I added this recipe for easy french apple tart to my “baking” to-do list after watching it being prepared on the television show Barefoot Contessa: Back to Basics a few months ago. The format of the shows (both new and re-runs), typically feature Ina Garten cooking something “fabulous” for her hubby, friends and/or neighbors as well as her “back to basics” segments where she provides tips on preparing easy yet delicious food and beverage recipes.
After purchasing some Granny Smith apples recently, I was craving a comforting dessert and I thought it the perfect time to attempt a french apple tart. Having never made one before, I was a bit intimidated but I have to say, it was as easy as Ina claimed it would be. Tasting the first bite still warm from the oven… mmmm fabulous!
The original recipe calls for 1/2 stick butter to be dotted on the apples, but since I consider many foods to be merely a butter delivery device, I used the entire stick and it gave the tart the extra melty, crispy, carmel goodness that took it from yum to YUM!
A recipe for sweetened whipped cream is included at the end of the article, however I prefer the whipped cream unsweetened. The natural flavor of the unsweetened cream provides the perfect balance to the sweet glaze and tart apples.
Like many children, I grew up watching Fred Rogers and as he began each day in the fictional “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood,” I would hum along as he sang, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” Five simple words — however for many it is not as simple as one would think to extend personal relationships beyond the fence line. I sometimes wonder what it would be like to live in a neighborhood where people have made the effort to be more than casual acquaintances.
I’m optimistic some day I will be part of a neighborhood where the cursory nod or wave to one another is the exception rather than the norm. As good neighbors, not only will we borrow the occasional cup of sugar or power tool, but also sit down over a cup of coffee and warm slices of apple tart… to share good conversation, a belly laugh or two and whatever the moment may bring. I hope you are fortunate to have a special neighbor in your life and until I meet mine, thank you for stopping by… neighbor.
recipe for quick French Apple Tart adapted from barefoot contessa, back to basics
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted
4 Granny Smith Apples
1/2 cup sugar
1 stick cold unsalted butter, diced small (butter can be reduced to 1/2 stick as per the original recipe if desired)
1/2 cup apple jelly (or apricot if desired)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll out the puff pastry on a flour surface to 10 1/2 x 10 1/2 inches.
Place the dough on the 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 1/4 inch slices. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices.
Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup sugar and dot with butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during baking. If the pastry puffs up in an area, cut a small slit with a knife to let the air escape.
When the tart’s done, heat the apple jelly in a small saucepan just until warm. Brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly.
Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the parchment paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature with a dollop of whipped cream.
recipe: sweetened whipped cream yield: 2 1/2 cups or approximately 10 servings
1 cup or 1/2 pint heavy or whipping cream
2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
Beat the cream in a chilled non-reactive bowl with a whisk or an electric mixer just until it holds a loose peak. (Lift the beater from the cream and look at the shape of the peak at the end of the whisk; it should hold a lazy curve.) Sift the sugar over the cream and continue to beat just until it holds a soft peak. Take care not to over beat the cream or it will appear curdy. Serve, or refrigerate covered for up to 4 hours.