Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ali's Birthday Apple Tart

This past week was the first week of Spring. Officially, Saturday, March 20th was day one, but San Francisco got a jump on the action with a Thursday and Friday in the sunny 70s. I saw berries and plums making their way into the farmers' market, but decided to have one last go-around with the winter fare. I bought six Fuji apples and two bunches of organic french-style carrots, and told Ali to pick between carrot cake and apple pie for her birthday.

Apple Pie it was!

Or at least, Apple Tart.

I culled recipes but couldn't find anything that completely satisfied my aims, so I ended up combining several. The crust was adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts (Baking). I made a basic composite caramel filling, and arranged the apples according to Sarah Magid's Fuji Apple Tart (Organic and Chic).


- 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup finely ground almonds
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
- 1 large egg yolk

Combine dry ingredients (including almonds) together in a food processor. Add butter pieces and pulse until butter is coarsely cut in. Stir or whisk egg yolk in a separate bowl; add slowly, pulsing after each addition until dough begins to stick together. Remove from food processor; knead several times to combine all dry ingredients, and press into buttered pan (no need for a rolling pin with this moist dough). Freeze for a half hour prior to baking.


- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter (softened, cut into pieces)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Extra chopped almonds (optional)

Heat the sugar in a sauce pan over medium-high heat, without stirring. Heat until sugar begins to dissolve and turn amber in color; swirl in pan to prevent burning. Continue to heat until sugar begins to boil and bubble up. Reduce heat to medium, and add in cream. Stir cream until smooth, and add in butter and vanilla. Continue to stir until butter is melted and caramel is smooth. Add chopped nuts (optional. Remove from heat and set aside in a second heat-proof bowl to cool (about 20 minutes).


- 4 medium apples (granny smith are more traditional for pie, but Fuji are sweeter and my favorite)
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla

Core and thinly slice apples (about 24 slices per apple). Toss together with sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Let apple slices marinate for 10-15 minutes before arranging.


Spread caramel in a thin layer over tart crust. Arrange one row of overlapping apple slices (using the largest slices) around the edge of tart (2-3 slices deep).

Use the smaller slices to create a second concentric circle. Use half-slices to create a "rose" shape in the center. Fold down any remaining dough over the apples on the circumference of the tart. Bake for about 40-50 minutes, until apple edges have browned. Remove, cool, serve with vanilla ice-cream and enjoy!

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