Okay everyone, I’m super excited to share my new recipe with you guys. This is one of those recipes that when you make the first time, you know it’s going to be something you make on repeat for years to come. It reminds me of the apple tart I had in Paris that I went crazy for and haven’t seen the likes of since returning home. (I guess we just have to go back to Paris, right?) It is baked apple perfection. Not only is it a showstopper, but the flavors and textures have put this recipe on my top 5 list.
Top 5, guys.
In my mind, the perfect apple dessert (or any fruit dessert for that matter), highlights the fruit and doesn’t add a lot of extra nonsense. Hence, this recipe has very little added in terms of sugar content or cinnamon. The apples in the compote are cooked until they start to break down, but before they turn into a soupy applesauce. The fresh apples that top the tart are just baked to al- dente perfection, but not more. There’s nothing worse than mushy apples in a tart- am I right? I had some rum to throw into the compote as well, so this is what I did. Apparently I am developing a theme of boozy desserts… I am not ashamed of this.
Not to fear though, if you don’t have rum, this is not a make-or-break it ingredient. Just sub the rum for all fruit juice it’ll be just fine. The rum just kicks it up a notch a little and makes it a little more special.The fussy part of the recipe is the sliced apple section. It’s really not a huge deal though- slicing and layering the apples took me a shorter amount of time than I expected. Because you only need to use 3 apples. I used pink lady apples, by the way. Gala apples would also work well. But use whatever you prefer to use for baked apple desserts.
Let me describe my method: I peeled all the apples and rolled them around in a non-reactive bowl with a little lemon juice. Then I cored them and cut them into quarters and began slicing. I have this extremely sharp ceramic chef’s knife that works very well for slicing thinly. You don’t necessarily need to go out and buy a ceramic knife, but make sure you use your sharpest knife as this will make the slicing process a lot easier/faster. Alternatively if you are lucky enough to own a mandolin, by all means use it here! Don’t worry about making every slice perfect- you’ll have extra slices so you can afford to discard some sloppily sliced pieces.
As I was chopping apples, I tossed them into my bowl with lemon juice and mixed them around with my hands periodically, just to make sure none of them went excessively brown before baking. Once your apples are sliced, you can begin the assembly process. Start with the outside and work your way in. I thought it was visually appealing to make the circular layers oriented in the opposite directions, as you can see from the photos. Try to match apple slice sizes so that the layers look even.
In the center I used the very thinnest apple slices I could find to create a small floret (the thin texture prevents the apples from breaking as you curve them).
By all means, feel free to experiment with your own design- it’s fun! Another idea I had was to create the entire tart with apple florets (so trendy right now). Let me know if you try it with this design- I’d love to see it!
When the tart came out of the oven I let it cool in the pan a little bit before removal. While this was happening I brushed the tart all over with warmed apricot jam. This step adds a little bit of shine and a unique flavor that compliments the apples very well, but mainly it helps the apples from getting too dried out before the tart is served. If you don’t feel like acquiring apricot jam, this step is also skip-able in my opinion without affecting the integrity of the tart. I do like the apricot flavor though. Now please excuse me while I barrage you with foodporn. Enjoy!
French Apple Tart
- 1 recipe pate sucree for 11 inch tart pan link is to my recipe, but feel free to sub your own recipe
- 4 apples peeled and cubed
- 3 apples peeled, and sliced thin (drizzled with lemon juice to prevent from browning)
- 1/3 cup clear fruit juice I used blackberry, but apple would be the logical choice
- 1/3 cup rum
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare your 11-inch tart shell. I used this recipe to prepare the dough.
- (If using recipe from link, follow all steps, but do not bake.)
To blind bake your shell:
- Grease a piece of aluminum foil and press onto frozen tart shell. Blind bake frozen shell covered in foil for 15 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove to cooling rack.
- Meanwhile prepare the apple compote. Combine cubed apples, fruit juice, rum, sugar, lemon zest, and cinnamon in a saucepan. Simmer until apples are softened and liquid evaporates. (This takes approximately 25 minutes). Stir often to prevent from burning. When apples are soft and liquid is evaporated turn off the heat and mash the apples. Results should be thick, chunky, and dry. Too much liquid will ruin the tart shell.
- Allow compote to cool slightly before assembling.
- To assemble: Spoon compote into blind-baked tart shell. Smooth into an even layer using rubber spatula. Begin applying apples. Starting from the outside, arrange apples in a circular layer. Arrange a second layer in an opposite circular pattern, slightly overlapping the first layer. Once you reach the very center, use two very small, thin, slices of apple to create a mini floret in the middle.
- Bake tart at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat apricot preserves in microwave with a tablespoon of water.
- When tart comes out of the oven, brush finished tart with the preserves.
- Serve warm or at room temperature.