This is a recipe for tarte aux pommes, the classic French apple tart with a base of apple sauce. Christophe made it for us one night at dinner; it was so delicious I asked him for the recipe. I translated it from the French–with a little help from a French-English dictionary. I tweaked it somewhat, adding lime juice because I like a tart apple sauce. I left out the vanilla/cinnamon in the apple sauce, too. The result is lightly sweet with the tart fresh taste of apple on a buttery crust.
Christophe’s Apple Tart
Prep time: 50 minutes (includes refrigerator time)
Baking time: 30 minutes
Makes 2 x 7-inch tarts
For the Pâte Brisée:
200g all purpose flour (Type 55)
100g unsalted butter, room temperature
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
5 medium green apples, peeled and cored
2 tablespoons sugar
juice of 1 small lime, optional
4 tablespoons water
Vanilla or cinnamon, optional
Prepare the pâte brisée. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter in small pieces. Mix in up to a 1/2 cup water, a tablespoon at a time, or just enough to make a ball, and let rest about 30 minutes in refrigerator wrapped in plastic to firm up the dough.
Baker’s Note: If you’re in a hurry, put the wrapped dough ball in the freezer for 10 minutes.
Make the apple sauce. In a small saucepan put 2 apples cut up into small pieces with the sugar, lime juice (if using), a tablespoon of water, cinnamon or 1 teaspoon vanilla (if using), and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes on low heat (8 minutes in an oven-proof casserole in the microwave), then mix the sauce. Add more water if it seems dry. Set aside to cool. Makes about 1 cup apple sauce.
Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut up the remaining apples into thin slices. Set aside.
Preheat the oven 200˚C.
Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a lightly floured board into a disk. Press dough in the tart pan. Prick the dough with a fork.
Baker’s Note: Lightly flour the board and the rolling pin. First pat the ball into a disk and turn it over to flour the other side. Roll out evenly, turning the dough over now and then to make it a circle about 2 inches wider than your tart pan. The easiest way to get the dough into the pan is to roll up the dough circle onto the pin and then roll it out on top of the tart pan. Don’t worry if it breaks apart. Just use the extra dough to patch it.
Spread the cooled apple sauce over the base of the tart. Arrange the apple slices in slightly overlapping concentric circles on top of the apple sauce. Sprinkle the top with sugar to taste. (I used demerara sugar. ) Bake 30 minutes or until the apples are cooked through and slightly browned. Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.