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. Add flour
and salt and mix just until it forms a ball. 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 . 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.
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. Gently lay in pan and
lightly press pastry into bottom and up
sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid of excess
pastry. Prick bottom of dough. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees
C) and place rack in center of oven. Line the
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. Bake crust for 20 to 25 minutes
until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights and cool crust on
wire rack. When cool, spread a thin layer of warm apricot glaze over the
bottom and sides of the tart Let the glaze dry between 20 - 30 minutes.
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.
Custard: In a
large bowl whisk the flour and sugar together. Mix in the eggs and stir with a
wooden spoon to make a smooth paste. Do not let this mixture sit too long as
it will form a crust.
Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the half-and-half until it just starts to boil and the cream foams up. Remove
from heat and gradually whisk into the egg mixture,
stirring constantly. Whisk in the vanilla extract and Apple Brandy, if
using. Set this mixture aside while you prepare the
Peel, core, and slice the apples into 1/4 inch thick slices. Melt the 2 tablespoons (26
grams) butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the 2 - 4
tablespoons (25 - 50
grams) sugar. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften,
approximately 5 - 10 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C) and place rack in the middle of
the oven. Arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top of the cooled
and glazed tart shell. Carefully pour the custard over the apples to just below the top of the tart
pan (do not fill all the way or the custard will drip between the crust and the
pan). Sprinkle lightly with the
Cinnamon Sugar. Place tart pan on a larger baking sheet to make it easier to remove from oven
and bake for about 25-30 minutes or until the custard has set. Let
the tart cool on wire rack, then lightly
sift powdered sugar over the top. Place the
tart under the broiler in the oven just long enough to caramelize the sugar on
the apples. To prevent the edges of the tart shell from over-browning, you can cover them with a thin
piece of aluminum foil or pie shields. Be careful not to over brown. Serve with softly
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Serves 6 to 8.