As the apple picking pics from friends up north begin to flood my news feed, I always start to feel a twinge of homesickness for fall in New York. Last year at this time, we made a quick trip up to satisfy that craving, and we took the kids apple picking upstate. The weather was glorious and the changing foliage was picture perfect.
The apples, of course, were ripe and juicy and we ended the weekend with an apple pie bake-athon. I love traditional apple pie, but I wanted to make a variation on the traditional with this gorgeous apple tart. As with most of my recipes, this looks fancy but is actually quite easy. Unveiling this apple tart makes an impressive end to any meal.
A rich flaky crust and a sweet, nutty frangipane cream, topped off with golden apple slices make this apple tart recipe one to hold on to. It’s become a holiday favorite of mine, for sure.
My standard go to crust is Martha’s pâte brisée, but for this tart I went with a slightly richer crust that includes an egg yolk. This makes it hold together a little better, but you still get that delicious, flaky, buttery texture.
For the pie crust
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. sugar
pinch of salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
1 egg yolk
3 Tbsp. ice water
You can use a food processor to make this dough or you can do it by hand with a pastry blender (which is what I prefer). First combine the flour, sugar, and salt.
Add the butter chunks, and mix/process until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Next, add the ice water and mix/pulse until the dough holds together without it being wet or sticky. To test it, you can squeeze a small amount together. If it is crumbly, you can add more ice water, 1 Tbsp. at a time.
Shape the dough into a ball, then flatten it into a disc and wrap in it plastic wrap. Chill for at least 30 minutes and start to make the filling.
For the pie
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp. brandy
2/3 cup ground almonds
2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
3- 4 medium apples (peeled and thinly sliced)
1 tsp. sugar for sprinkling on top
1/4 cup apricot preserves
To make the frangipane (almond cream), cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the egg and the remaining egg yolk one at a time. Stir in the brandy. Stir 2 tablespoons of flour into the ground almonds, then mix that into the batter and set this aside.
Preheat your oven to 400 and put a cookie sheet in there while it heats up.
Take your disc of dough out of the fridge, and on a floured surface, roll it out to about a 12″ circle. Press the dough into a greased and floured 10″ pie plate. Make small holes with a fork and make your edges as fancy or as rustic as you want.
If your dough got too soft while you were working, return it to the fridge to chill and firm up for 15 minutes or so.
Once the dough is chilled again, spoon the almond cream mixture into the crust, and spread it in an even layer. Next, starting from the edge of the crust and working toward the center, start laying the apple slices down in an overlapping, spiral pattern. Press the edge of each apple slice down into the cream so it almost touches the bottom of the crust and then lay the next apple slice next to it.
Place the pie plate on top of the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes. Then, reduce the oven temperature to 350 and bake for another 10 minutes. Take the pie out and sprinkle some sugar over the top of the apples. Put the pie back into the oven for 10 more minutes until you see the sugar start to lightly brown.
Remove from the oven and let the tart cool. Once cool, add a touch of water to the apricot jam and brush on top of the tart.
Voila! Include this apple tart in your arsenal and you will have some very happy guests!