Yesterday was my dad's birthday. I won't broadcast his age, but I can say that he still looks like a vibrant 45, with the athleticism of a 30-something year old. I hope those good genes run the family! He and my mom have logged almost 250 miles hiking this year! We went out to one of his favorite restaurants, Sweet Water Tavern, an upscale brewery that serves up eclectic southwestern dishes with a flair. We skipped dessert there, since I made everyone a special tart from all the apples that are sitting in the fridge from my apple-picking foray.
This is a recipe that produces a thin and buttery, lightly sweetened tart. It's not the best way to use up a lot of apples, definitely the opposite of a mile-high American apple pie. But it is a beautiful sight to behold, and so ethereally light on the palate.
We sat around the kitchen island, drinking tea and eating dessert, as we caught up on everything that happened this past week. It's been hellishly busy (hence why I have been blog-absent for the past week) with me logging many long distance miles on my car, attending a wedding, working on applications, tutoring, and planning my upcoming trip to China next week. So much to do, so little time to cook! It did calm me to get back in the kitchen to make this tart, peeling and slicing the apples, making the pastry...all so methodical and soothing for me. Kitchen therapy. Let's all try it.
French Apple Tart
adapted from Le Cordon Bleu Dessert Techniques
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsalted butter, chilled (1 1/2 sticks)
2 egg yolks
3 baking apples (Granny Smith, Cameo, etc)
2 Tbsp melted butter, for brushing
1/8 cup sugar, for sprinkling
apricot jelly, for glaze
1. For the pastry dough: Mix together flour, sugar and salt. Cut the butter into small cubes and add to the dry mixture. With a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour, until it is evenly incorporated and the size of the small peas throughout. Make a well in the center of the mixture, add the yolks, and use your hands to work into a crumbly dough. Form into a ball, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, peel and core the apples. Cut into thin slices, about 1/8" thick. Toss with a few drops of lemon juice to stop them from browning.
3. Preheat the oven to 375F.
4. Roll out the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper. Drape over the tart pan, gently press into the fluted sides, and trim the excess dough off the rims. Arrange the apples in a circular pattern in the tart. Brush with the melted butter and sprinkle on the reserved sugar. Bake for 45 minutes, or until golden.
5. Let tart cool completely to room temperature. Melt the apricot jelly with a bit of water in the microwave. Brush over the apples for a sweet glaze, and let it cool to set up. Cut and serve.