A couple of days ago, when I started to get bored with the umpteenth jar of Apple Sauce, I decided to look for a new light apple dessert recipe. I decided to make an apple tart from the famous Joël Robuchon’s cookery book (Le meilleur et le plus simple de Joël Robuchon). Imagine my surprise (and pride!) when I noticed that his idea was very similar to what I thought I had invented a couple of weeks ago when making a plum tart! For those who don’t remember, I was very proud of the result obtained with with a combination of plum butter and raw plums. Here, in Robuchon’s recipe, a layer of apple sauce is covered with thin raw apple slices.
This tart is what the French call “Tarte Fine”, i.e. very thin (mine was maybe 1,5 cm thick), with a very thin layer of fruit and usually without a border (I didn’t have a bigger baking dish, so my border was simply lower than usually). Thanks to the combination of apple sauce and raw apples, the flavours are surprisingly complex and the difference in three textures particularly enjoyable. (I also particularly liked this tart because it forced me to buy an apple core remover, one of the kitchen gadgets I didn’t own.)
The only arduous parts here might be cutting very thin apple slices and removing cores. Both can be very quick and simple if you have a mandolin and an apple core remover. If, like me, you have very good apple variety (I used here King of the Pippins, or “reine de reinettes” in French), you don’t need to add any spices. If your apples are slightly bland and lack aroma, add some vanilla. (The below recipe is slightly modified).
apple core remover
Preparation: 1 hour 30 or 2 hours if you make the apple sauce from the scratch
1 puff pastry sheet (rolled out very thinly, e.i. about 3 mm)
7 apples (for the best aesthetic result they should have more or less the same size) + 3 tablespoons sugar , or 200 ml sweetened applesauce + 4-5 apples
2 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
2 tablespoons caster sugar
a couple of tablespoons melted butter
(2 vanilla pods)
If you are making apple sauce, peel and core 4 apples, cut them into small pieces, add the grated vanilla grains, the sugar, 3 tablespoons water and let them simmer on a low heat until they fall into pieces and form a sauce.
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a greased (or lined with baking paper) baking dish with puffed pastry.
Pick the surface with a fork, cover with aluminium foil or baking paper covered with dry beans (so that the pastry doesn’t rise too much) and blind bake it (until the pastry is firm but still white).
Spread the apple sauce on the tart crust.
Peel the remaining apples, core them and slice very thinly with a mandolin or with a knife, but the slices shouldn’t be thicker than 2 mm.
Arrange the slices on the apple sauce, overlapping each other, so that both the apple sauce and the central hole are covered.
Brush the tart with melted butter, sprinkle with 2 tablespoons caster sugar and bake until the apple slices start browning.
Take out of the oven and just before serving sprinkle once more with confectioner’s sugar and put under the grill/broiler (watch it constantly since it’s very easy to burn!).
Serve hot or warm (it tastes great with vanilla ice-cream).