Ever since my trip to Quebec, I have been obsessed with puff pastry. That, and all the seasons of the Great British Bake Off, I've been watching.
Well, rough puff pastry. I'd like to give full-on puff pastry a try but a) time and b) the pounding sounds to flatten the butter would drive my dog nuts. So to avoid extended periods of dog barking, I've turned to an easier version that uses grated frozen butter to avoid all the pounding.
But full, rough, or store bought, puff pastry (or pâte feuilletée if you're feeling French) makes an excellent bae for this deceptively elegant, yet simple traditional crisp tart (or tarte fine). I'd suggest making the puff pastry the day before, then assembling the tart takes only 15 minutes or so. I daresay, it's easier than pie.
"Rough" Puff Pastry
- 260 grams salted butter (about 2 1/2 sticks), grated
- 350 grams all-purpose flour (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2-2/3 cup of cold water
Freeze butter and grate. This is easiest if you have a food processor or a rotary grater, but can be done by hand. Place grated butter and measured flour in freezer for at least an hour.
When butter and flour are sufficiently cold, mix together flour, salt, and 60g of the butter together with your fingers. Add water until dough just holds together, but is not sticky or wet. The dough will be firm. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until dough feels like it's holding together well, about 1 minute. Rest dough in fridge for about 5 minutes while you prepare for next step. If you work quickly, you can do the following in one go. If the dough and particularly the butter, starts to get too warm and easy to work stop and chill in the freezer for a few minutes before continuing.
- On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a long rectangle. Sprinkle half the remaining butter on 2/3rd of the dough. Fold the rectangle in thirds, starting with the un-buttered third.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees ( so the open ends are facing the side) and repeat step 1.
- Turn the dough 90 degrees and repeat folds (without the butter) as in step 1. Repeat turn/roll/fold 2 more times.
- Cut dough in half, wrap each half secruly in plastic wrap and store in fridge overnight. If you're making tart in less than an hour, or are planning to not use the dough for more than a day, store in the freezer and thaw in the fridge prior to use.
Crisp Apple Tart/Tarte Fine aux Pommes
- 1/2 of rough puff pastry recipe (above), or 1 sheet frozen pre-made pastry, thawed.
- 2 medium apples, with peels, sliced thin
- 1 egg
- 2 Tablespoons orange marmalade, apricot jelly, or apple jelly
- 2 Tablespoons Demera (raw) sugar (can subsititute granulated sugar, if desired)
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons salted butter, diced into cubes.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough into a large rectangle, about 9 x 12 inches, cut edges to be neat, if needed. Transfer to baking tray.
Using a sharp knife, score a 1 inch border around the dough. Beat egg in a bowl, adding a splash of water to make an egg wash. Brush egg wash along the outside border of the tart only. Mix jelly of your choice with a splash of water. Brush jelly mixture on center of tart.
Arrange apples in three rows on center of tart, overlapping slightly. Mix together sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small bowl. Sprinkle sugar and spice mixture over entire tart.
Bake for 30 minutes in the center of oven, until pastry is nicely browned. Cut into 6 slices. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.
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