Tuesday, January 22, 2013

BWJ - French Apple Tart

This week's Baking with Julia assignment is French Apple Tart from pp379-381, a recipe by Leslie Mackie of Macrina Bakery.  I am honoured to be the host of this challenge, so this week, I have set out the recipe to make this tart below.

This tart looks very pretty, and it tastes fabulous while still just warm.  The pastry, which contains shortening, is crisp and light, allowing the apple filling to star.

However, if you would like to make this tart,  be warned - unless you want to go to bed in the wee small hours, you can't whip it up straight after work unless you have done some serious prep work first.  I made this on a Sunday, and from go to woe, it took all morning on and off.   The dough has to chill before it can be rolled out, then it has to chill again in the pan.  You have to peel, core and slice a lot of apples, and bake some of those apples for the filling.  I used a food processor to make the crust, and although you don't have to, it certainly saves some time.

This tart was definitely worth the effort, as the end product was absolutely delicious - the mashed apple filling was  almost custard-like in nature, it being so creamy, and the sliced apples on top give the tart its beauty and "wow" factor.

Without further ado, here is the recipe:

Flaky pie dough (p31)

(I have converted the original recipe into metric and quartered the amounts, as required for the tart.  I have also stated the recipe for a food processor only.)

154g pastry flour or all purpose flour
1 tablespoon salt
44g cold unsalted butter
75g solid vegetable shortening, chilled
1/4 cup ice water

Place the dry ingredients in the food processor fitted with a metal blade and pulse just to mix. Take the top off, scatter the chilled cubed butter and shortening over the flour, cover, and pulse again, working only until the fats are cut in and the mixture resembles slightly moist cornmeal. Add a little of the liquid and pulse a few times, then add more liquid and pulse again. Continue until the mixture has curds and clumps and sticks together when pressed between your fingers. 

Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or for as long as 5 days.

When the dough has chilled, roll the dough on a lightly floured surface (or between two sheets of baking paper, as I did) into a circle about 1/8 inch thick and fit it into a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Let the crust chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

For assistance on making your tart shell look good, refer to the Baking with Julia video.

To blind bake the tart shell, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit/200 degrees Celsius/gas mark 6. Fit a piece of baking paper or foil into the tart shell and fill with pie weights, rice, or dried beans, and bake the tart for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Transfer the crust to a rack to cool while you make the filling. (I removed the rice at 20 minutes and let it bake for another 5 minutes without the weights so that the inside of the tart shell could brown up; cf the recipe which states that the weights should stay in even while the tart is cooling.) 

Reduce your oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit/190 degrees Celsius/gas mark 5.


6 Granny smith apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon all purpose flour
pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 teaspoons (approximately) fresh lemon juice

Peel and core the apples, obtaining 10-12 slices from each apple. ( I cheated and used my corer-slicer tool, which gives 8 slices per apple.)  Place the apples in a bowl and toss with the sugar, flour, cinnamon, vanilla, and bread crumbs. Add a squeeze of lemon juice. Spread the apples on a jelly-roll pan and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the apples give up their juices, start to form a sauce, and are soft enough to mash.

Scrape the apples into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork. Taste and add more lemon juice if you think it needs it, then cool the filling for 15 minutes.

Spoon the filling into the tart shells, ensuring that the filling remains below the rim of the tart shell.


2-3 granny smith apples
1 tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

Peel and thinly slice the apples. Toss the apples with the tablespoon of lemon juice to keep them from browning. Arrange the apples in a circular pattern starting from the outside, slightly overlapping the slices.

Work around the pie until the filling is completely covered. Brush the apple slices with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the tart for 25-30 minutes or until the top is glazed and the apple slices are edged in black. (My oven was never going to darken the tart on top, so I just baked the tart until the nominated cooking time was over.)

Serve the tart dusted with powdered sugar (icing sugar) if desired (I didn't bother).

Leslie says that this tart is best served warm from the oven.  Most of my tart is currently chilling in the fridge, so the proof of the pudding will be revealed tomorrow. 
To see what the other Baking with Julia participants thought, visit the LYL section of the Baking with Julia website.


Jennifer said...

I miss Dorie's apple desserts. This tart looks amazingly good-and I imagine it has a ton of great texture, with both sliced and mashed apples. Nicely Done!!!!

Susan @ My Wholefood Family Essentials said...

It looks gorgeous! Definitely not a quick one but it looks worth it. I had to tweak mine but was still really happy with the end result. Thanks for hosting :-)

Jill said...

I was so happy to see that you were hosting this week. This was a fantastic recipe, and worth the effort to make all of the components. Your apple slices on top look wonderful!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

I'd love to give that flaky dough a go, it sounds delicious! :D

Kayte said...

Oh, that looks wonderful. Maybe I should make a wee one for Mark, he loves apple pie desserts the best. Yours looks wonderful. It's fun when you host!

