I had the opportunity to celebrate my very first friendsgiving this weekend and I had such a good time! Any excuse to get together with friends and celebrate is a good idea in my book. I got together at my friend Lindsay's condo to eat good food, have great conversation, and just enjoy being together before the busyness of the holiday season really picks up steam. We had a lovely meal, the main event being one of my all-time favorites, roasted chicken with clementines and fennel. Of course I had to make a dessert, and I decided to try my hand at a simple and elegant French Apple Tart. seasonal and beautiful in an understated way. It was the perfect way to end such a wonderful meal.
Of course I had to use local Jonagold apples from my favorite stand at the farmers market and they were perfect. The whole thing came together quite easily, and was fun to arrange. I made a frangipane to place under the apples which I think was a nice touch, but you can certainly make this without. Whatever you decide, apples, butter and sugar are always going to be a winning combination.
French Apple Tart
Adapted from Alexandra Cooks
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar (optional)
- 8 tbsp. unsalted butter, cubed and chilled, divided
- 1/2 tsp. table salt
- 3-4 tablespoons ice water
- 5 to 7 apples, peeled, cored, and halved (I used jonagold, but really any apple will do)
- 2-4 tablespoons sugar
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 3/4 cup almonds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- pinch salt
- 2 tablespoons butter at room temperature
- 1 small egg
- 2 teaspoons vanilla, rum, brandy or bourbon
- Whipped cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
Making the pastry: Combine flour, sugar, 8 tbsp. butter, sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse until pea-size crumbles form, about 10 pulses. Drizzle in 3 tbsp. ice-cold water and pulse until dough is moistened, about 3 to 4 pulses. (Do not pulse so much that the dough forms a mass — It will clump together when you form it into a disk.) Add more water if needed, but use as little as possible, just until the dough is just coming together. If you add too much water it will be tough and will shrink when baking. Transfer dough to a work surface and form into a flat disk; wrap it in plastic and refrigerate at least 1 hour, and up to three days. When ready to use, transfer dough to a lightly floured work surface. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough into a 13″ circle and then transfer to a tart pan with a removable bottom; trim edges; chill for at least 1 hour.
Meanwhile make frangipane: add all ingredients to a food processor and process until comes together into a smooth mass. This may take a little time and require some scraping down the sides of the food processor from time to time. Be patient and it will eventually come together.
When ready to bake; heat oven to 375º. Spread a thin layer (about 2 tablespoons) of frangipane across the bottom surface of your tart shell. Working with one apple half at a time, thinly slice into sections, keeping slices together. Press sliced apple half gently to fan it out; repeat with remaining apple halves. Place 1 fanned apple half on outer edge of the tart dough, pointing inward; repeat with 7 more apple halves (or as many as you are able to fit — with a smaller tart pan, you won't be able to fit as many). Separate remaining apple slices. Starting where the apple halves touch and working your way in, layer apples to create a tight rose pattern. Fill in any gaps with remaining apple.
Sprinkle with sugar and dot with remaining 4 tablespoons butter. Place in the oven (I recommend placing a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil underneath the tart to catch any dripping butter that may otherwise fall to the bottom of the oven and burn) and bake until golden brown, about 70 minutes. Let cool completely before removing from pan and carefully transferring to serving platter.