November 15, 2011

TWD: Alsatian Apple Tart

bad photo, excellent tart
Oh, wow. Not only am I still baking with the gang from Tuesdays with Dorie (it's been more than three and a half years for me), but I got to pick a recipe. Again! We're finishing the book at the end of the year, so this is a happy-sad kind of thing for me. I knew that choosing something from the apple section of the book would serve me well, and I was not disappointed by the Alsatian Apple Tart.

Ever since my Belgian exchange student days, I've loved apple and custard confections, and something really struck me in Dorie's recollection of her first attempt at making the tart. "This tart was a seemed remarkable, if not downright unbelievable that I, a beginning baker...could make something with flavor and texture authentic enough to transport me to the world capital of pastry. It was the encouragement I needed to keep baking." (Emphasis mine.)

That, in a nutshell, is how I have grown to feel about many of the recipes in Baking. Really minimal effort can sometimes yield incredible returns - chief among them the feeling that you can accomplish something amazing in your own little kitchen.

All I had to do was press some sweet tart dough into a pan (I didn't partially bake it, though), slice one gigantic, one-pounder apple and spread the slices in a moderately attractive fashion, and pour a simple whisked custard base over the top. A bit less than an hour later, I was transported. I hope that if you made this this week, you were too!

Alsatian Apple Tart from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
  • 1 pound medium-size firm sweet apples, such as Golden Delicious
  • 1 9-inch tart shell made with Sweet Tart Dough (page 444) or Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts (page 444), partially baked and cooled
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • About 1/3 cup apple jelly, plus 1 teaspoon water, for glazing, or confectioners' sugar, for dusting
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.

Peel the apples, cut them in half from top to bottom and remove the cores. Cut the apple halves lengthwise into thick slices (about 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) - you'll probably get about 12 slices from each - and lay them in the tart shell, arranging them in overlapping concentric circles and mounding a few slices in the center. If the apples stick up above the rim of the crust, so much the better.

In a 1-quart measuring cup with a spout (for convenience), whisk together the cream, sugar, whole egg, yolk and vanilla, and pour the mixture over the apples. (If you had big apples or lots of them, you might not use all the custard - don't force it; the custard should come just below the crust's rim.)

Bake the tart for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the apples can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife and the custard is set. (If a knife inserted into the custard comes out clean, it's done.) Transfer the tart to a rack and allow it to cool to just a tad above room temperature or to room temperature.

If you want to glaze the tart, bring the jelly and water to a boil. Using a pastry brush, or, better yet, a pastry feather (custard is delicate) and a light touch, cover the top of the tart with the hot jelly. If the apples and custard have separated, use the glaze to fill in the cracks. If you are not glazing the tart, just dust the top generously with confectioners' sugar.

Makes 6 servings.

Serving: Resist the temptation to eat this tart when it is warm - it really needs time to come together and to have the apple juices beat a retreat back into the apples.

Storing: Serve this tart soon after it is made, and certainly on the same day; keep it longer, and it will get soggy.

Playing Around: This tart is good made with pears. Make sure to pat them dry with paper towels before you lay them into the crust - pears are juicier than apples and their juices can slow the settling of the custard. When summer rolls around, the tart is good with peaches, which must be peeled, as well as apricots. If you use apricots, add 1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract to the custard - it will reinforce the fruit's flavor - and glaze the tart with apricot jam. With round fruits, like apricots and peaches, you can, if you'd like, forgo the slicing and just halve and pit the fruit, then lay the halves into the crust rounded side up.

Next week: REWIND

Last week: Fall Butternut Squash Pie AND Mini Madeleines


  1. Yum. Looks great. I made the brownies and tart and never photographed them :). I guess I am more of an eater than a blogger!

  2. Beautiful tart!
    I didn't get around to this recipe, but it certainly looks tempting.

  3. A huge apology - I didn't get around to making your tart this week, but it's bookmarked for another day when time is on my side. It's received rave reviews on the blogs I've read today, and yours looks wonderful!

  4. I'm so sorry, but tart doughs just horrify me - I never get them right. Therefore, I didn't dare to try this recipe, although I was in Alsace for my exchange semesters - and I loved it! Your pictures remind me on that year, have to go there again!

  5. Didn't get to this one, but it is on my rewind list!! Yours looks wonderful!!

  6. OMG - you have no idea how much I love apple and cusard confections! I swooned over this - had to take it to work before I gobbled it all. Yours looks beautiful - like a sunray of apple on top. Thanks for this pick.

  7. I had never had apple and custard before - yum! thanks for hosting :)

  8. Thanks so much for picking this! I loved it.

  9. My cooking club loved this recipe! Thanks for choosing it! :) I can't believe this will be over at the end of the year!

  10. This is at the top of my rewind list, I just couldn't fit it in to bake it with you (sorry!) I can't wait to try it since everyone loves it!


Comments are always appreciated!