Mary Hirsch said...

Bravo. What a fabulous-looking tart. What a job you did on this one. I think this would be good warm or cold. Man, I would love a piece right now. A wonderful contribution to BWJ. I had to put this tart on the backburner this week for the very reason you stated - too time-consuming. It looks as if my house is sold, the due diligence has been done and I close next week. (Cross fingers, you are the first to know.) So, it's been a little hectic here in Nevada. You have inspired me, however, to make this when Life settles down for me.

Cher Rockwell said...

Yea! Cakelaw is hosting.

Great tart & thanks for hosting!

I actually mixed apple sauce with bread crumbs and apple fiber powder in lieu of making the filling - saved a lot of time :-)

Elaine said...

Your tart is just lovely! It definitely was time consuming, but also definitely worth it. My favorite part of this was the filling - I could have eaten a ton of it. Thank you so much for hosting. Have a great week!

Katrina said...

Your tart looks great! Thanks for hosting. Loved this one.

Kari said...

I love how you layered / presented the apple slices - it makes such a difference to the finished product compared to less structured tarts. Really beautiful :)

Choc Chip Uru @ Go Bake Yourself said...

What a beautiful looking tart my friend :D

Choc Chip Uru

Beth said...

What a lovely tart! I love desserts that are loaded with fruit, and this is no exception. Yum!

Jules Someone said...

That looks fabulous! Can you bring one to me, please?

Catherine said...

Good job! Thanks for hosting! Catherine www.praycookblog.com

Dawn said...

Looks beautiful Gaye! Thanks for hosting!

Chris H. said...

I'm not so sure that the served-warm recommendation is 100% valid as I've been enjoying the apple tart at room temperature for a few days now, with no complaints whatsoever. A little ice cream on the side, as you served yours, would have been a nice accompaniment.

Your tart turned out great. Thanks for hosting!

Kris' Kitchen said...

Very well done. You are the perfect host for this recipe!

Karen said...

Great step by step instructions! Thanks for hosting!

Tammy said...

This is a fussy one, isn't it? Not hard, just lots of steps. I like the Ina Garten version of this -- it's a lot simpler and still totally delicious.

But I haven't tasted the BWJ version yet: I ended up doing half of the recipe last night, and I'm assembling it today. Stay tuned!

Sara said...

This really is a beautiful tart you've made! I wasn't overly impressed with the tart itself, but I love this crust. It's never disappointed me! Thanks so much for hosting!

Kathy said...

Thanks so much for hosting, Gaye! Your tart is absolutely lovely! Looks delicious served with that ice cream! This was a huge hit in my house, and I will definitely make this one again! Happy Tuesday!!
Great job hosting!!

Anonymous said...

Your tart turned out beautifully! I agree with you though, this isn't a last minute project. Thanks for hosting!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Cakelaw, may I ask, is the pastry easy to roll? I want to use it on a larger tart on top and I'd love to be able to roll it easily :)

Betsy said...

This is such a pretty dessert. Yours looks delicious. I thought it was good both warm and cold. Thanks for hosting!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Lorraine, I found it incredibly easy to work with as the shortening makes it a little sturdier than all butter pastry.

Cathleen | My Culinary Mission said...

Thank you for hosting such a beautiful dessert! I had a slice at room temp, cold, and warmed for a few seconds in the microwave. I thought warm was the best.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful host post! Your tart looks wonderful.

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Oh my goodness this looks so delicious!!

Have Apron....Will Bake said...

Great looking tart and a great post. Thanks for hosting. I liked the tart warm and thought it was just as good if not better chilled in the fridge for the next day.

Unknown said...

This is such a pretty apple tart- looking absolutely delicious!! I had to come over and congratulate you on hosting the apple tart-how lovely;-)
Have a wonderful week;-)

Andrea_TheKitchenLioness said...

Thank you so very much for having hosted the recipe for the French Apple Tart! Your tart looks so very pretty and delicious - I love the way you arranged your thinly sliced apples on top of that wonderful oven baked apple compote. Terrific presentationa and thanks again for hosting!
Have a great Wednesday!

Blond Duck said...

Do you think Jonagold apples would be too mushy? Granny smith are just too tart for me!

Clare said...

This looks amazing! especially the ala mode style. I love anything with fruits- even if it is tart or a pie or even a cake. It is a great way to stay healthy and take care of your sweet tooth craving too. Sure, fresh would be ideal, but this is better than a bag of chips any day!

Cakelaw said...

Hi Duckie, I think Jonagold would be fine.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for hosting. Your tart turned out so nice.

sunshine x 2 said...

Your tart looks fabulous- wish I could have a piece right now! I hope to make this one soon!

steph (whisk/spoon) said...

Nice tart- thanks for hosting us this time around! I made this back in autumn, but we certainly enjoyed it.

Johanna GGG said...

looks very impressive - sounds like a dinner party sort of dish