Rustic Apple Tart Celebrates the Seaon
Bakers, turn on your ovens and celebrate. Baking season is finally here.
Fall’s cool weather means a hot oven no longer overheats the house. Now, we can literally bake at will.
This year, I’m launching my baking season by making a rustic apple tart, a.k.a. galette (gah-let, French) or crostata (crow-stah-ta, Italian). A rustic tart has a freeform shape, flaky crust and shingled layer of sugar-glazed fruit. It’s easy to make, needs no special baking pan and, for novice pastry makers, it is quite forgiving.
Simply make and roll out pastry dough into a rectangle-like shape (this is the forgiving part).
Then, layer fruit in the center, sprinkle with sugar and dot with butter. Finally, roll up the edges and bake for about an hour.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Today, I’m sharing the Rustic Apple Tart recipe I’ve made dozens of times over the past four years. It captures the sweet, tart and cinnamon flavors of a traditional apple pie. Be creative with the filling – most fall fruits are great for baking. If I’m down to my last few apples, I’ll pair them with pears or plums. I also mix apple varieties, using whatever I have on hand, or use an all-plum or all-pluot filling.
I adapted the recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s French Apple Tart. Use my technique for making the dough or your own tried and true method. I boost the apple pie flavors by adding orange zest and cinnamon to the sugar mixture. Finally, if you’re like me and don’t always have apricot jam in the pantry, I give two options for finishing the tart: simple syrup or apricot glaze.
Food Fact: A pluot (plew-ott) is a cross between plums and apricots. Because they are mostly plum, pluots look like plums with smooth skin and hues that range from black and deep purple to mottled red and pink. The flesh is more like an apricot: sweet, juicy, soft and grainy. Pluots are perfect fruits for eating and baking.
Your turn: Raise your hand if you love to bake with apples. What are your favorite apple varieties for eating and baking? What heritage or heirloom varieties are available where you live?
Rustic Apple Tart Recipe from CHEFS Mix
Adapted from Barefoot Contessa’s French Apple Tart
Note: Because pastry dough requires cold ingredients, I chill the flour, salt, sugar and butter in the freezer about 30 minutes before I’m ready to begin. If you don’t have a food processor, use a hand-held pastry blender or blending fork to cut butter into the flour mixture. Add ice water per the directions and mix lightly with a fork or spatula until dough comes together.
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon sea salt or ½ teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar
12 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cold and diced
3/4 cup ice water
4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Zest from one orange
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cold and diced
Glaze – Option 1:
1/2 cup apricot jelly or jam
2 tablespoons Calvados, rum or water
Glaze – Option 2:
½ cup simple syrup
1. Set up food processor with multipurpose blade. Into food processor bowl, add flour, salt and sugar. Pulse a few seconds to combine. Add the chilled butter and pulse 6 to 8 times in 1-second pulses. Mixture will resemble coarse meal with pea-sized bits of butter.
2. Sprinkle 1/4 cup plus 4 tablepoons of ice water over the dough. Pulse 3 times. Dough will begin to clump. Add more ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time. After each addition, pulse 2 times, remove lid and pinch dough. If dough holds together, it’s ready. If it doesn’t, add another tablespoon of water, pulse and test again until dough holds together.
3. Remove dough and place on a floured board. Gather dough into one mound, kneading gently. Do not over work the dough. Shape dough into a disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. Do ahead: dough will keep for 3 or 4 days in the refrigerator or up to 2 months in the freezer.
4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
5. Remove dough from refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for 5 minutes to soften slightly. Place dough on a pastry board lightly dusted with flour. Roll into a rectangle or oval shape, about 10 by 14-inches. Gently wrap the dough around the rolling pin and place it carefully on a baking sheet lined with a large sheet of parchment paper. Place baking sheet with dough in the refrigerator while you prepare the apples.
6. Peel and core apples. Cut apples in half and slice crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices. Remove baking sheet with dough from the refrigerator. Starting at one side, layer apples in rows, making sure the apples overlap slightly to create a shingled look. Leave a 1-inch border of dough all the way around. Dice cold butter into small pieces. In small bowl, mix together sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Sprinkle sugar mixture evenly over the apples and dot with butter. Carefully roll-up the pastry edge to create a raised border that will help prevent juices from leaking.
7. Bake 45 minutes to 1 hour, rotating baking sheet halfway through the baking cycle. When done, the crust is golden brown and the apples are caramelized.
8. Make glaze. To make the apricot glaze, heat jam or jelly with Calvados, rum or water in small saucepan. If using simple syrup for the glaze, heat syrup in small saucepan.
9. Brush glaze over hot apples and crust.
10. Slide tart off parchment paper and onto cooling rack. Let cool for about 15 minutes. Slice and serve.
UPDATE: To print our Rustic Apple Tart recipe, click here. Scroll down to the end of the recipe for printing instructions.