I adore this recipe for French Apple Tart from America's Test Kitchen. If you love apples you'll love it too. It's made with a no-fuss cardamom tart crust and filled with Granny Smith (my favorite) and Golden Delicious apples. I've reprinted the recipe here for you, as well as my lessons learned. If you love Apple Tarts you'll want to make this recipe.
How to Make the Tart Crust
I love this tart crust recipe. It is one of the easiest and most versatile recipes that I know. The two great things about this crust are:
- Melted butter is added directly to the dry ingredients. No concerns about having cold butter or room temperature butter.
- You do not have to blind bake the crust. The crust bakes up beautifully without slipping down the sides of the tart pan. Once the crust is shaped into the tart pan put it directly into the oven and bake for the prescribed time.
This crust has just 4 main ingredients:
- Flour. The flour provides the structure for this tart. I use all-purpose unbleached flour.
- Sugar. Granulated sugar provides sweetness for the crust and ensures a nice browning while it is baking. You can also replace it with an equal amount of light brown sugar.
- Unsalted Butter. The butter provides flavor and tenderness to the crust.
- Kosher Salt. The salt boosts the flavor of the other ingredients. In addition, kosher salt does not have iodine so it doesn't have that slight chemical taste.
For this recipe, I added cardamom to the crust, but I've been experimenting with fresh herbs and other spices, so be on the lookout for more delicious versions of this tart crust.
Combine all the dry ingredients in a medium-sized bowl and whisk for 30 seconds to ensure the ingredients are well mixed. If using brown sugar you may need to break up some of the clumps with your fingers. Add the hot melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula until no white bits remain.
Part of the success with this crust is to add the melted butter to the dry ingredients while it is still hot and then press the dough into the pan while it is still warm.
Baking the Tart Crust
Take your time to press the dough into the tart pan. Make sure that it is pressed into the corners of the plan and even across the top. Place the tart on a wire rack set on a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees F until golden brown.
The crust needs to be thoroughly baked so it doesn't become too soft when the filling is added. I use this crust for my Rhubarb Tart with Hazelnut Crumble and the first time I didn't bake the crust long enough so it became soggy after a few hours with the rhubarb filling. Lesson learned.
The crust can be made 2 days in advance and then wrapped in plastic after it has cooled down.
How to Make the Apple Filling
The original recipe from America's Test Kitchen uses all Golden Delicious, but I used Granny Smith and Golden Delicious. I used the Granny Smith for the apple puree that is made for the bottom of the tart and the Golden Delicious for the apple spiral design on top. Use the same apples to ensure that the apples cook evenly. I prefer Smucker's Apricot preserves, the ingredients are straight forward and it tastes like apricots.
Each Golden Delicious apple is cut into 16 wedges. Cut the wedges as evenly as possible. Reserve the small slices for the interior of the spirlal design.
The cooking times that ATK gives for the apples and the finished
When cooking the smashed apples for the filling, the instructions call for cooking the mashed apples for amount 10 minutes to reduce to 2 cups. Cook the apples at this point on low heat to avoid burning them and stir frequently. They eventually do reduce to 2 cups. These apples become of the base of your apple tart.
Assembling the French Apple Tart
Fill the crust with the apple sauce that you just made. Take your time to place the apples in the tart shell. Treat it as an art project and you will have a beautiful tart.
When it comes time to broil the tart with the apricot glaze pretend you are on The Great American Baking Show to the Great British Bake Off. Set your timer for 1 minute, turn on the oven light and watch the tart the entire time it's in the oven. Rotate the tart a few times to try and get even browning.
Remove the tart from the oven and allow it to cool. It should be eaten within two days because the filling will soften the crust. I like the tart all by itself best. No ice cream or whipped cream, just a mouth full of tart delicious apples.
French Apple Tart
- 1 1/3 cups (189 grams) eall-purpose flour
- 5 tablespoons (63 grams) sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 10 tablespoons (142 grams) unsalted butter melted
- 5 Golden Delicious apples 8 ounces each, peeled and cored
- 5 Granny Smith apples 8 ounces each, peeled and cored
- 3 tablespoons (42 grams) unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/2 cup (152 grams) apricot preserves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Place 1 tablespoon of water in a small prep bowl. Cut the butter into 2 pieces, 1 tablespoon and 2 tablespoons. Place the apricot preserves into a microwave safe bowl. Place a large platter near the stove for the cooked apples.
FOR THE CRUST
- Adjust 1 oven rack to the middle position in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Whisk flour, sugar, cardamom, and salt together in a bowl. Add melted butter and stir with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon until a dough forms. Using your hands, press two-thirds of dough into the bottom of 9- inch tart pan with removable bottom. Press remaining dough into fluted sides of the pan. Press and smooth dough with your hands to even thickness.
- Place pan on a wire rack set in a rimmed baking sheet and bake on the middle rack, until crust is deep golden brown and firm to touch, 30 to 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through baking. Set aside until ready to fill.
FOR THE FILLING:
- Cut 5 Golden Delicious apples lengthwise into quarters and cut each quarter lengthwise into 4 slices. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium heat. Add apple slices and water and toss to combine.
- Cover the apples and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples begin to turn translucent and are slightly pliable, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer apples to a large plate spread into a single layer and set aside to cool. Do not clean skillet.
- While the apples cook, microwave apricot preserves until fluid, about 30 seconds. Strain the preserves through a fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl and reserve the solids. Set aside 3 tablespoons of the strained preserves in a microwave safe bowl for brushing the tart later.
- Cut remaining 5 Granny Smith apples into 1/2- inch-thick wedges. Melt remaining 2 tablespoons butter in now-empty skillet over medium heat. Add remaining apricot preserves, reserved apricot solids, apple wedges, and salt. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are very soft, about 10 minutes.
- Mash apples to puree with potato masher. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until puree is reduced to 2 cups, about 5 minutes.
- Transfer apple puree to baked tart shell and smooth surface. Select 5 thinnest slices of sautéed apple and set aside. Starting at outer edge of tart, arrange remaining slices, tightly overlapping, in concentric circles. Bend reserved slices to fit in center. Bake tart, still on wire rack in sheet, on lowest rack, for 30 minutes. Remove tart from oven and heat broiler.
- While broiler heats, warm reserved preserves in the microwave until fluid, about 20 seconds. Brush evenly over the surface of apples, avoiding tart crust. Broil tart, checking every 30 seconds and turning as necessary, until apples are attractively caramelized, 1 to 3 minutes. Let the tart cool for at least 11/2 hours
- Remove the outer metal ring of the tart pan, slide a thin metal spatula between tart and pan bottom, and carefully slide tart onto a serving platter. Cut into wedges and serve.