After watching Stephanie Jaworski of Joy of Baking on YouTube bake a French apple tart, I noted her recipe and Christophe’s were very similar. These French apple tarts start with a buttery pâte brisée, then a layer of apple sauce, and finishing with a pretty arrangement of apples on top. I picked up some tips from Stephanie: brushing the crust and the apples with apricot glaze, and cooking down the apples will make them easier to arrange on top of the apple sauce. I decided it was worth it to revisit Christophe’s tarte aux pommes. I liked that recipe because it is not overly sweet and even with the extra steps from Joy of Baking added in, this tart is still so simple to make. It looks like you spent hours on it, but with a few simple tricks, you can make it look so professional!
Christophe’s Tarte aux Pommes
Makes 1 x 7-inch tart
For the Pâte Brisée:
200g all purpose flour (Type 55)
100g unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup cold water
2 small apples, peeled, cored, chopped (recommend: Granny Smith or Gala)
2 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla or a dash of cinnamon, optional
3 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thinly
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon sugar
Dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon apricot jelly
1/2 tablespoon rum
Preheat the oven 400˚F/ 200˚C.
Prepare the pâte brisée. Mix together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut in the butter in small pieces. Mix in cold 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. Heat the apricot jelly in a small pot until just warm. Remove from heat. Stir in rum. Set aside.
Make the apple sauce. In a small saucepan put 2 apples cut up into small pieces with the sugar, 4 tablespoons water, cinnamon or vanilla (if using), and cook, covered, for about 15 minutes on low heat (8 minutes in an oven-proof casserole in the microwave), crushing the apples as they cook to make a thick applesauce. Set aside to cool. Makes about 1/2 cup apple sauce.
Meanwhile, peel, core, and cut up the remaining 3 apples into thin slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large saucepan. Add the sugar and a dash of cinnamon, stirring to blend. Add the apples to the pan and cook until the apples are just wilted. Drain in a colander. Set apples aside to cool.
Remove the dough ball from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a lightly floured board into a 1/2 inch thick disk 8 inches in diameter. Roll up on the rolling pin. Place dough circle in the tart pan, rolling it out and pressing the dough into the bottom and sides. Repair any tears with extra dough pieces. Prick the bottom of the dough with a fork.
Line the pastry shell with parchment paper. Fill with pie weights. Blind-bake the pastry shell 10 minutes at 200˚C. Reduce heat to 175˚C. Remove the parchment and pie weights and return to the oven and bake the pastry shell 5-10 minutes or until the bottom is light golden. Remove from oven and cool slightly. Brush the bottom with apricot mixture. Reserve any leftover apricot mixture.
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. If the rim of the crust is browned, cover it with foil to prevent it from over-browning. Bake 30 minutes or until the apples are slightly browned around the edges. Remove from oven. Remove the foil collar, if using. Brush the apples with the remaining apricot mixture to glaze them.
Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream.