Thinly slice the apples across in ¼” thick slices.
Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle the apples with the full ½ cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during baking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out.
When the tart is done, remove from the oven. Heat the apple jelly together with the brandy. Brush the apples and pastry edges completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula and carefully slide it to a wooden cutting board. Let it cool a bit, then serve warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature.