Saturday, November 25, 2023

French Apple Crunch Tart


I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s blog, where he adapted it from Jacques Pépin. I felt like making an apple dessert, but I didn’t want a heavy cinnamon taste, so this French tart was perfect! I used 2 big Honeycrisp apples and 1 miniature Jazz apple. 

For the dough 
2 cups (280 g) flour 
1 tsp. kosher or flaky sea salt 
¾ cup (6 oz, 170 g) lactose-free butter, cubed and chilled 
 ½ cup ice water, plus a tablespoon or two more, if necessary 

For the apple filling and assembling the tart 
1 ¾-2 lbs. (800-900 g) apples, peeled, cored, and cut in ¼-inch (½-cm) slices 
1-2 Tbsp. granulated sugar (use the lesser amount if the apples you are using are sweet) 
2 ½ Tbsp. (36 g) lactose-free butter, finely cubed 
1 egg yolk, mixed with a teaspoon of milk or water 
2 Tbsp. demerara or turbinado sugar (optional) 

To make the crust, mix the flour and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (You can also make this by hand in a mixing bowl using a pastry blender or your hands, or make it in a food processor like I do.) Add the chilled butter and mix until the butter pieces are the size of blueberries. Don't overmix; it should be quite lumpy. Add the ice water and stir just until the dough comes together. 

Divide the dough in two, shape both pieces into disks, and wrap and chill them for at least 30 minutes. (The dough can be made up to two days ahead.) 

To assemble the tart, line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat. Toss the apple slices with 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar in a bowl. 

Remove one piece of dough from the refrigerator and roll it out on a lightly floured countertop until it's a 14-inch (36-cm) circle. Place the round of dough on the prepared baking sheet. (I fold it in half and work quickly to transfer it then unfold it on the baking sheet, but Jacques Pépin rolls his dough around the rolling pin first, before moving it, and unrolling it on the prepared baking sheet.) Place the apples in an even layer over the dough, leaving a 2-inch (5-cm) exposed border. Distribute the diced butter bits over the apples. Fold the outside edges of the dough up and over to tuck in the apples. 

Roll the other disk of dough to the same size as the first. Brush the bottom crust that's folded over the apples liberally with water, then place the second round of dough over the apples and bottom crust, tucking the edges underneath the bottom of the tart. Place the tart on the baking sheet in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400 °F and set the rack in the middle of the oven. Mix the egg yolk with the water or milk in a small bowl and brush it over the top of the tart. Sprinkle the granulated brown sugar evenly over the top, cut four slits in the top and bake until the top is well-browned and crunchy. When done, thick apple juices should be bubbling up in the slit holes, indicating they are cooked. The tart should take about 30 to 35 minutes to bake, depending on the apples and your oven. Remove the tart from the oven and let cool for a few minutes, then slide onto a wire rack.

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