When I moved back to Flagstaff I only brought with me a few books. Since I was hired fairly last minute, I was unable to bring down a lot of my stuff. You’d be surprised at how little, and how much, you can fit into 2 bags to take on the airplane. One of the books that I decided was worth the weight was Professional Baking, a textbook of recipes and information about baking sweet things. My parents bought be this book several years ago, and I love it. While it is sometimes difficult to navigate, I have made many recipes out of this book and they’ve all been fantastic.
The other evening I was leafing through this book and came across a picture of delicious looking tart. The book does not have a ton of pictures of finished products (instead, there is more of a focus on information, recipes, and instructional photos), and this one really grabbed my attention. The next day I went out and bought apples, and last night before making dinner I made this tart.
It’s fantastic. The crust is a fantastic change from my usual butter crust. The text suggested one of two tart shells, reminding the reader that a tart isn’t just a shallow pie. As a result of there being less filling, the flavor of the crust needs to be taken into more consideration when making the tart. I love this new recipe for a tart shell. It’s not that difficult to make, even though there are more ingredients. The dough is still flaky, even though it’s worked more than the butter crust.
Recipe: Caramelized Apple Tart with Vanilla
Tart Crust (makes 2, 11″ shells)
3 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
3/4 c. unsalted butter, chilled and cubed
2 large eggs
4 tsp. water
a splash of vanilla
lemon zest from 1 lemon
6 medium-large cooking apples (I used Gala and Granny Smith)
4 TBS butter
2 tsp. vanilla
1, 11″ unbaked tart shell
1/3 c. sugar
Prepare the tart crust in advance. Stir together the flour, salt, and sugar. Cut the butter into the flour mixture using a pastry cutter, until it resembled coarse crumbs. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, vanilla, and lemon zest until incorporated together. Pour into the flour and butter mixture, stirring gently with a wooden spoon to combine. When it gets to difficult to stir, use your hands to gently ‘knead’ the dough until all the flour is incorporated. Let rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
While the dough for the tart is resting, peel and core the apples. Cut each apple into 8 sections (quarter, and then halve). Heat your butter in a large skillet on medium to medium-high. Throw in the apples, stirring until the apples are lightly browned and soft (but not soggy). About 10-15 minutes. Turn off the heat, and quickly stir in the vanilla. Let cool.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While the apples cool, roll out half your dough (if making the full recipe) large enough to fit over your pan with a little extra on the sides. I usually set my tart pan on top of the rolled out dough to ‘measure.’ Gently place the dough in your tart pan, nudging the dough down the sides. Be careful to not stretch the dough, as it will cause it to shrink in the oven. Let the dough rest for another 15 minutes in the pan. Arrange the apples in the tart crust in a pretty design. I did concentric circles, and then put the ‘extras’ in the middle symmetrically. Pour the sugar evenly over the apples.
Bake for about and hour. Let cool. Take the tart off the pan and place onto a cutting board or serving plate. Serve warm.
This tart would have also been fantastic with vanilla ice cream, or whipped cream. It was also good on it’s own, and reheated for breakfast.