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
wire rack. When cool, spread a thin layer of warm apricot glaze over the
bottom and sides of the tart to seal the crust and prevent it from getting
soggy. 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
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.
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.
remove the tart from the fluted sides of the pan, place your hand under the pan,
touching only the removable bottom not the sides. Gently push the tart straight
up, away from the sides. The fluted tart ring will fall away and slide down
your arm. If you want to remove the bottom of the pan, run a knife or thin metal
spatula between the crust and metal bottom, then slide the tart onto a cardboard
cake round or platter.
Serve with softly
whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 - 8 or 9
inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.
Friberg, Bo. 'The
Professional Pastry Chef'. Third Edition. Van Nostrand Reinhold. New York: