Apple Tart is a staple everyday tart in most French bakeries. It fills the void when you’re craving something sweet but not a big calorific slice of cake. Making this at home is surprisingly easy. Just make sure to get the best best French beurre you can find. It really does make all the difference.
We chose this butter: Lescure. Made in France’s Charentes region, this butter has an A.O.P. designation for artisanal butter. What is artisanal butter you ask? We did some research and found some interesting info from thegourmettraveller:
The French recognise two appellations for butter: Normandy and Charentes-Poitou. Butter carrying the AOP symbol is guaranteed to be made from fresh local cream which has been cultured using a natural maturation process lasting 12 to 24 hours, and the finest examples are gently churned in a traditional baratte.
This butter is truly the result of some seriously happy cows and artists making butter the old fashioned way. We also read that François Payard, the pastry master seeks out Lescure butter for his pastry making. On a technical note, this butter has a lower water content than other butters which means more fat, resulting in a flakier pastry.
Onto the flour… Unfortunately here in the US, our choices of flour is somewhat limiting… The French have ten fold the amount of flour variations to our generally available one: all-purpose flour. In order to lighten up our organic AP flour, we made a quick “instant flour”, by sifting together 2 cups of all-purpose flour and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch.
Make the tart: Begin by making the pastry with your artisanal butter and Frenchified flour. While the dough is resting in the fridge, peel, core and slice the apples. (Squeeze a little lemon juice to prevent browning.) Roll out the dough between two parchment sheets into a 12 x 16 in. rectangle. Fold over and pinch the edges into a border. Pull the formed dough onto a baking sheet (with the parchment sheet) and start laying out the apple slices. The key is to create a pattern with the apples from one edge to the other. Sprinkle the top with sugar and dot a few nobs of butter before baking.
Bake the tart until golden brown and brush on the glaze while still hot. Serve warm or room temperature with a scoop of good vanilla ice cream. This elegant French Apple Tart is great for dinner parties or a petite snack for one.
Side note, we used a hybrid of these recipes:
Ina’s French Apple Tart and the America’s Test Kitchen (for the pastry tips)