If my childhood was a pastry it would be it….when working your way through a slice, the best few bites are definitely the last, where apples and frangipane meet golden, crumbly crust just sturdy enough to hold it all together. I can’t quite say why I decided on this tart for this dinner. But the thought and care it would take to make it–to blanch and grind almonds, to ready the crust, to slice the apples and arrange them just so–appealed to me then. It would be a labour, I knew….
Apple Frangipane Tart
FOR THE TART DOUGH :
8 tablespoons (113 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup (50 g) sugar
1 egg, separated, the white lightly beaten
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 cups (180 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1/8 teaspoon salt
FOR THE FILLING :
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup (110 g) finely ground almonds
7 tablespoons (100 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
2 large eggs
2 Granny Smith apples (or another tart apple of your choice)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
FOR THE GLAZE :
1/2 cup apricot jam
2 tablespoons water
To make the tart shell, cream the butter and sugar together in a small bowl until light and fluffy. In a small glass, combine the egg yolk and cream, then add to the butter mixture in thirds, incorporating well after each addition. Add the flour and salt, mixing just until incorporated. At this point, the dough should be pale yellow and rather soft, like cookie dough.
Cover and chill in the fridge for at least an hour (or overnight). Place the dough on a floured sheet of parchment paper and roll it out into a 12-inch round, lifting the dough from the parchment occasionally to prevent sticking. Transfer to a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Trim the over hang to half an inch and fold inwards to double the thickness of the sides. Seal any cracks with remaining dough. (Alternatively, gently press the dough into an even layer across the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan.) Pierce dough all over with a fork. Return, covered, to the fridge for 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter the shiny side of a large square of aluminium foil and fit the foil tightly to the crust, buttered side down. Fill the tart shell with pie weights or dried beans. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until crust is light golden in colour. Remove pie weights and foil and allow to cool for a few minutes. Then, brush the bottom and sides with a little beaten egg white. Allow to cool completely before filling. To prepare the tart for baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the frangipane, cream together the butter and sugar in a medium bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add the flour and almonds to the mixture and incorporate. Spoon the filling into the tart shell in an even layer and smooth the top.Peel and core the apples, then cut in half through the vertical axis. Cut slices, about 1/8 of an inch thick, from the halves. Reserve a few small, pretty slices to use at the centre of the tart–those are the ones that will be fully visible. Layer the remaining slices on top of the frangipane, working from the outside in. Finish with the reserved slices.
Sprinkle with the cinnamon (it will look like an awful lot but not to worry). Bake the tart for 32-35 minutes or until the filling is firm but still moist–the tart will still wobble slightly in the centre. Allow to cool.To make the glaze, heat the jam and water in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring until incorporated. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve, then return to the pan and bring it to a boil. While the glaze is still hot, brush over the cooled tart.