For Christmas this year, my brother, mom, dad and I spent the day opening presents, listening to music, lounging about the house, and making food together. One of my presents was Michel Roux's Pastry (which I previously drooled over at Rabelais in Portland, ME). I wanted to try something from the book, and my dad had brought home a bushel of Arkansas Black apples, so I settled on the classic Apple Tart. It seems that this was the year for them. I followed the recipe in its entirety, using Michel's tart crust recipe. It is as follows:
Tart Pie Dough
1 3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 stick butter, cut into small pieces and slightly softened
1 medium egg
1 tsp. superfine sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
2 1/2 Tblsp. cold water
Heap the flour in the bowl and make a well. Put the butter, egg, sugar and salt in the middle. With your fingertips, mix and cream ingredients in the well. Draw flour into center and work dough to a grainy texture. Add cold water and mix until dough holds together. Push dough away from you 4-5 times until it is smooth. Roll dough in ball, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use.
Tart Pie Dough
6 dessert apples (I used Arkansas Black)
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (we didn't have any, so I used extract)
4 1/2 Tblsp. butter
scant 1/2 c. superfine sugar
Roll out dough in circle and use to line a buttered and floured tart pan. Pinch up edges with index finger to make a fluted edge higher than the dish. Chill for at least 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, core and halve apples. Cut into very fine slices. Put 1/3 of apples in a pan and add 1/4 c. water, vanilla and butter and cook until tender. Take off heat, discard vanilla bean and work the apples with a whisk to compote consistency. Let cool. For glaze, in small pan, dissolve sugar in 2 1/2 Tbslp. water. Bring to boil and bubble for 4-5 minutes to make a syrup. Let cool. Prick base of pastry shell lightly. Pour in cold apple compote and spread. Arrange a border of overlapping apple slices around tart, then arrange another circle inside with slices facing the other way. Fill center with a small rosette of slices. Bake for 35 minutes. Let cool for at least 20 minutes before removing tart pan. Brush top with glaze. Cut and enjoy!
I liked this recipe, but I am of the opinion that butter in pie dough should be as COLD as possible during preparation to facilitate supreme flakiness. But for a traditional tart crust, this was easy and tasted good. We topped it off with brandy and Indiana maple syrup-spiked whipped cream, then entered the TEZ...Mom in the TEZGrant in the TEZ.
Look for more Michel Roux recipes in 2010 as I delve into my lovely Christmas present!