First of all, let me apologize for being silent the past 2 weeks. This broken fingertip thing is a real issue when it comes to typing! I only have 2 fingers and a thumb on my right hand (yes, my dominant hand - my broken finger is buddy taped to my pinky finger) and I am used to having all digits available to type. So, I find typing a bit frustrating right now but I shall do my best! I must break the silence of my blog!
Our challenge this week for Tuesdays with Dorie was French Apple Tart. The recipe can be found on pages 379-381 of the book, Baking with Julia, or you can find it on our hostess Gaye's blog, Laws of the Kitchen.
Yum. You start off by making the crust, which uses the Flaky Pie Dough recipe on page 31 of the book. This is not my favorite crust recipe, which may be found here, however I made it this past summer with the Blueberry-Nectarine Pie and knew I could find success. I did change it up a bit this time. I did the crust in the mixer instead of the food processor (which is what I usually do) and after mixing I feared it had gotten TOO mixed - it just looked too uniform. I feared that I had lost my important crust components, those chunks of butter. So, instead of adding the cup of water that the recipe suggests, I added 1/2 cup vodka and 1/2 cup water. The vodka helps with the flaky factor. Whether it was the vodka or what, I am not sure, but the crust did end up being light and flaky! Yahoo! Big yahoo actually, as the crust recipe is for 4 crusts and this tart only uses 1 so I now have 3 more in the freezer!
Then you have to start peeling apples. And peeling apples, and peeling apples! This is very difficult to do with a bum hand, I must say. But guess what?!? I guess since I was being so careful, or for some other miraculous reason, I was able to peel an entire apple in one strip!! I really did! Here is the proof:Ta-da! I will admit that this was one of the last apples I peeled (it was for the topping) and I had taken my splint off at this point. I will also admit that I put that splint right back on after this, as this process was painful! Forget the pain though, I peeled an apple in ONE STRIP! I've never done that before! Hip-hip-hooray!
Okay, back to the tart. 6 peeled apples are cut up, mixed with some sugar, flour, cinnamon, some bread crumbs (I used panko) and lemon juice, and then baked until the apples are soft. The recipe said 15-20 minutes, it was closer to 25+ minutes for me. Mash up that combination, add some more lemon juice, and there you have your filling. It somehow bakes up in the tart almost like a custard! I would almost say it is creamy but there isn't any actual cream to it. It is soft and delicious, I can tell you that. The filling is put into the baked and cooled crust and then the topping is made.
The topping is made of, you guessed it, more peeled apples. These apples are cut really thin and fanned in two circles atop the filling. Then you brush the apples with butter, sprinkle with sugar (I used vanilla sugar) and into the oven it goes. Again, the recipe said 25-30 minutes, for me it was closer to 45 minutes. The variance in time could be my oven... I often suspect it is not staying at the right temperature.
It may seem like this recipe has a lot of steps but it really doesn't. The hardest part is peeling all of those apples, which would be easier if you used one of those apple peeler/corer things! Besides being delicious, this tart has a visual "wow" factor. Give it a shot and impress your friends!!
If you want to see what other members of our Tuesdays with Dorie group thought of the recipe, head to the TWD blog and click on the "LYL: French Apple Tart" tab!