I just love the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks! The pictures are stunning, the recipes are simple, and Ina Garten always sounds so cheerful and friendly I wish she lived next door to me. I found this recipe for a french apple tart in her book Back to Basics, and , of course, had to make it immediately. It's very similar to the tarts I made when I was working in a French restaurant, although I used mostly lard for the dough back then, which is impossible to find around here in the country. And I discovered, thanks to Ina, a new way of preparing apple slices that looks so much better than the usual peel/quarter/slice. You peel, cut through stem end to stem end, and use a melon baller to scoop out the seedy part! Brilliant, and the apples look gorgeous.
Traditionally, I use fresh lemon juice and warmed red currant jelly for brushing on tarts - she uses Calvados and apricot jelly, so it's really up to you. I also use a little more unsalted butter in the tart dough, which, by the way, is delightfully flaky.
2 cups King Arthur all purpose flour
1/2 t. kosher salt
1 T. sugar
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) cold unsalted butter, cut into tiny pieces
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water
Place the flour, salt and sugar in food processor bowl (use the steel blade) and pulse a few times. Add the butter and process until the butter is well incorporated. With the motor running, drizzle the ice water into the dough until it forms a soft ball.
Remove, briefly knead, then pat into a rectangle and wrap in plastic. Place in fridge for at least an hour.
For the apples:
a baking sheet fitted with foil or parchment
3 peeled and sliced apples ( see above) I used Macs, she used Granny Smiths.
1/3 cup sugar
3 T. diced cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup warm apricot or red currant jelly to which you have added 2 T. apple brandy or fresh lemon juice.
Preheat oven to 400F
When dough is chilled, place on floured surface and roll out to fit the baking sheet. Trim edges using a sharp knife.
Brush the dough with a little warmed jelly.
Arrange the apple slices in a pretty pattern.
Brush with the rest of the warmed jelly, then sprinkle with sugar and the diced pieces of butter.
Bake for approximately an 45 minutes to an hour, checking the tart to make sure it's not burning. The tart I made had two burned corners, so I just threw them away when I cut the tart into individual pieces.
Cool and cut into squares or rectangles, and enjoy!
What I'm reading:
Recipes from a year ago:
and two years ago: