Rustic French Apple Tart
Like an apple pie without the pan, this French apple tart consists of a thin layer of cinnamon-scented apples atop a buttery, flaky crust.
When we think of French desserts, we usually imagine fancy pâtisseries with pyramids of pastel-colored macarons and glossy fruit tarts. But when the French bake at home, they keep it simple.
The recipes are often centuries old and passed down through the generations. In fact, the recipes are so tried and true, she writes, “many French women make them without recipes, or au pif.” This free-form French apple tart is something the French might throw together au pif, or by feel. Like an apple pie without the pan, it consists of a thin layer of cinnamon-scented apples atop a buttery, flaky crust.
I know the mere mention of a homemade pastry crust and rolling pin is enough to send some people running for the hills but, rest assured, this tart relies on a dough that’s virtually foolproof and easy to roll to out — and it comes together in a food processor in under a minute. And the beauty of a free-form tart is that you don’t have to fuss over crimping the dough into a pie plate: you simply fold it casually over the fruit. The charm of this dessert lies in its imperfections.
- 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) very cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/4 cup very cold water
- 1-3/4 lbs baking apples (3 large)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 egg, beaten
- 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar
- 1 tablespoon apricot jelly or jam, optional for glaze