You may have been at a bakery and seen beautiful squares of glazed apple tart and been impressed with the gorgeous sheen upon the thinly sliced apples. As you bite into the square, crackles of pastry flake at first bite, followed by the taste of the sweet glaze and tart apples. Simply a bite of perfection. You can make this French Apple Tart at home. It's not as difficult as it may seem, when taking a shortcut.
Making the tart as the pastry shop does is very involved, taking hours to make. They are most likely making their crust using sweet creamy butter and flour, folding and rolling to make the best flaky pastry dough. My shortcut is to use frozen puff pastry. Doing so makes this dessert complete in roughly an hour.
Shortcut French Apple Tart
1 sheet puff pastry, such as Pepperidge Farms
4-5 medium Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, diced into 1/4"-inch pieces
1/2 cup apricot jam or orange marmalade
2 tablespoons brandy or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Thaw the frozen puff pastry according to package directions. Working on a lightly floured surface, unfold the single sheet of puff pastry and roll out to roughly 10x12 inches. Place the dough onto the prepared sheet pan, refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Cut the apples into quarters through the stem. Peel and core the apples, slicing crosswise into 1/4-inch thin slices. Remove the puff pastry from the refrigerator. Working quickly, place the apple slices diagonally down the center of the puff pastry. Continue making diagonal rows down both sides of the first row until the puff pastry is covered in apple slices, filling in the corners with smaller pieces in a decorative fashion. You may have a few leftover apple slices to snack on.
Sprinkle the sugar evenly over the apples. Dot the tiny pieces of butter over the sugared apples. Place the sheet pan into the preheated oven, for 45-55 minutes until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. As the tart is baking, the apple juices may run off of the parchment paper and get very dark*. Not to worry, the tart will be great.
Remove the baked tart from the oven. Heat the jam or marmalade with the brandy or water in a small pan, stirring for a few minutes until combined. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the jam mixture over the apples and edges of the crust. Using a large metal spatula, loosen the tart from the parchment paper, sliding it onto a cutting board. Cool for about 10 minutes and serve, cutting the tart into large squares.
*The apple juices may run off the parchment paper and slightly burn onto the sheet pan. Once the tart is removed from the pan, place the sheet pan in a wide sink, filling the pan with water to soak. The burnt apple juices will hydrate and clean off easily after soaking for about 20-30 minutes.
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