I’ve been wanting to make an apple tart for a while now. Truthfully, I’ve made several lately, and none of the were holiday-worthy, or blog-worthy. After much searching, researching, and baking, I really like this one, and I hope you do too. I love that the compote filling has vanilla bean in it. I LOVE vanilla bean in anything. While I won’t give up making apple pie for Thanksgiving anytime soon, I will gladly add this to the holiday baking list.
Side note: I am inclined to apologize for my tart crust appearing darker-than-ideal, however I am reading As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto (edited by Joan Reardon), right now, and I came across a quote from Julia Child that seemed appropriate: “I make it a rule, no matter what happens, never to say one word, though it kills me. Maybe the cat has fallen in the stew, or I have put the lettuce out the window and it has frozen, or the meat is not quite done…Grit one’s teeth and smile.”-Julia Child
In that spirit, I have placed a link in the recipe to my post featuring Julia’s tart dough recipe from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, which has never browned too quickly for me. (I tried a new pastry dough recipe in the tart pictured in this post, taste is great, appearance…not so much.)
Tart Aux Pommes (Apple Tart)
Credit: Le Cordon Bleu Patisserie Patisserie & Baking Foundations by The Chefs of Le Cordon Bleu
Sweet Shortcut Pastry Dough, (recipe here), refrigerated at least 30 minutes, preferably overnight
3 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced and rubbed with lemon juice (to prevent from turning brown)
1 vanilla bean
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 more apples, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced (for pretty top layer of apples)
Apricot glaze/preserves, heated (I wasn’t sure if I would like this, but it adds a lot of flavor, and shine to the apple topping)
~Make the Apple Compote (Compote de Pommes)
Cook the sugar in a large shallow pan over medium-high heat until it turns a light caramel color Slice the vanilla bean in half lengthwise and use the tip of a knife to scrape out the seeds. De-glaze with the butter and add the apples (which were coated in lemon juice to prevent discoloring), the vanilla seeds, and the whole pod. Reduce the temperature and let the mixture stew until the apples are cooked through, but retain some texture (mine took about 15 minutes). Transfer the compote to a clean bowl and let it cool to room temperature before covering it in plastic wrap and transferring it to the refrigerator.
~Line the Tart Pan
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry dough until it is about 1/8-inch thick and is 3 fingers wider than the tart mold.
Prick it with a fork, and gently lay it in the tart mold. Gently apply pressure with your fingers around the inside edge of the mold to form an even border. Gently pinch all around the top edge of the tart to create a decorative border. Place the lined mold in the refrigerator to rest for at least 20 minutes.
~Blind Bake the Tart Shell
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. (As soon as you put the tart in the oven, you will turn the temperature down to 370 degrees.)
Cut a circle of parchment paper larger than the tart shell, place it in the cavity, and fill it with baking beads (dried beans are a suitable substitute if you don’t have ceramic baking beads). Transfer the tart to the oven. As soon as the door is closed, reduce the temperature to370 degrees F. Bake the tart shell until the dough is cooked, but not colored, rotating it 10 minutes into cooking.(Watch carefully! My crust began to color almost immediately.) Remove the tart from the oven, take out the beads and paper, and transfer it to a wire rack to cool.
~Assemble the Tart
1. Remove the vanilla pod, then spread the compote into an even layer over the bottom of the tart shell. Arrange the sliced apples in concentric circles over the compote.
2. Return the tart to the oven and bake it until the apples begin to color, about 25 minutes. Remove the tart from the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool. Melt the apricot glaze over low heat in a saucepan until it is completely liquid, being careful not to overheat. Apply it to the top of the cooled apples using a pastry brush. **It is important to wait until the tart has cooled before brushing with the glaze. If the apples are still hot, the heat will absorb the glaze making the apples mushy.