Happy New Year! Was not feeling too well yesterday, but a gal must soldier on. A pretty dress, bubbly and great friends await!D & I were invited to a friend's place for a potluck New Year's celebration. Bringing some vino or a nice dessert would have been easy, but I've been meaning to do a couple of things:
- troubleshoot my apple tart recipe
- have a reason to use my handy-dandy apple corer
I love my gadgets - and I love my apple corer! It's an Oxo Good Grips Corer - purchased it a couple of months back. Check out my stuff, under food prep for more info. I bought this particular corer because I'm a total America's Test Kitchen fan, the equipment rating is my favorite section and they say this is one rockin' corer. And you know what? It's true - it easily breaks through the flesh of the fruit and grips comfortably. I don't typically give in to my gadget whims so easily because I don't want to clutter up the kitchen. But I make the tart often enough to justify making space for this device. I cut my apples into halves instead of quarters to get even pieces. Using the corer yields a uniform(pretty) look. Another option is to cut the apple in half and use a melon baller or spoon to scoop out the core. Anyways, off with the promotions and on to troubleshooting :P
Problem: the sugars in the tart does not caramelize, the apples cook and the pastry puffs but there's none of the golden slightly burned edges that looks rustic and yummy! My game plan was to bake the the tart till about done and crank up the broiler. Granted I woke up my roommate from an afternoon nap with the smoke alarm- but I achieved success! No words needed, just check out the goods below... hehe
My humble offering at the party was well liked. The pastry was just crisp enough to hold the tart together, look for that "crunch!" when you cut into it. Its not too sweet so you can enjoy it by itself, with cheese or a great quality vanilla ice cream. I invite you to give it a try sometime!
Adapted from Ina Garten, Back to Basics
I typically make the pastry for this, but had some extra store-bought frozen puff pastry from my grad party a couple of weeks ago. They worked beautifully for this look. If you are baking 2 tarts, bake them one at a time. Having 2 tarts in the oven prevents the pastry at the top from fully baking. Keep a close eye once you activate the broiler.
1 frozen puff pastry*
5 medium size apples, sliced 1/4 inch thick (2 lbs)
3 tablespoons frozen butter, diced small
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apricot jelly or apricot jam
3 tablespoons of rum or water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Poke the puff pastry all over if it already isn't so, this helps release the steam of the pastry. Arrange the apple slices on the pastry. Sprinkle evenly with the sugar (use all of it). Place the butter throughout the pastry. Bake the tart for 45 minutes. If the tart has achieved your desired color, do not turn broil it.
Broil: If your tart has properly baked (puff pastry has risen and apples baked) yet it still does not have the color you desire, turn on the broiler. This will go really quick so keep a close eye. How long depends on how powerful your broiler is, it takes about 2 minutes with mine. Once it's done, set aside and let it cool.
Meanwhile, heat the apricot jelly/jam and the rum/water. You just want the syrup so strain it if you are using apricot jam. Brush the tart completely with syrup. Loosen up the tart with a metal spatula to prevent it from sticking. Serve warm or at room temperature.
*Stay tuned for my tart pastry recipe, if you are using your own pastry cut it to about 11"x14".