Last week, there was buttery flakey goodness in savory form. This week, there is more buttery flakey goodness, but dessert style this time. It’s apple season and this is my favorite way to enjoy it – French apple tartlets. Sliced apples and almond frangipane get nestled inside a golden, slightly sweet crust. I keep it casual by not trying to arrange the apple slices in fancy patterns and by folding over any excess dough galette style rather than trimming it off. The smaller size makes it easier for serving (or sharing in case you want to pass on a couple of tartlets to some friends).
Pies and tarts (especially apple ones) have a special place in my heart because one of the first things my husband made for me when we started dating was an apple pie with a homemade crust. I was already impressed just by the fact that he wanted to make dinner for me but then to add a real pie to the deal was an offer I couldn’t refuse. Homemade pie crusts were still a mystery to me back then so I was extra impressed. Between being handsome and incredibly charming plus being able to bake awesome desserts – I was smitten from the beginning. After nearly twenty years of marriage (we celebrated our 19 year anniversary last week), he’s only gotten better.
- 1 scant cup almond flour
- ¼ cup sugar
- Pinch of salt
- 4 tablespoons butter, softened, cut into big pieces
- 1 egg
- 1¼ cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch cubes
- ¼ teaspoon table salt
- 4-5 Golden Delicious apples
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 tablespoons seedless apricot jam, optional
- Vanilla ice-cream for serving, optional
- In a food processor, blend together almond flour, sugar, salt, butter and egg until mixture is fairly smooth. Transfer to a storage container and chill.
- In a food processor, blend together flour, sugar, butter, and salt just until mixture resembles coarse crumbs with some roughly pea-size butter lumps. Drizzle 3 tablespoons ice water evenly over the mixture and pulse in processor until incorporated.
- Squeeze a small handful together. If it doesn't hold together, add more ice water, ½ tablespoon at a time, pulsing until just incorporated, then test again. I usually end up using 4 tablespoons of water.
- Gather dough together into a ball, then flatten into a ½-inch thick disk. Wrap dough in plastic and chill until firm, about 1 hour.
- Roll out dough into a large thin round on a lightly floured surface with a floured rolling pin. Using a bowl or plate as a guide, cut out 3 7-inch circles. It does not have to be perfect - the uneven edges give the tarts a nice rustic look. Transfer the rounds to 3 (4-1/4 inch diameter) tartlet pans with removable bottoms. Ease dough into the pans and pat firmly into the bottoms and up the sides letting any extra dough hang over the sides. Gather dough scraps and roll out another thin round large enough to cut out another 7-inch circle. Fit dough into fourth 6-inch tartlet pan. Chill dough in tartlet pans until firm, about 30 minutes.
- While the dough is chilling, prepare the apples. First, peel all the apples. Then cut each apple top to bottom as close to the core as possible without cutting through the core. Use a melon baller to scoop out any seeds or parts of the core. Slice each apple half into ¼-inch slices. Keep the slices together as you cut. This makes transferring the slices to the pans easier.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Remove tartlet pans from the fridge. Spread a layer of frangipane in the bottom of each tartlet (I use about 1 tablespoon per tartlet). Arrange apple slices on top of the frangipane. Fold any dough hanging over the edges of the pans back onto the apples; crimping dough as necessary.
- Brush tartlets with the melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.
- Bake in oven for 40-50 minutes until crusts are golden brown and apples have softened. Transfer baked tartlets to a wire rack to cool.
- If doing the apricot glaze - warm apricot jam in the microwave for 15-20 seconds (it just needs to be warm enough so that it can be brushed). Using a pastry brush, brush jam on warm tartlets.
- Let tartlets cool before serving then serve with vanilla ice-cream, if desired.
I don't usually end up using the full tablespoon of sugar when sprinkling it on the tartlets. I just sprinkle until it looks good.
Recipe adapted from Alexandra Cooks.