You know its autumn when you recite a poem in eleventh-grade French class and wonder why the mural of the French countryside you helped paint with your partner (okay, so truthfully, you can’t draw beyond stick figures; your partner did most of the work...) doesn’t feature any fall colours.
Le prés est vénéneux, mais joli en automne…[The meadow is poisonous, but pretty in the autumn…]
Oh, it’s definitely fall. With fall comes all the autumn fruits and vegetables that line our grocery store shelves to the brim. Pumpkins, butternut squashes, apples; all of them my favourites. This is the time of year when my mom buys pumpkin upon pumpkin so that I can roast them, puree them, and freeze them so that I have fresh, homemade pumpkin puree all year long. This is the time of year that I long for nothing more than to curl up with a great book and a bowl of steaming butternut squash soup. This is the time of year I make apple pies like we don’t already have one in the fridge and the freezer.
Last weekend, I decided to try making a French Apple Tart, instead of my usual repertoire of apple pie. I immediately fell in love with the neat diagonal rows of thinly sliced apple and the liberality in sugar and butter. Out with starches to thicken the cooking apple juices into a sauce; out with the unnecessary cups and cups of sugar; and in with neat squares of apple/pie crust heaven.
It’s definitely fall if apples have anything to do with it...
Click below for the recipe.
French Apple Tart
Adapted from: Back to Basics by Ina Garten, http://www.bhg.com/recipe/pies/pastry-for-single-crust-pie/
- 1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon
- 6 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 5-6 tablespoons ice water
- 4 granny Smith apples
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced (optional)
- ¼ cup apple jelly
- 1 tablespoon rum or water
For pastry, in a large bowl, stir flour, salt, and sugar together. Cut butter into flour until coarse crumbs form.
In a small bowl, stir lemon juice with water.
Gradually add a few teaspoons of water to the flour-butter mixture at a time. Stir and push moistened pastry to side of bowl. Repeat until all flour is moistened. Form the pastry into a flattened ball and fold the dough over itself a few times. This will create more layers of butter and pastry and result in a flakier crust. Wrap, and chill for at least an hour.
Preheat oven to 400F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper. Roll dough to slightly larger than 10x14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on a 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 baller. Slice the apples crosswise in ¼-inch thick slices. Arrange the apple slices over top the pastry in an overlapping pattern. Sprinkle with the sugar and dot with the butter (if using). I didn’t use butter (who needs those extra calories when there’s already more than enough in the pie crust), and I couldn't even tell.
Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown, rotating the pan halfway through. The pie crust should be golden brown on the bottom, but not burnt. How long it takes will definitely vary by oven, so begin checking your tart after 30 minutes. Heat the apple jelly with the rum and brush the apples and pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.