We wanted to offer an apple pie, but, being a tart shop, we didn’t think it was right to make apple pie—exactly. So this is what we came up with. Here the apples are sliced very thin and then artfully arranged. We keep this on the menu year-round, because we can always get good Granny Smith apples. Like apple pie, this tart is good fresh from the oven or warmed up, and great with ice cream or, since it is French, crème fraîche.
- 3-4 big tart apples (1½ pounds), such as Granny Smith, peeled, cored, and halved from top to bottom
- 1 prepared (unbaked) 9-inch Flaky Tart Crust
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup sugar
- ½ cup light cream
- ½ cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ cup Apricot Glaze (see Notes), melted
1. Position your oven racks so that one is in the center, and preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. Using either a knife or a mandoline, slice the apples thin (1/8 inch) lengthwise.
3. Arrange the apple slices in your tart shell, starting from the top tart edge and working all the way around the perimeter of the pan. Repeat, laying the apples in rows of overlapping concentric circles, until the tart shell is full. Use small pieces of apple to fill any gaps.
4. Whisk the eggs and sugar together in a small bowl until they are pale yellow. Whisk in the cream, milk, and vanilla. Pour this custard over the apple slices.
5. The custard comes very near to the top of the tart pan, so you must be careful when you move it to the oven. You can also set the tart pan with the apples on the oven rack with the oven door open and the rack slid out about halfway, and then pour the custard in the tart shell; this way you don’t have to move the custard-filled tart pan. Either way, with the tart on the center rack in the oven, bake the tart for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the apples are golden brown and the custard is set. It will feel firm to the touch and won’t jiggle in the middle when you shake the pan.
6. Remove the tart from the oven, and set it on a wire rack to cool slightly.
7. To remove the tart from the pan, rest it on a big can. Make sure the tart is steady and balanced. Slide the outside ring of the pan down off the tart. Place the tart on your work surface, and slide the tart off the pan bottom onto a rimless serving dish or a cutting board.
8. Use a pastry brush or a scrunched-up paper towel to coat the apples with the apricot glaze. Serve warm or at room temperature.