Simplest Apple Tart
from Alice Waters via Smitten Kitchen
- 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 1/2 T chilled water
- 2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (save peels and cores)
- 2 T unsalted butter, melted
- 2-4 T sugar
- 1/2 c sugar
- Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
- Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropey with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon of water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball.
- Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
- Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to make a free-form galette. Heat oven to 400 degrees. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)
- Overlap apples on dough in a ring two inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.
- Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in center of oven about 45 minutes, or until apples are soft with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown, making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
- In the meantime, make the glaze. Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.
- Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
- Brush glaze over tart, slice, and serve.
Comments & Modifications:
- Lacking a tart pan, I went for the free-form galette.
- I had some trouble with the dough, as usual. It was a bit sticky, but also seemed to crack in the oven, causing the apple juices to leak all over the pan in a big sticky mess. It took several washes to get it clean.
- Since I was making this for the next day, I opted to skip the glaze. We also warmed it slightly in the oven before serving.
- The picture makes it look like this serves a lot, but I say 6 to 8 servings.
Verdict: Even without the glaze I thought this was fantastic! Someday when I've had more practice with crusts I'll try this again.