Ina Garten, aka "The Barefoot Contessa" consistently writes cookbooks that contain delicious recipes that are also fail proof and easy to prepare. This French apple tart is no exception. It's always a crowd pleaser with its buttery, flaky crust and thinly sliced apples smeared with a glaze of jelly. The recipe calls for apricot jelly, but my new favorite to brush on fruit tarts is quince jelly, since its pale color doesn't obscure the fruit that's below. Besides, I love the tart/sweet flavor of quince jelly.
After mixing the pastry, roll it out and cut it to the size of your cookie sheet.
Place the pastry into a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (or a Silpat), carefully arrange the apple slices and dot with butter (stop counting calories and just enjoy this one, alright?)
When it comes out of the oven, brush some warmed quince jelly on top (or some other light colored jelly - I like orange marmalade here too.) Cut into squares and serve. A scoop of ice cream on top would not be unwelcome. Warning - This tart is highly addictive. Ciao Chow Linda shall not be held responsible if you eat the whole thing.
If you haven't got company coming, and you're not so good at portion control, (I wonder who that could be?) freeze most of the dough and make a couple of single serving size tarts instead, assuming you've got little tart pans. But even if you haven't, you can even make them freeform. Follow the same directions, and use the same temperature. This way you might still be able to squeeze into your jeans.
printable recipe here
For the pastry:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon sugar
12 tablespoons (11/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water
For the apples:
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water
For the pastry, place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.) Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don't worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine! When the tart's done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn't stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.