Without a doubt fall is here. As much as I love summer, I so look forward to this time of year. The air is wonderfully crisp, the leaves change to all shades of red, orange, and yellow and it turns into apple season. I was hoping to get my apple fix at the annual Apple Fest last week but since I missed it, I decided to make my own apple treat at home. Construction in the kitchen has calmed down and I finally have my table back! I am back in business.
Originally I was going to go for a classic pie but I decided something a little different was in order. I can always buy a pie but it’s a little harder to find a rustic apple tart especially one filled with hazelnut frangipane. This tart is a great combination of what the perfect autumn dessert should have – a buttery crust that is sturdy enough to encase its contents, but delicate enough to melt in your mouth, and a filling that is just sweet enough but satiating.
Recipe below, courtesy of Jacques Pepin (so you know it’s gonna be good ;)). I made some changes which I’ll mention after the recipe.
Apple Tart With Hazelnut Frangipane
* 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
* 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, very cold and cut into thin slices
* 1 teaspoon sugar
* Dash salt
* 2 tablespoon cold water
For the filling:
* 1 cup shelled hazelnuts
* 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
* 1 large egg
* 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
* Dash vanilla
* 4 large russet apples (about 2 pounds)
* 1 cup apricot preserves
* 1 tablespoon calvados or water
* Plain cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
For the dough:
Mix the flour, butter, sugar, and salt quickly with your fingertips until the butter is in pieces about the size of dried beans. Quickly stir the water into the mixture and then gather up the dough onto a sheet of plastic wrap and press it into a flat dish shape. Refrigerate dough for 1 hour.
Line a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan with parchment or a silicon pad. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface into a rectangle about 15-inches long by 10-inches wide, with rough edges. Roll the dough up onto your rolling pin and then unroll it directly onto the lined pan.
Roast the hazelnuts on a cookie sheet for 7 or 8 minutes. Transfer the nuts to a food processor, add the 1/4 cup sugar, egg, 1 tablespoon butter, and vanilla, and process until a creamy paste forms. Spread the frangipane on the dough, stopping about 1 1/2-inches from the outer edge on all sides.
Peel the apples, remove the cores, and cut them into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange them attractively in a slightly overlapping pattern, like the tiles of a roof, on the pastry dough so that the apples cover the frangipane. Fold the edge of the dough back over the apples to make a 1 to 1 1/2-inch border of dough. Increase the oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the apples, letting a little of the sugar fall onto the border to help crystallize the dough. Break the remaining 2 tablespoons butter into pieces and scatter them over the tart. Bake for 1 hour. The dough should be nicely crystallized all over.
Remove the finished tart from the oven and cool on a rack until lukewarm. Dilute the apricot preserves with the calvados or water and glaze the surface of the tart, spreading it carefully on the apples with the underside of a spoon. Serve at room temperature cut into little wedges, with plain cream, sour cream, creme fraiche, or ice cream, if desired.
Modifications – So based on comments posted for this recipe, i made 1.5x the recipe for the dough. So glad I did since this was just enough to roll out to the dimensions mentioned above. I also used a stand up mixer to make the dough and needed to double the amount of water to make the dough come together. Start out with the indicated amount and if it looks too dry then add extra water in small increments if need be. Granny Smith Apples were used instead of Russet Apples and for the finishing touches, I wanted to give the dough a little gloss so I egg washed the crust and sprinkled turbinado sugar all over the top for a bit more texture and crunch. Also, I barely used 1/2 a cup of the apricot jam to glaze the apples, much less the whole cup so just keep that in mind if you’re on the fence on whether or not you need to buy another jar of jam when shopping. Next combination to try – pears and almond frangipane.