Friday, October 15, 2010
This week, my friend, Iva, and I decided to make this Apple Tart posted at Smitten Kitchen, an adaptation of Jacques Pepi's apple tart as documented by Alice Waters. I believe this apple tart is still served at Chez Panisse today, which I believe the Chopping Block has visited a couple of times, but maybe I'm wrong. Anyways, this was delicious. We served it with homemade vanilla creme en glaze and apple syrup.
We didn't follow the recipe exactly because we like to modify things. We are tinker-ers. We like to tinker. So below is our ingredients list, but feel free to follow the original recipe here.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons water (cold from the tap)
1 tablespoon vodka (good quality)
2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons of lemon rind
juice of half a lemon
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
Apple discards (core & peels)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
Creme en Glaze:
1-1/2 cup whole milk
4 egg yolks
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Oh my god, look at that ingredients list, kinda intimidating, huh? Don't worry! It's not! Although, we totally complicated Alice Waters' "simple recipe!"
Instead of just getting one type of apple, we got FIVE types! Your mind is blown, huh? We have Granny Smith, Fuji, Gala, Golden Delicious, and Golden Sweet.
So Iva started with the dough, and I cored and peeled the apples with an apple peeler-and-corer. We had to disassemble one in lab for our manufacturing class, so I was very excited to use it! But first, I got my lemon rind and juice ready (so the apples won't turn brown after I peeled them).
And here's the exciting peeling of apples!
Ta-da! Peeled and cored apples!
I obviously forgot to put the lemon juice immediately on the apples because they started to brown a little. :( My bad. But you, who will do it perfectly, will add the lemon juice and rind in with the apples while making sure they don't brown.
Then I took the saved discards and put them in a pot with water. I made sure the water covered the top of the apple discards and put in my brown sugar. I let it boil at high heat, and since there was so much water, I let it simmer on high heat to reduce faster. After about 25 minutes, I took the syrup and strained the apple discards and put the liquid back on the stove to reduce just a bit more.
When it gets a syrupy consistency, I removed it from the heat and placed it in the refrigerator in a ceramic bowl to help it cool faster. It will thicken up as it cools.
I was too busy with the apples, and I didn't get any photos of Iva pulsing the dough in her food processor. Sorry! She mixed the flour, sugar, and salt in her food processor and added 2 tablespoons of the butter. She then blended until dough resembles coarse cornmeal and added the remaining butter. The mixture will be a little dry. Then she added the water and the vodka and mixed until the dough just holds together. Then she balled it up, put in a plastic bag, and refrigerated it for thirty minutes.
After it's been refrigerated roll our your dough until it's really flat, and then put it in your tart pan. Iva taught me a neat trick. Since the dough is so thin, it's hard to get it off your rolling surface without breaking it, so you want to roll it up (like a Fruit Roll Up) and then unroll it onto the pan. It worked for us!
Now fill it with your apples!
We mixed three tablespoons of sugar, the cinnamon, and the freshly ground nutmeg together and spread it evenly over the top of the apples.
Fold the crust up, brush the whole tart with melted butter, and sprinkle the remaining sugar over the curst.
Then you stick it in the oven! We made one 9" tarte and two 4" tarts. (We actually had four pounds of apples instead of two. WHAT WHAT?). We baked it at 350 degrees for a little over 45 minutes.
We already ate a mini tart when I took this photo! That's why there are only two tarts here!
So, while the apple tart was baking, we made our creme en glaze.
(Creme en glaze and apple syrup)
To make the creme en glaze, you want to warm up your milk (do not boil), and slowly add in your eggs. You do not want to cook your eggs! You want to add your sugar in so it dissolves as well. Think about flan and creme brulee. You keep it on low heat and stir constantly until the mixture thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. You want to pour in the vanilla last after you've removed it from heat. I forget why that is, but Iva said so!
Then you cut up your tart and nom it with your sauces!
It was delicious! You should definitely make this. Best apple tart I've ever had! SERIOUS!