julias (& mine...) french apple tart



this open faced start is just wonderful. and the taste is very similar to those amazing, jummy applecakes you get in amsterdam. so this one is not just delish for dessert but also wonderful if you are feeling homesick after amsterdam (like me... always!). dont make this tart on a busy day. the process of making it involves several steps. pick a foggy sunday (like i did - where is the sun?) to make this. i worked on julia childs recipe from her book "baking with julia" a bit - just made it my way and skipped or changed some parts that seemed to complicated. the tart is still warm, sitting on my stove - cant wait to tuck in! this also explains why i took the picture from julia childs book. but i promise: mine (and yours will too!) looks as good as the one on the picture. and smells just wonderful!

RECIPE

flaky pie dough
175g flour
1 teaspoon salt
120g butter, cut in small pieces
about 60 ml ice water

mix flour and salt and put in a mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. add the butter - piece after piece - and mix until mixture looks coarse. carefully add the water (you might not need all of it - careful!) and mix only until it is incorporated. turn out on a working surface and fold it over on itself 2-3 times and gather it together. form a disk and wrap in plastic and refrigerate for 1-2 hours.

filling
1kg sour apples (braeburn - really any cooking apple or granny smith)
150g sugar
1 tablespoon flour
a generous pinch of cinnamon
40g fresh breadcrumbs
juice of one lemon

peel and core the apples. quarter, then finely slice the quarters. put in a large saucepan and drizzle with half of the lemon juice. add sugar, flour, cinnamon and breadcrumbs. add a tablespoon of water and put on high heat. bring to the boil, then lower the heat and cook apples until soft and ready to be mashed (with a wooden spoon - potato masher - heavy spoon). dont overdo it - a few small lumps and bumps will make the filling interesting. let cool.

heat the oven to 200 c° and put a rack in the middle of the oven.
roll the chilled dough on a slightly floured surface into a circle so it fits a 25cm fluted pan tart with a removable bottom. cut off the excess dough at the rim with a sharp knife and line the tart with parchment paper and fill with baking beans. chill for about half an hour.
then put in the oven and bake until golden brown for about 30 minutes (how fiery is your oven? - keep an eye on it, it might be ready after 20 minutes). when baked, let cool (with beans and parchment paper still in tin). leave oven on but reduce to 190c°.

when the shell is cool, spoon the apple purée into the tart shell and smooth evenly with a spatula or the back of a spoon. the filling should come to just below the rim of the tart.

topping
3-4 apples (such as granny smith or any cooking apple)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of sugar
confectioner's sugar for dusting

peel and core the apples and finely slice them, drizzle lemon juice over them to prevent them from browning. arrange the apples in a circle over the purée. the slices should overlap each other, but dont worry if it doesnt look as good as on the picture. save your nerves for the crime story on tv tonight. arrange as many slices as needed, brush them carefully with the melted butter and sprinkle with the sugar.

bake the tart in the middle of the oven for about 35-40 minutes (again: how fiery is your oven - make sure you keep an eye on it from time to time). when the edges of the apples have started to brown, take out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack. before serving dust the tart (or just its edges as julia did it) with confectioner's sugar. or do it like me and serve a generous dollop of whipped cream or vanilla ice cream with it.

oh this is heaven on a plate!