Or perhaps I should call this my lazy version of a classic French apple tart as I used a jar of organic sugar-free apple puree for the filling, because I couldn’t be bothered to peel and cook a load of apples – and the jar was sitting on my shelf.
That said, I did make the pastry from scratch, using my all-time favorite dessert pastry (pâte sucrée) recipe, that’s a doddle to make if you have a food processor and is well worth a little effort.
These quantities below will make a single tart or six individual ones if you prefer. You’ll need a fluted loose-based tart tin(s).
French apple tart is absolutely delicious served cold with cream or crème fraîche and both the filling and pastry can be made ahead.
FRENCH APPLE TART
Ingredients for the filling:
3 cups (700ml) of organic unsweetened apple puree
The finely grated zest of an orange
1-2 oz (28-57g) of sugar depending on how sweet your tooth is
1 oz (28g) of butter at room temp
2 Golden Delicious apples for the topping
For the pastry:
1 and 2/3 cups (400ml measure) of all-purpose (plain) flour
2 tablespoons of fine white sugar
Pinch of salt
5 oz (142g) of chilled unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
Approx 3 tablespoons of iced water
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
For the glaze:
2 tablespoons of good apricot jam
2 tablespoons of water
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
Make the pastry first. Whizz the sugar, salt and flour in a food processor then add the butter and pulse until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add the egg yolk, 2-3 tablespoons of iced water and the vanilla. Pulse until it forms a clump, adding tiny amounts more water if you think it needs it. Scoop the pastry out, form it into a ball then flatten it into a disc. Wrap it in cling film and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 2 hrs or overnight. You can also freeze it at this point.
For the filling, combine the apple puree, butter and orange zest in a heavy pan and cook gently together until slightly thickened, stirring all the time. Set it aside to cool.
When you’re ready to assemble the tart(s), roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface and drape it over the fluted pan, pressing it gently into place. Trim off the excess, using it to fill in any uneven parts, pushing into place with your fingers.
Return the tart to the fridge for another 15 minutes while you preheat the oven to 400F (200C).
Fill the tart with the cooled apple. Thinly slice the unpeeled apples and arrange the slices on the surface of the tart. Bake for 25 minutes or until the pastry is tinged golden brown and the apples are soft.
While the tart is baking, heat the apricot jam, water and lemon juice until the jam is melted and syrupy – strain this over the cooked tart as soon as it comes out of the oven, using a pastry brush to spread the glaze evenly.
Allow the tart to cool completely before serving. If you don’t want to serve it with cream, a scoop of really good vanilla ice cream would be quite perfect in an all-American way.