And so we have arrived at the epitome of my baking prowess. I always said that I would never attempt pastry, but that fell flat in my face when I successfully made the Spiral Curry Puff pastry.
Not wanting to let a technical recipe pass me by, I have begun challenging myself more and more in the confines of my kitchen. Having had quite a few stern conversations with my oven, we now get along fine.
In this post, I would like to share with you the second dish we brought to the French National Day (Bastille Day) celebration we attended in July. I was most proud of this dish because I managed to make sweet crust pastry! Yay! Now that I’ve done it, I can safely say that I will now continue to buy store bought frozen sheets of the pastry. It’s just simpler.
However, if you are like me and would like to challenge yourself just once to prove that you can do it, the recipe below is pretty simple 🙂
For the Sweet Crust Pastry
- In the mixer, beat the butter until softened. Slowly add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy.
- Add the egg to the mix and continue beating (be careful to not overwork this). Add the flour and salt and mix together until it forms a ball. Remove from mixing bowl.
- Flatten the dough into a disc shape and cover with cling wrap. Refrigerate for an hour or until firm.
- Prepare a round tart pan with a removable bottom.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll out the prepared pastry disc into a circle (around 3mm thick). To ensure that you have an even thickness, remember to roll from the centre of the pasty outwards.
- Once the pastry reaches the desired size, lightly roll the pastry onto the rolling pin and unroll onto the tart pan. Refrain from pulling the pastry as it will shrink when you bake it.
- Using some of the excess pastry, gently push the pastry into the pan. Prick the bottom of pastry with a fork to prevent it from puffing during the baking process.
- Cover and let rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes before baking.
- Preheat the oven to 205 degrees Celsius (185 degrees Celsius if fan forced). Line the pastry with baking paper and fill with pie weights. I used rice (you can use beans as well).
- Bake the crust for 20-25 minutes until the crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove from oven and remove the weights. Let cool on a wire rack.
For the Apple Filling
- For the bottom layer of the tart: Peel, core and slice three of the apples. In a large pan (or skillet) melt 13 grams of the butter and stir in 25 grams of sugar, lemon zest and half the cinnamon. Add the apples and saute over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Once the apples are soft, gently mash the apples with a fork and stir until nearly all the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.
- For the top layer of the tart: Peel, core and cut the balance of the apples into equal thin slices (1/2 cm thick). Melt 13 grams of butter in a large pan (or skillet) over medium heat and stir in the remaining sugar and cinnamon. Add the apples and saute until soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
For the Apricot Glaze
- In a small saucepan, heat the syrup until boiling. Remove from heat and add the alcohol (or water).
- Fill the pre-baked tart shell with the bottom apple mixture (bottom layer). Once done, arrange the apple slices (top layer) in a circular pattern.
- Brush the top of the tart with melted butter and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes at 175 degrees Celsius (155 degrees Celsius fan forced).
- Remove from oven and dust with powdered sugar. Using some aluminium foil, cover the edges of the tart and broil it under a preheated broiler until the edges of the apple slices turn a beautiful golden brown.
- Once the tart has cooled, glaze the apple slices and tart shell with the apricot glaze.
Adapted from Joy of Baking (http://www.joyofbaking.com/FrenchAppleTart.html)
For this recipe, the only thing I modified was the use of the apricot glaze. Not having any apricot preserves handy, I utilised the syrup from canned apricots instead as apricots are usually preserved in a mixture of pear and apple juice.
What say you? Would you like a slice of this?
It was quite a simple recipe to follow, but it did take time. So as usual, my advice to you is to prepare and be organised. Have all your ingredients weighed and lined up in their sections before starting so as to not become frantic in the baking process.
Most of all, enjoy and have fun!