French Apple Tart (Tarte de Pommes a la Normande)
Updated: Mar 4, 2019
My trip to France has inspired so many things in me these days, especially in my cooking. Everything seems to have a French twist to it! My mom's father is French Canadian. Over the years I've done a lot of research on my Ancestry profile. I was floored to discover that my family came from Normandy France back in the mid-1600s to Canada. Can you imagine knowing that your ancestors were amongst the original settlers in New France.... To be honest, I was really rooting for a connection to royalty, but I'll just have to settle on knowing that I'm related to an OG of Canada.
With the holiday season upon us, you'll always find me putting my typically healthy cooking to the side a bit to make way for some traditional baking. My favourite is my French Apple Tart. It has many steps and requires patience, but it truly is worth the work. Ask any of my guests! And it looks divine!
This Christmas Eve was spent with my outlaws. I can joke all I want about them, but they really are one of the big bonuses in marrying my husband. He was raised by two sisters who have more to give than anyone I've ever met. So I always go the extra mile when it comes to bringing over my desserts for them to try. This year was my French Tart, Eclairs and a Tart au Citron. I'll give you the recipes for each, but today I'm featuring the Classic Apple Tart.
Hope you are enjoying this special time of year with the ones you love, whoever they are, and that you're taking time for yourself to recharge your batteries in preparation for 2019!
Let me know if you've tried the recipe and what your thoughts are!
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, cold and cubed
1 egg yolk
3 tbsp cold water, 4 cubes of ice, 1 tsp white vinegar (mix together in cup)
Frangipane (French Almond Custard):
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 egg yolk
2 tbsp Cognac or Grand Marnier
2/3 cup ground almonds
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4-5 medium sweet apples - peeled, cored, halved and thinly sliced
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp white sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup apricot jelly with 1 tsp water (or for another interesting flavor try 4 tbsp each of apricot jelly and birch syrup - this glaze is darker and has amazing contrast to the apricot jelly)
In a medium bowl, stir together 1 1/3 cups of flour and salt. Cut butter into cubes and add. With a pastry cutter or with two knives, cut butter into the flour mixture until the butter is pea sized.
Add 1 egg yolk and mix into the flour mixture. Remove ice cubes from water mixture and begin adding to flour mixture 1 tablespoon at a time. Stir until the mixture forms large clumps. When you press the mixture together in your hand and if it holds a ball shape it's good to go, if not, stir in more water. Kneed a couple of times until the dough forms into a ball on a slightly floured board, but don't handle too much or you'll over work the dough. You want chunks of butter to show through. Now wrap in plastic wrap, flatten slightly and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Frangipane - cream together the butter and 1/2 cup of sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Gradually mix in the egg and the remaining egg yolk one at a time. Stir in 2 tablespoons of cognac or grand marnier. Mix 2 tablespoons of flour into the ground almonds and then mix into the batter.
Pastry Dough - Roll the pastry dough out on a lightly floured surface to the shape of your round or oblong pan. Press into the bottom and up the sides of your pan. Prick with a fork all over, and then roll a pin over the top of the pan to remove excess dough leaving you with a clean edge. Return pastry to the refrigerator to chill for one hour. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
Prepare Apples - Peel apples, core and thinly slice. Toss apples in 2 tbsp of lemon juice, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon and 2 tablespoons of white sugar.
Spoon your frangipane onto the bottom of the pastry. Arrange the apple slices in an overlapping spiral pattern for round tart or in rows for oblong. Be sure to overlap the previous slice of apple onto the next. For round tarts, start at the outside and work towards the centre. Cover the edges of crust with tin foil for first 1/2 of baking to avoid over browning pastry. Place tart on top of baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes at 400 and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for another 20-30 minutes. If apples aren't browned slightly, put under broiler for a few minutes for color. But be sure to keep an eye on it. You don't want it to burn.
Remove from oven and place on wire rack to cool. While our tart is cooling, in a sauce pan melt your apricot jelly with a slash of water. With a pastry brush, gently place jelly over your tart. It will leave your dessert with a beautiful shiny finish.
I serve my tart with a
Hope you love this dessert as much as my family and friends do!