tartlicious tuesday: dorie greenspan’s parisian apple tartlet recipe
Winner for the Gingerbread Food Picks is Jenn at “Baking Jenn”.
We are really enjoying Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook, Baking from My Home to Yours. The recipes are easy, delicious and most are perfect for sharing with your guests this holiday season. For this week’s tart we picked the Parisian apple tartlet for two reasons: It is easy to make and it is absolutely delicious. We are all very familiar with the saying: Less is more. The Parisian apple tartlet provides a fine example of this saying. Two main ingredients: puff pastry and apples. Two supporting roles: brown sugar and butter. Who could ask for a better “cast”?
The Parisian apple tartlet is a perfect dessert for a large crowd. They prepare quickly, bake quickly and can be served warm, topped with creamy vanilla ice cream. If you’d like to add a little sophistication to the tartlet simply add a small sprinkle of cardamom and/or cinnamon and garnish with a homemade caramel sauce.
While making your own puff pastry (pate feuilletee) is challenging, we cannot tell you enough that it is also well worth the time. As we state regularly when posting about tart dough, pie dough or other freezable dough always double the recipe so that you will have extra to freeze for another day. The dough we used here came from the same batch that was used for several other posts. Of course, you can use store bought puff pastry and the Parisian apple tartlet will still be a warm, deliciously sweet and buttery dessert.
Dorie Greenspan’s Parisian Apple Tartlet
1 – 1/8-inch-thick 4-inch circle cold puff pastry
1/2 firm sweet apple, such as a Golden Delicious or Fuji, peeled and cored
light brown sugar
1 teaspoon cold butter, cut into 3 pieces
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat and put the pastry circle on the sheet.
Cut the apple half into 4 chunks and center the chunks on the pastry circle. Sprinkle the apple with 1 or 2 teaspoons brown sugar-depending on how much sweetness you want-and do with the bits of butter.
Bake the tartlet for about 25 minutes (the time will vary depending on how your apple bakes), until the pastry is deeply browned and puffed up around the apple and the apple can be easily pierced with the tip of a knife.
Transfer the baking sheet to a rack and let the tartlet cool-it’s great just a little warm and equally good at room temperature.
Puff Pastry (Pate Feuilletee) from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
1 pound all-purpose flour, accurately weighed
1 pound (4 sticks) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup heavy cream (or 1/2 cup heavy cream mixed with 1/2 cup ice water)
1. Make the butter dough: In the bowl of a food processor or using the flat paddle of an electric mixer, mix 1/2 cup flour with the butter until very smooth. Shape the mixture into a 1-inch-thick flat square, wrap well in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
2. Make the flour dough: In a large mixing bowl, combine salt with the remaining flour, and add cream. Mix the dough well by hand or with an electric mixer; the dough will not be completely smooth, but it should not be sticky. Shape it into a 1 1/2-inch-thick flat square, wrap in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes.
3. Remove the flour dough from the refrigerator. On a lightly floured board, roll the dough into a rectangle twice as long as the butter-dough square. Place the butter dough in the center, fold up the ends of the flour dough to completely encase the butter dough, and seal the edges by pinching them together. Wrap well in plastic, and chill for at least 30 minutes so that the dough achieves the same temperature throughout.
4. Remove the dough from the refrigerator, and on a lightly floured board, roll it out into a large rectangle approximately 1/2 inch thick. Fold the dough into thirds, aligning the edges carefully and brushing off any excess flour. The object is to ensure that the butter is distributed evenly throughout so that the pastry will puff evenly when baked. Wrap the dough, and chill it for at least 30 minutes. This completes one turn.
5. Repeat this process five more times; classic puff pastry gets six turns, creating hundreds of layers of butter between layers of the flour dough (729 to be exact). Use as little flour as possible when rolling out the dough, and always brush off any excess. Remember to let the dough rest for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator between turns, or 15 minutes in the freezer. This chilling makes rolling out the dough much easier and keeps the layers of butter equally thick.
6. By the sixth and final turn, the dough should be very smooth, with no lumps of butter visible. Wrap the pastry in plastic wrap; refrigerate until ready to use (for up to 2 days), or freeze for future use.