Here’s the Recipe for the Authentic French Apple Tart or Tarte aux Pommes!
For the Pâte Brisée pastry:
225 gr of all purpose flour (0.5 lb);
125 gr of real 82% full fat butter, from the fridge (4.4 oz);
a pinch of salt and sugar;
1 medium size egg;
1 Tbsp of cold milk.
For the apple filling:
1 kg (2.2 lbs) of apples (Cox, Ligol, Red Jonaprince or Granny Smith);
20 gr of butter (0.7 oz);
50 gr of sugar (1.8 oz);
25 ml of water (0.9 oz).
STEP 1 – Apples
Wash the apples and put aside one big, or two small ones, for decoration.
Peel the rest of the apples, slice each one in quarters, take out the core with the seeds and cut into pieces.
Place the chopped apples in a small pot, together with 20 gr (0.7 oz) of butter and a tablespoon of water, to prevent them from burning before they slowly start releasing their own juice.
Bring to a boil, lower down the flame and let simmer, until the chopped apples start changing into a paste. This should not take more than 10-15 minutes.
Mix once in a while, in order not to burn the bottom.
You may start the next step before the apple filling reaches a desirable jam consistency, or right after.
STEP 2 – Pastry
There are three ways of preparing a good Pâte Brisée pastry.
We follow the most traditional and authentic method, combining the ingredients on the kneading board.
You may, alternatively, use a large bowl and mix everything inside.
If, instead, you prefer to make your dough in a food processor, the procedure is almost identical and the ingredients will be poured gradually inside its container.
Whichever way you choose, first mix flour and butter, adding only sugar and salt.
On the kneading board, use a knife to cut the butter on top of the flour and mix with your hands.
In the bowl, use a grater or a special pastry cutter to chop the butter.
At this point, you should have obtained a mixture of flour, butter, salt and sugar that resembles thick bread crumbs.
Add the egg and a tbsp of cold milk and mix until all the ingredients blend together and reach a smooth dough structure.
On the board, help yourself with a knife to cut the egg and knead until you form a ball.
In the bowl, you can use a spatula to blend in the new ingredients, until they come together smoothly. Transfer the dough on a flour sprinkled board and work it into the shape of a ball.
In the food processor instead, mix all the ingredients together until they form a ball.
The machine will not make it perfect, so you will need to take out the dough and shape it with your hands on the board.
Whatever way you are using, remember that the dough should not be kneaded too long, otherwise it will become a stone after baking!
The goal is to create a Pâte Brisée pastry that is quite firm, sleek, smooth to the touch and with a very uniform texture.
The food processor method requires the least amount of work and is the fastest as well.
However, expertly working your dough on the board from scratch will give you the biggest satisfaction, and you will also be able to accurately tell when to stop kneading.
Once you have a nice, compact ball of dough, take a rolling pin and spread it into a 3-5 mm (0.12-0.20 inch) thick disc of pastry.
Remember to sprinkle the board and the rolling pin with some flour to prevent it from sticking!
The pastry should cover the bottom of a round baking tin, measuring 24 to 26 cm (9.4 or 10.2″) in diameter, plus an extra length of 5 cm (2 inch) for the rim.
Make sure the dough is stretched to the proper size, before you place it inside the baking tin, otherwise you might have to scrape it out and knead it into a ball all over again!
The key is to wrap your disc of pastry on a rolling pin, and then carefully unroll it onto the lightly buttered baking tin. Shape the pastry and make it adhere to the bottom, then form the rim with your finger tips.
Cover with cling film and place the baking tin in the fridge, for 20 minutes.
STEP 3 – Apples again
Once the apple filling has reached a jam like consistency, not too liquid and still with some spare bits of fruit, place it into a bowl to let it cool off.
Heat up the oven at 200°C, 400°F, Gas Mark 6.
While your pastry is still in the fridge, you may prepare the decoration of your tart.
Peel the remaining apples, chop them into quarters, remove the core and finely cut into 1 mm (0.04 inch) thick slices.
STEP 4 – Assembling the Tart
As soon as you finish slicing the apples needed for the decoration:
1. Take out the baking tin from the fridge, remove the cling film. Gently prick the pastry base with a fork, several times, to prevent it from inflating.
2. Spread the apple filling inside the pastry, neatly.
3. Decorate with the apples in a way that each slice is partially covered by the next one, starting with the external row along the rim and finishing in the centre.
4. Place the apple tart in the oven for 35 minutes, bake non ventilated for the first 30 minutes and ventilated for the last 5 to help achieve a golden brown colour on the top.
Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by putting 50 gr (1.8 oz) of sugar and 25 ml (0.9 oz) of water in a small pan, place on low heat and boil for 5 minutes, stirring from time to time.
Leave the syrup to cool.
STEP 5 – Out of the oven + the Glaze
Take your apple tart out of the oven, let it sit for 10-15 minutes, then gently pour the glaze on its surface, covering all the sliced apples.
Once the tart is cool, remove the flan ring, transfer your cake into a nice plate…and serve it to your loved ones!