Monday, August 1, 2011

Apple Tart

Mothers (especially Jewish ones) live with guilt. A lot of guilt.

Was I too tough on my son last night when he threw a fit at bath time? I mean, who says you need to shower EVERY day?

Was it unreasonable to refuse to let my almost-twelve-year-old stay up past midnight to play Boggle with our guests?

So us mothers welcome the opportunity to cleanse ourselves of some of the guilt. By giving in and making our kids happy, we feel less guilty. Pardoned. Absolved.

And that's really how this tart came to be. I was feeling guilty for working late. Serving the kids mac-and-cheese one night too many. Being too tired to take my girls to the mall.

When my daughter asked for an apple tart, I jumped at the opportunity.

And I'm glad I did.

Apple Tart, adapted from The Art of Simple Food (If you don't own this cookbook, buy it NOW)This recipe makes enough dough for two tarts. I always make a double batch of dough. I find it easier to work with and it's always a welcome surprise to find a buttery dough in my freezer. You can use the other half for another apple tart, later, or for a more savory preparation like this Onion Tart. Oh, and if you're wondering if you can make this with margarine or coconut oil, please don't. The pure buttery taste is part of its magic.

The Dough
2 cups white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup ice cold water
1 1/2 sticks cold butter

The Topping
3 apples (I used two Granny Smith and one Gala)
3 tablespoons melted butter
5 tablespoons raw Turbinado sugar, divided

First, make the dough. Combine the flour and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the cold butter into small (1/4 inch or so) cubes. Work the butter into the flour with your fingertips. When it's worked in and coarsely crumbly, slowly add about 3/4 of the ice water. Mix it in with a fork and then switch to mixing with your fingers. You'll want the dough to hold together. Add more water if you need to but you should not need more than 1/2 cup. Divide the dough in half, bring each dough together in a ball, and wrap each ball in an individual piece of saran wrap. Once wrapped, flatten each ball to make a disk. Refrigerate for at least an hour or as long as two days. Or, freeze for up to three months. (Return the fridge a few hours before you're ready to use it.)

Next, make the filling. Peel the apples and slice them into 1/4 inch thick slices. 

Preheat the oven to 350*. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 

Flour a work surface and roll out ONE of your dough disks into a 14-inch round. To move it from your work surface to your baking sheet, fold the round in half and then in quarters. This is a wonderful technique I learned from Alice Waters which has taken all the frustration out of rolling out pies.

Once the dough is on the baking sheet, lay the apple slices in a pretty pattern, leaving a 1-inch border. Fold the dough border over the apples and then brush the butter all over the border. Pat the remaining butter onto the apples. 

Sprinkle the entire tart - crust and filling - with the raw sugar. 

Bake for 50-60 minutes until the crust is beginning to brown and the apples look soft. Cool for at least a few minutes before serving. (Note that this tart is also wonderful at room temperature or even from the fridge the next day, if you have any leftover.)


  1. Oh, yummy yummy! I think my aunt was telling me about something like this she makes.

  2. It is beautiful and rustic and just simply perfect! I love the simplicity of it! Great post

  3. Oh Yum. Apple pie/tart is my favorite type of dessert. This looks so simple. My kids won't eat desserts like this! The dilemma is -- is it worth making it just for myself?! Or is it a golden opportunity to make it knowing I get to eat the whole thing myself?!

    This is the perfect recipe to get me thinking about the holidays.

  4. Good bye guilt! Well, for now...we are mothers after all. :) Such a beautiful tart.

  5. It's nice to hear Jewish mothers feel guilt too. Because goodness knows they certainly know how to impart it on their children!

  6. A buttery, flaky, scrumptious tart can make all right with the world! I'm convinced of it.

  7. Looks so beautiful - I was thinking of making one today so I can use up the many, many gala apples I have on hand. This post gives me the final push I needed to go ahead. .

  8. Hi Rivki, I've always wanted to make a tart like this, but have never been inspired, until now! It looks divine!

  9. I love a tart like this. Everyone knows it's home made and filled with goodness. It's perfect.

  10. That looks great! I'm looking forward to all the new crop of apples that will be with us soon.

  11. I will need to get this book. Thanks!

  12. That looks gorgeous! So simple and perfect.

    Although I am not Jewish, I suffer from a similar affliction known as Catholic guilt, so I can sympathize. :)

  13. I love apple tarts, and you are right about there being no real substitute for butter! This looks perfect.

  14. This is easy, gorgeous, and I can eat cooked apples without a bad reaction. Perfect!

    So glad to have found you through This Little Piggy's site.

  15. Well, I have a good dose of Catholic guilt and I am certainly not above curing with good food! This tart looks delicious!

  16. Besides egg tarts, apple tarts are my favorite as well. I always try to include fruits in various dishes and this recipe has just been added on my list of apple tarts. Thanks for the mouth-watering post.

  17. Italian mothers have that same guilt! Wow, I saw myself with my children while reading this! I love your step by step photos; made me want to run home and bake an apple tart!

  18. Mormon mothers often have a masters degree in Guilt! But I know a yummy treat when I see it, this looks delish. I'll have to check out that cookbook.

  19. ohh that looks so good! my mum does that too, every time she scolds us, the next day we get a really nice treat. (:

  20. What a coincidence! I made a similar tart tartain a few months ago. So delish!

  21. This is gorgeous - now I have a craving to make my own!


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