Sweet Pastry Crust:
Place the butter in your mixer and beat until softened. Add
the sugar and beat
until light and fluffy. Gradually add the egg, beating just until
incorporated. (Don't over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.) Add flour
and salt and mix just until it forms a ball. (Don't
overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.) Flatten dough into disk,
cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate about one hour or until firm.
Have ready an 8 - 9 inch (20 -
23 cm) tart pan with removable bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out
the pastry into an 11 - 12 inch (28 - 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3
mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter and to ensure
uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the pastry a quarter turn as you
roll (always roll from the center of the pastry outwards to get uniform
When the pastry is
the desired size, lightly roll pastry around your rolling pin, dusting off any
excess flour as you roll. Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you
will get shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry when
placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small floured piece of
pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up sides of pan. Roll your rolling
pin over top of pan to get rid of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again
press dough into pan. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the
dough from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20
minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees
C) and place rack in center of oven.
unbaked pastry shell with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with
pie weights or beans, making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and
evenly distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes
until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on
For Apple Tart: For bottom layer of apples: Peel, core, and slice three of the apples. In a
large skillet melt 1 tablespoon (13 grams) unsalted butter and stir in
between 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50 grams) of the sugar, the lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the apples and saute over moderate heat,
stirring occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft. Gently
mash the apples with the back of a spatula or spoon and stir the mixture until
most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and let cool.
For top layer of apples:
Peel, core, and cut the apples into slices 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick. Melt 1 tablespoon (13 grams) butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the
other 2 - 4 tablespoons (25 - 50
grams) sugar and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften,
approximately 5 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.
Spoon the applesauce
mixture into the cooled pre-baked tart shell. Arrange
the apple slices in concentric circles over the applesauce, and
brush with 1 - 2 tablespoons (13-26 grams) melted butter. Bake the tart on a baking
sheet in a preheated 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for
25 - 30 minutes or until the apples are nicely browned and soft. Remove from
oven and sprinkle the tart with confectioners' sugar, cover the edges of tart
with foil, and broil it under a preheated broiler about 4 inches from the heat
until the edges of the apples are golden brown and crisp. Once the tart has
cooled lightly glaze the apple slices with warm apricot glaze.
In a small saucepan heat the apricot
preserves until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps. Add
the Cognac or water. Use this glaze to seal the baked tart shell and to brush
the top of the finished tart.
Serve the tart warm or
at room temperature with softly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 - 8 or 9
inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.
From the Editors of Gourmet. The Best of
Gourmet 1992 Edition. Conde Nast Books. New York: 1992.