delightful Apple Frangipane Tart combines buttery crisp pastry with
sweet almond cream and lightly sweetened apples. It
is a free form tart which means it does not use a tart pan. The ends
of the pastry are simply folded up and over the apples, acting as a
shell to hold everything together. This dessert is lovely in the
Fall when newly harvested apples are available at farmer's markets.
Serve warm from the oven or at room temperature, with or without a
dollop of sweet whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
My favorite pie crust to use for this
tart is Pate
is a French short crust pastry made from a mixture of flour, sugar, salt,
unsalted butter, and ice water. It is well suited for this free form tart as it has a high ratio of fat to flour
which gives the pastry its crumbly texture and buttery flavor.
Frangipane is a sweet almond filling made with ground almonds along with
sugar, butter, and eggs. You can use either
blanched or natural almonds or you can just buy almond meal (flour) at
health food stores or some grocery stores. Once made, the frangipane is spread over the
unbaked pie crust which adds a wonderful flavor but it also acts as a shield to prevent the apple juices from penetrating
into the crust. Sliced apples are then arranged over the
almond cream and the edges of
the pastry are folded up and over the filling. The assembled
tart is then brushed with a little cream, and sprinkled with sugar,
which only adds to this pastry's crisp and crumbly texture. Bake until the
crust is golden brown and the apples are tender, but not mushy.
Apples are one of the more versatile fruits that are enjoyed
both in baking and eating out of hand. Fortunately there is an
apple for everyone as varieties number in the thousands and run the gamut from
very sweet to very tart with textures from soft to firm. In baking,
it is important to use the right type of apple i.e. one that retains its shape
when baked. Oftentimes recipes call for Granny Smith
Apples and this is because they are readily available year round and their tart flavor and firm
texture make them ideal in pies and tarts. But if you are fortunate
enough to live near an apple orchard or can go to a farmer's market, your choice
of suitable baking apples dramatically increases. There are so many
varieties with wonderful textures and flavors that are never sold at your local grocery stores. In my area Mutsu Golden, Rome, Stayman Winesap,
Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Jonagold and Jonathan are available but try the varieties locally
grown in your area. You won't be disappointed and
even try mixing two or even three varieties for a more complex flavored tart.
In your food processor, place the
almonds, sugar, and flour. Process until finely ground. Then add the rest of the
ingredients and process until you have a smooth paste. Transfer to a small bowl, cover and
Pie Crust: In a food processor, place the flour, salt, and sugar and process
until combined. Add the butter and process until the mixture resembles coarse
meal (about 15 seconds).
Pour 1/8 cup (30 ml) water in a slow, steady stream
through the feed tube until the pastry just holds together when pinched. Add
remaining water, if necessary. Turn the pastry out onto your
work surface, gather it into a ball,
cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for about one hour or until firm.
Once the pastry has
chilled sufficiently, remove from refrigerator and place on a lightly floured
surface. Roll the pastry
into a 12 inch (30 cm) circle. Transfer to a
parchment lined baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the
refrigerator while you prepare the apples.
Preheat oven to
375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and place the rack in the center of the oven.
Remove the chilled pastry from the refrigerator and spread the frangipane evenly
over the crust, leaving a 2 inch (5 cm) border. Arrange the apple slices evenly
over the frangipane layer (concentrically or free form), again leaving a 2 inch
(5 cm) border. Fold the border of pastry up and over the apples (sealing any
cracks) and brush the pastry crust with a little cream. Sprinkle about 2
tablespoons (30 grams) of sugar (depending on tartness of the apples) over the
crust and apples.
Bake the tart for 50 to 60
minutes or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden
brown. (The apples should be soft, but not mushy, when pierced with a knife.) Remove
from oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature
with vanilla ice cream or softly whipped cream. Refrigerate any leftovers.
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