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French Apple Tart

Note: No, it is not apple season, but I know you can still find apples, although probably not Golden Delicious (they are oddly very hard to find these days, even before the pandemic) so just use any apple that you like and also that you know will hold its shape. You’ll find this on pages 331-333 of Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101 Published by Oxmoor House, an imprint of Time Inc. Books.

Start to Finish: 2 hours 40 minutes
Hands-on Time: 50 minutes
Servings: 1 (10-inch) tart, about 6 servings

1 recipe Pie Dough (below), or 1 (12-ounce) store-bought pie dough (see Note)
All-purpose flour for rolling out the dough
6 Golden Delicious Apples
3 tablespoons sugar
4 tablespoons cold butter, sliced thin
1/2 cup apricot jam combined with 2 tablespoons water, heated, and strained
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream as an accompaniment

Preheat the oven to 375° F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 13-inch round and fit it into a 10-inch tart tin with a removable fluted rim, trimming the excess. Prick the dough all over with the tines of a fork. Cover and chill for 1 hour.

While the tart shell is chilling, peel and halve all the apples, then arrange them cut side down on a cutting board. (See 1). Using a melon baller, remove and discard the cores.

With a very sharp knife, slice the apples crosswise, but don’t cut all the way down with the back side of the knife (See 2); stop just before it reaches the cutting board so that the apples stay attached at the bottom.

Here is what happens if you slice all the way down to the cutting board (See 3). The apples will become detached, fly all over the counter, and be very difficult to arrange in a pattern. You want them to stay lined up like the Rockettes.

When you have sliced all the apples, turn each on it’s side to expose the bottom (See 4). Cut off about 1/4 inch of the bottom to remove the part of the apple that has not been sliced through.

Arrange 8 apple halves like the spokes of a wheel on the pastry leaving a gap in the center of the spokes (See 5). Press down on the apple halves to spread the slices slightly.

Arrange the remaining apple slices in concentric circles in the center of the tart starting from the outside and working your way in (See 6) further and further (See 7) until there is a small space in the center (See 8).

Shape the center apple slice into a cone (See 9) to resemble the shape of the center of a rose. Sprinkle the sugar evenly on top of the apples and top with butter slices.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the crust is cooked through and the apples are golden brown. Brush with the heated apricot jam while the tart is still hot. Serve each portion with a small scoop of ice cream or a small spoonful of whipped cream.

Note: If you are using store-bought pie dough (which usually comes all rolled out, fitted into an aluminum pie tin, and fluted at the edges, let it warm up a little bit on the counter so that it is malleable, then lift it out of the tin and lay it on a lightly floured surface. Roll it out slightly and transfer it to the tart tin.

 Pie Dough

You’ll find this on page 40 of Sara Moulton’s Home Cooking 101. I highly recommend weighing the flour if you can. You’d be surprised at how much the weight of a cup of flour can vary.

Start to Finish: 1 hour 15 minutes
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Servings: Makes enough dough for a large (10-inch) single-crust pie

180 grams (about 1 1/2 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 to 4 tablespoons ice water

Stir together the flour and salt in a large bowl, add the butter, and, working quickly with your fingertips or a pastry blender, mix the dough until most of the mixture resembles coarse meal with the rest in small (roughly pea-sized) lumps.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons ice water evenly over the mixture and gently stir with a fork until incorporated. Gently squeeze a small handful: it should hold together without crumbling apart. If it doesn’t, add more ice water, 1/2 tablespoon at a time, stirring 2 or 3 times after each addition until it comes together. (If you overwork the mixture or add too much water, the dough will be tough.)

Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and divide into several portions. With the heel of your hand, smear each portion once in a forward motion on the work surface to help distribute the fat. Gather the smeared dough together and form it, rotating it on the work surface, into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill until firm, at least 1 hour.

2 Responses to French Apple Tart


  1. Wow Sara, these recipes are very kind of you. I watch your show every weekend. Especially the recipes for this pandemic, your kindness warms my heart.

    A Huge Fan,
    Chris Bumpy

  2. Gheed Adnan Salman says:

    Love your baking yummy sweets

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