Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Apple Tart

Now that I have been cooking more often, I decided that I need to explore the "inside" of the oven, with baking. To tell you the truth, baking always scared me a little bit. With cooking, if you put too much or too little of something, you can usually fix it. Baking, on the other hand, is more like a science of exacts. If you have the tiniest bit too much or too little of an ingredient, it can sabotage the whole recipe.

So, this week I decided to put my fears aside and try out an apple tart. Afterall, I had a brand new tart pan, it's apple season, and my mom requested I bring a dessert to Thanksgiving dinner - what better reasons to jump right in head first!

I saw this apple tart recipe a few weeks ago on smitten kitchen and decided this was what I was going to make. Although my tart doesn't look quite as beautiful as the pics on SK, I think it turned out pretty good for a first attempt.

Alice Waters's Apple Tart
adapted from smitten kitchen

For dough:
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water

For filling:
2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar

For glaze: 1/2 cup sugar

Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.

Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate.

After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.

Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. Heat oven to 400°F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)

Overlap apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.

Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples. (I had the same issue with the surgar as smitten kitchen. I think I only used about 3 tablespoons total for tart and apples.)

Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.

Make glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth. (I didn't have any cheesecloth, so I just poured the whole contents of the pot through a strainer. This seemed to work okay)

Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.

Brush glaze over tart, slice, and serve. (I didn't serve mine until the next day, because making an apple tart in the morning, and THEN driving 2 hours to my parents house didn't seem like a good way to spend Thanksgiving morning.)

Servings: Everyone had smaller slices, but I think we got about 10 slices out of the whole tart.

I would say this recipe was quite a success. I was a little nervous making the crust, but it came out great. If I make this again, I'm thinking brown sugar might be good to mix in as well as white sugar for the glaze. As far as the taste goes, I give myself an A+ since the whole tart was gone within 5 minutes of putting it out on the table. Like I mentioned above, I baked this the night before, so I left the tart in the tart pan while transporting and popped it in the oven at 200 degrees until it was warm enough to serve (about 15-20 min). It went great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side.

1 comment:

  1. I have always been enamored with Alice Waters. Thanks for sharing this and I hope to try this and more of her recipes soon!