Apple pie is one of those things that’s done and re-done and done again with good reason. The effort to satisfaction ratio is a winner, it goes with just about anything else you could put on your table, great apples are easy to find all year round (and are never wildly expensive unlike, say, out of season blackberries), and it’s hard to find someone who hates apple pie because it is, like so many things that are done maybe too often, so good.
But sometimes, even when it comes to these always-favorite things, we want something a little different. You don’t, after all, want to wear them out with too much use. (See: The Year of Too Many Maple Syrup Sandwiches. Impossible? Possible.) Even the most ardent of apple pie lovers (like Lou) don’t want to see one on every. single. holiday table.
So maybe, you need something that makes a more impressive entrance (without being anymore difficult to actually make), something that won’t disappear into the typical holiday or party dessert table landscape. Or maybe, you want to get out of your apple-pie-spice funk, delicious as it might be. Or maybe, you’re one of those mysterious people who doesn’t love the way cooked pie fruit gets soft and juicy and seeps into the bottom crust (we will never fully understand each other, friends) and you need something different texture-wise.
Maybe, you want to try our awesome Almond-Apple Tart.
Apples and almonds are practically soulmates. Almonds bring out the very best in the fruit—all those things that are there in the background but don’t quite pop until they’re put side by side. They’re the Catherine Boyd to apples’ Ed Walters, the Linda Seton to their Johnny Case, the music to their Richard Simmons, the Pacey to their Joey, the Dr. Joel Fleischman to their Maggie O’Connell, the maple syrup to, well…anything. True love, right here in your very own 14-inch removable-bottom tart tin. Get it while it’s hot (or, actually…slightly warm or room temperature, but you get the idea).
* * * *
A 14-inch tart tin with removable bottom
A food processor
A fine mesh sieve
A pastry brush
-1 recipe of pâte sucrée—get the recipe in this post: https://leeandloucook.com/2013/08/13/cherry-apricot-and-pistachio-tart/
– 1 1/4 cup blanched almonds
– 3/4 cup granulated sugar plus 2 tbs
– 6 tbs butter at room temperature, plus 2 tbs set aside
– 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (don’t use the imitation stuff)
– 1/2 tsp pure almond extract (same deal)
– pinch of salt
– 5 of your favorite kind of apples, or mix it up and use different kinds (Pink Lady apples are one of our favorites—if your apples are small get a couple extra.)
– juice of 1/2 a lemon
– 1/3 cup apricot preserves
– 3 tbs Calvados (apple brandy)
* Preheat oven to 375°F.
* Make your pâte sucrée, following the recipe all the way through the part where you’ve fitted the dough in to the tart pan and sliced off the excess.
* Put dough in the refrigerator to chill.
* Peel apples and slice them very thinly—about 1/8 inch thick. The measurement doesn’t need to be precise, but try to make all the slices about the same thickness.
* Mix lemon juice and 1/2 tbs of sugar with apples in a non-reactive bowl (glass, ceramic, stainless steel). Set aside.
* Clean your food processor and dry it well. Add the almonds, 3/4 cup of sugar, and pinch of salt to the bowl of the processor and blend until you have a uniform powder.
* Add 6 tbs of room temperature butter and blend until you have a smooth paste with almond grains throughout.
* Add vanilla and almond extracts and process to blend.
* Take your tart dough out of the fridge and using an offset spatula, spread the almond mixture evenly over the bottom.
* Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles, overlapping them so that they face the same direction. If you like, you can alternate the way the slices face from circle to circle. (You could absolutely make up your own design.) When you get to the center, cut a circle (or shape you want) out of an apple slice and and put it in the middle.
* Break the remaining 2 tbs of butter into small pieces and scatter across the apples.
* Sprinkle the tart with last 2 tbs of sugar.
* Bake for about an hour or until apples are golden brown (edges can be a little browner but not burned). Give it a check after 45 minutes, though, just to see how it’s doing. When you put the tart in the oven, you’re going to want to slide a piece of aluminum foil underneath the tart (either on the rack below or directly underneath the tart) and fold the edges up in case of any juices boiling over.
* Take the tart out of the oven and set on a rack to cool.
* Heat apricot jam and the Calvados, stirring until warm and liquid, to create your glaze. Strain solids out. Gently brush the glaze evenly over the apples.
* When the tart is cool enough to handle, pop the tart out of the tart shell.
* Serve when ready!
©2014 Lee and Lou Cook. All rights reserved.
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