Baked Apple Tart
This tart from Dalloyau, whose pâisseries and "salons de the" epitomize "luxe, calme, et volupté," can finish an elegant little dinner party or cap a casual Sunday supper. It can be served at teatime or be enjoyed as a midnight snack. And it can bring smiles to grown-ups and kids alike. In part, it owes its tremendous appeal to the apples, which are caramelized stovetop and then baked through in the oven. But it is the combination of these apples, the thin layer of lightly nutty almond cream they sit on, the crunchy crust that holds everything together, and the grated apples strewn across the top (a surprisingly rustic touch from very urbane Dalloyau) that gives this tart a special place in the universe of wonderfully good French apple tarts.
KEEPING: While all of the elements can be prepared ahead, once the tart is assembled, it should be baked immediately, and once it is baked, it should be served soon thereafter.
AN AMERICAN IN PARIS: This tart is perfect on its own and delicious with either a bit of crème fraîche or vanilla crème anglaise, but the American in me loves it with a fat scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Total Timeunder 4 hours
OccasionCooking for a date, Formal Dinner Party
Taste and Texturefruity, sweet
Type of Dishtart
- 1 1/2 tablespoons (3/4 ounce; 20 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ¼ cup (30 grams) ground almonds
- 1 large egg, preferably at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons (30 grams) heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon Calvados or apple brandy (or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract)
- 6 large apples (2¼ pounds; 1 kilo), preferably Fuji or Granny Smith, peeled and cored
- 7 tablespoons (3½ ounces; 100 grams) unsalted butter
- ½ cup sugar (75 grams)
- 2 tablespoons Calvados or apple brandy (or 1½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract)
- 1 unbaked 9-inch (24-cm) tart shell made from puff pastry (homemade, or store-bought) or Sweet Tart Dough
- Confectioners’ sugar to finish
To Make The CREAM: Working in a medium bowl with a whisk, beat the butter and sugar together for a minute or so, until the sugar dissolves and the butter whitens a little. Whisk in the almonds, then the egg, beating until the mixture is blended. Finally, whisk in the cream and Calvados. Cover the bowl and refrigerate until needed. (The cream can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.)
TO MAKE THE APPLES: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°c).
Cut 4 of the apples in half and slice each half into thirds. Grate the remaining 2 apples on the coarse side of a box grater.
Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter and 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a large skillet over high heat. Add the grated apples and cook, stirring, until they are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the apples to a plate. Add the remaining 6 tablespoons (85 grams) butter and the rest of the sugar to the pan and, when the butter is bubbling, toss in the apple slices. Cook the apples, stirring frequently, until they are lightly caramelized, 5 to 7 minutes. Pour in the Calvados, turn off the heat, and carefully touch a match to the liquid. When the flames die down, pull the pan from the stove.
Transfer the apple slices to a baking pan (or keep them in the skillet if it is ovenproof) and bake for 20 minutes, or until they are almost cooked through. Cool for 30 minutes.
TO ASSEMBLE THE TART: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and put the tart shell on the sheet.
Spoon the almond cream evenly into the crust. Top with the baked apples, arranging them attractively in a single layer. Check the grated apples—if they are wet, press them either between your palms or between paper towels. Fluff up the grated apples with your fingers or a fork and arrange them over the apple slices, leaving a bare border of an inch (2.5 cm) or so.
Bake the tart for 40 to 50 minutes, or until the almond cream has puffed and the apples are beautifully browned. Cool the tart on a rack; unmold and serve it when it is either just warm or at room temperature. Dust the tart generously with confectioners’ sugar right before bringing it to the table.
2002 Dorie Greenspan