“Happiness is the settling of the soul into its most appropriate spot.” – Aristotle–
Happy New Year Amigos! May happiness be in your soul and love in your heart forever.
For those of you without a New Year resolution yet (just like me) I invite you to warm up your soul with a delicious apple tart. But, if you still insist on keeping out desserts I still insist that you make this tart- it will be hard to keep your New Year Resolutions with my influences- the fact of the matter is that most New Year’s resolutions are unsuccessful and unrealistic. Every day is a fresh day and a good one to set goals and aspirations. We all deserve to eat a little bit of a good thing and this tart is good so make it for your family or friends and in the way have a least a bite of it. It is really a sweet way to receive the new year…..we all know that one of the best way to end dinner is with A dessert. Although, I suppose coffee or tea are also fine things to have, but with apple tart to accompany them. Seriously, this apple tart won’t get you in too much trouble as it is very lite.
The good thing about baking with apple and cinnamon is that everything smells wonderful. The smells of cinnamon, apples and sugar are just irresistible; it is the perfect combination that will have everyone asking for more dessert? And yes with the cold weather upon us it is the perfect time to bake it. This tart is composed of two different kinds of apples which are arranged in two layers. I like to serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or at room temperature with cream Chantilly. Enjoy!
Adapted from the French Culinary Institute (lightly modified)
French apple tart
For the pate sucree or crust: I double the recipe for a 11” by 1 1/8 inch mold
14 oz. all –purpose flour
2 oz. granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
7 oz. very cold butter
1 whole egg plus 1 yolk mix with 2 teaspoon of ice water
More ice water if needed
For the apple compote:
5 -6 large golden delicious apples
½ lemon (to rub the apples)
2 tablespoons water
3 ½ ounces granulated sugar (FCI recipe contains 2 oz.)
2 cinnamon sticks (no added in the FCI recipe)
2 -3 lemon rings zest (no in the FCI recipe)
For the garnishing:
3 Granny Smith apples (or any firm apple that does not discompose during baking)
2 ounces of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of lite brown sugar (no in the FCI recipe)
For the pate sucree or crust:
Sift the flour, salt and sugar together. Cut the cold butter into very small pieces. In a clean cold surface cut the butter into the dry ingredients using a metal pastry scraper.
Work quickly to avoid melting the butter. When the mixture has a sandy texture with not butter visible form a well with the mixture and incorporates the liquid ingredients.
Combine the liquid ingredients with the flour-butter mixture.
Be extra careful not to overwork the dough. Add more cold water if needed or until you get the right dough consistency. Form a flattened ball or disk, cover it with plastic saran wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. The coldest the dough is the better.
The whole process can be also done in an electric mix too (just add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl together with the very cold butter. Mix until the butter and flour mix together or until you see the sandy texture with not butter visible, then add the liquid ingredients and mix only until everything is incorporated). Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface knead it for 2 minutes; form the disk and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
For the apple compote:
Peel the apples and cut in half. Remove the cores with a paring knife or melon baller. Rub the apple with the lemon to avoid oxidation. Cut the apple into cubes and place them in a pot with the water, the sugar, cinnamon sticks and lemon zest ring.
Cover the mixture with a lid made of parchment paper with a little hole in the center – cut according to the size of your pot-.keep the lid until all the liquid evaporate.
Remove the lid and continue to cook until all of the moisture has evaporated. Remove from the heat and let it cool down. Discard cinnamon sticks and the lemon ring zests.
Finishing and filling the tart:
Butter and flour an apple tart mold (with removable ring) and refrigerate until needed.
On a lightly floured work surface roll out the dough into a 13-14 inches round 1/8 thick. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it over the prepared baking mold. Press the dough against the inside of the mold and cut the top remaining dough by pressing the rolling ping over the top of the molding ring. Refrigerate until needed.
Peel and cut the apple in half. Remove the cores and rub them with lemon again to avoid oxidation. Cut the apple horizontally, evenly and thinly about 1/8 thick.
Fill the pastry shell with the apple compote and arrange the apple slices on top overlapping each other in the form of a circle. In the center of the tart arrange the apple to form a rosette and remember that the apples will shrink during baking so make sure to use plenty of it. Brush the apples with butter and drizzle with a tablespoon of lite brown sugar.
Start baking the tart at 425℉ (218℃) in a preheated oven for about 10 minutes in the center of the oven. Lower the heats to 350℉ (177 ℃) for 45-50 minutes or until the apples are golden and tender and the crust is golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool it down in a cooling rack.
Brush with simple syrup or apricot glaze (to make the glaze place apricot preserve-glaze in a pot with a little bit of water in the stove and whisk until it is dissolved; the simple syrup is also made in similar way, but with sugar). Serve at room temperature.
This tart can be stored overnight at room temperature or the refrigerator. Reheat it in the oven before serving. It is excellent to bring to any celebration or holidays parties, including Christmas.
Pate Sucree: Classic French crust made out cold butter, flour and eggs.
Note for the pate sucree: It seems a lot of work but really it is not; it all happens very quickly. Just make sure you do not overworked the dough otherwise you dough will be tough and will shrink during baking. The reason the dough is refrigerated is to avoid the butter from melting during the rolling process as well as to relax the gluten or protein. Again this is to avoid the dough from shrinking and becoming tough.
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