This post is only for “Apple Tarts” but I did do another “A is for Apple” dessert: Apple Tatin! You can find that HERE!
I really LOVE these dessert recipes I found because they are fancy, decadent and delicious! However, they are not super complicated to make, and they don’t require a bunch of ingredients that I will use one time and then never use again.
They both come from Ina Garten and they are her take on French dessert classics.
Now, before you start thinking I’m a wonderful baker… you have to know that I started my apple dessert “adventure” by making a classic apple dessert: Apple Pie. I failed… twice.
I tried to make my own recipes. My bratwurst chili had turned out so wonderful I figured why not try my hand at pies?!
The first pie came out of the oven looking beautiful… a DEEP dish apple pie! To my great disappointment, I cut into the pie and it was WAY too juicy. Even after cooling it all the way it was still like apples floating in sweet juice… not good. You can see how I went from TRIUMPH to DISAPPOINTMENT in these pictures:
The second pie was one I thought was going to be fantastic, but it flopped too: Salted Caramel Apple Pie!! (another one of my own recipes). I was going to do a regular caramel apple pie and then I thought… how can I make this special? unique?… SALTED caramel! I think I’m on to something but this first attempt was not it. The salted caramel I made turned out great… but I over baked the pie and it was too mushy. In this case I think chopping my apples differently and baking it for less time would make it a delectable pie. Layers of sliced apples with caramel in between!!… how could that be bad??! Take a look:
I plan on trying this salted caramel recipe again when I’m no longer burned out on pie-making (or apples for that matter!) I’ll post it when I get it right! 🙂
Burning the caramel apple pie made me giggle because of an Audrey Hepburn scene in Sabrina. She is going to cooking school and she befriends Baron St. Fontanel (an older, friendly man also in her cooking class). He tells her, “A woman happily in love, she burns the souffle. A woman unhappily in love, she forgets to turn on the oven!”
… if you’ve burned something recently, you might just be happily in love 🙂
All this to say… after two flops I gave up on apple pie and moved on to other apple desserts. I was ready to proclaim myself “not a baker”, but then I made these two baking recipes and they turned out so scrumptious that it renewed my spirits… I’m not turning in my baker’s hat just yet!
Apple Tart (Today’s post)
Apple Tatin (Tomorrow’s post… something to look forward to!!)
Basically, you defrost puff pastry and cut it in squares, line the squares with sliced apples, sprinkle sugar and dot butter over the top, and bake! At the end you add a glaze made of jam and water and you’re done! Simple and Delicious!
The first step is taking out 1 package of frozen puff pastry (2 sheets) out of the freezer. They take about 40 minutes to defrost and you need them before you can start your recipe, so do this way before you start to bake. When they are defrosted, unfold and cut each sheet into four equal parts (you will have 8 squares total when you are done). Line TWO rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper and put four squares on each sheet, spacing them out from each other a bit. Stick another piece of parchment paper on top of the squares on one of the sheets and put the other sheet on top of it (stacking the sheets). Stick these in the fridge until you need them!
Here is me prepping one of my sheets:
Once your puff pastry is in the fridge you’re ready to start your apples!
You’ll need 4 small Granny Smith apples (about 6 oz each). You need to peel them and then cut them in half through the stem. You then core the apple using a small knife and/ or a melon baller (I used just a knife). Finally you want to slice the apple in 1/4 inch thick slices (pretty thin but not paper thin!), and you want to slice it crosswise (from top to bottom… basically making horizontal cuts through the apple instead of vertical cuts, which is more typical when slicing apples).
Once the apples are sliced you are ready to put them on your pastry squares. Take both baking sheets out of the fridge and start layering apples diagonally across each square Space them out enough so that you have enough for all the squares (about 6-7 slices per square). You also need two slices facing inward on either side of your diagonal layering (if you are confused take a look at the pictures below or look back at the finished product and hopefully it will make sense to you!)
Sprinkle 3/4 cup sugar EVENLY over the squares. I started with a good dusting of sugar for each square and then went back and gave them all one more light dusting (you want a good coating of sugar as this is what caramelizes in the oven and makes these tarts so yummy!!… even so, they really were not too sweet and I used the whole 3/4 cup!… it just seems like a lot at the time).
Then, cut off 6 tablespoons from a COLD stick of butter. You want to cut this into thirds, turn it once, and then cut it into thirds again. Then when you slice it into tablespoons it will give you little squares of butter. Dot each pastry with 6-7 little squares of butter (basically you want the butter distributed as evenly as possible amongst your squares).
DONE! Well, almost…
Pop BOTH pans in the oven for 40 minutes. After 20 minutes I rotated my trays (moving the one on top to the bottom and the one on bottom to the top). Don’t worry if the juices in the pan start to burn a bit… you are NOT burning the tarts!
During the last 10 minutes of cook time, measure out 3/4 cup of Apricot jelly into a small saucepan. Add 3 TBSP Calvados rum (or water, which is what I used) and put the heat over medium to medium-low heat. When it starts to bubble give it a good whisk and you’re ready to glaze your tarts!
Take the tarts out of the oven and brush each one completely (apples and pastry!) with the apricot mixture. Use a metal spatula to move the tarts from the cooking sheet to a serving plate and allow them to cool.
You can serve them warm or at room temperature so you can definitely make these ahead of time!
Don’t they look so much more difficult to make? Click here for Ina Garten’s official recipe! If you want to make your own pastry for an apple tart she has a recipe for that too! It’s called a French Apple Tart. I haven’t tried it so I can’t give you any tips, but I’m sure it’s delicious! Click here if you want that recipe!
The other dessert… “Apple Tatin” will be posted tomorrow! You’ve got to try BOTH these apple desserts!