Ina Garten’s Easy French Apple Tart

I already have a couple easy fall apple desserts that I make every year- French apple cake and apple pie bars. I had to add this one onto the list this year. I love fruit desserts! 🙂

This recipe was adapted from Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics by Ina Garten, via epicurious.com. I used the puff pastry shortcut, reduced the amount of jam in the glaze, and modified the baking method.

The apple juices, sugar, and butter collect on the edges of the tart (and become quite dark!) but can be trimmed prior to serving. We ate it with vanilla ice cream which was completely unnecessary but delicious.

For the Pastry:

(Alternatively, use one sheet of store-bought puff pastry- I used Trader Joe’s)

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced
  • 1/2 cup ice water

For the Apples:

  • 4 Granny Smith apples or a combination of apples (I used 1 1/2 Granny Smith, 1 1/2 Honey Crisp, and 1 Juici apple)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small-diced
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam
  • 2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water

For the Puff Pastry Crust:

  1. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or for 2 hours at room temperature.
  2. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper; remove from the pan.
  3. On the parchment, roll the thawed crust into a 10×14-inch rectangle. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges.
  4. Place dough (on parchment) on the rimmed baking sheet and keep in the refrigerator to chill while the apples are prepared.

To Make the Pastry Crust:

  1. Place the flour, salt, and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.
  3. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough slightly larger than 10×14 inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. (I would roll it out on the parchment paper.)
  7. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while the apples are prepared.

To Prepare the Apples and Finish the Tart: 

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, preferably on convection.
  2. Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baller.
  3. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch-thick slices. (I used a mandoline.)
  4. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (I tend not to use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement beautiful.)
  5. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup sugar and dot with the butter.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through.
  7. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, and continue to bake 15 to 30 minutes more, until the pastry is browned, the edges of the apples start to brown, and the apples are tender. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. *Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
  8. When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the water or Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. (I used apricot jam and used a whisk to break up large chunks. It could also be strained.)
  9. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

Gougères

I have wanted to try making gougères for what is starting to seem like forever. As they are dangerous items to have around, I needed a crowd to share them with! When we were asked to bring an appetizer to a friend’s birthday party, I finally had my chance.

Of course, the next issue was selecting a version to try. There was a cheese-topped choux pastry from Food and Wine, a version incorporating milk and less cheese from Ina Garten, or this super-cheesy version adapted from Bon Appetit, contributed by Mimi Thorisson. My description reveals how my final decision was made. 😉

Elegant and addictive.

Yield: about 50-60 cheese puffs

  • 6 tablespoons (¾ stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 large eggs
  • 6 ounces (about 1½ cups) grated Comté cheese or Gruyère
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg yolk
  1. Preheat oven to 400°, preferably on convection.
  2. Bring butter, salt, nutmeg, and 1 cup water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring until butter is melted.
  3. Remove from heat, add flour, and stir to combine.
  4. Cook mixture over medium heat, stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon, until mixture pulls away from sides of pan and forms a ball, about 2 minutes.
  5. Continue to cook, stirring vigorously, until a dry film forms on bottom and sides of pan and dough is no longer sticky, about 2 minutes longer.
  6. Remove pan from heat and let dough cool slightly, about 2 minutes.
  7. Mix in whole eggs one at a time, incorporating fully between additions.
  8. Mix in cheese and pepper.
  9. Scrape dough into a piping bag fitted with a ½” round tip (#1A) (alternatively, use a plastic bag with a ½” opening cut diagonally from 1 corner). Pipe 1” rounds about 2” apart onto 2 to 3 parchment-lined baking sheets, as needed.
  10. Whisk egg yolk and 1 tsp water in a small bowl; brush rounds with egg wash.
  11. Bake gougères until puffed and golden and dry in the center (they should sound hollow when tapped), 20–25 minutes.

Note: Dough can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

Make Ahead: Gougères can be baked 2 hours ahead and kept at room temperature; reheat before serving. Alternatively, the baked choux can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days; recrisp in a 325° oven for 10 minutes.

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Raspberry Custard Tart

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I chose to make this lovely tart with my precious hand-picked raspberry harvest. The filling was warm, silky, and tasty – the crust crisp and lemony. I did have difficulty with the caramel sauce; it didn’t include any cream and only had minimal butter to keep it from firming up when cool. After adding cream, the sauce was more successful. Honestly, this simple tart would be perfect even without the sauce! This recipe was adapted from Food and Wine, contributed by Nancy Silverton, the pastry chef of La Brea Bakery and Campanile in Los Angeles.

For the Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 pint fresh raspberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

For the Pastry:

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick cold unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the Filling:

  • 1 pint raspberries, plus more for serving
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
  1. Prepare the sauce: Puree the raspberries in a food processor or blender. Strain the puree through a fine sieve set over a medium bowl and discard the solids. In a small heavy saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, without stirring, until a medium-amber caramel forms, about 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to low and carefully stir in the raspberry puree until smooth. Stir in the butter and cream, then remove from the heat and stir in the salt. Let the raspberry sauce cool completely.
  2. Make the Crust: In a food processor, pulse the flour with the sugar and salt. Cut the butter into 8 pieces and add to the flour; pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolk, lemon juice and zest. Add to the flour mixture and process just until large clumps of dough form. Pat the dough into a disk, wrap in plastic and chill until firm, about 30 minutes.
  3. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough 1/8 inch thick and fit in a 9- or 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Freeze 15 minutes, or until firm.
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°. Line the dough with foil and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake the tart shell for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and weights and bake for 5 minutes longer, or until the pastry is lightly browned on the bottom. Cover the shell loosely with foil if the sides begin to brown too quickly. Let cool completely on a rack.
  5. Make the Custard Filling: Arrange the raspberries in concentric circles over the bottom of the tart shell. In a small bowl, whisk the cream with the egg yolks, sugar and scraped vanilla seeds. Pour the custard into the tart shell. Bake in the middle of the oven for 40 to 55 minutes, or until the custard is set. Let the tart cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes. Serve with fresh raspberries and the raspberry-caramel sauce, if desired.

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