Sweet Pastry Crust: Place the butter in your mixer and beat
until softened. Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Gradually add the egg, beating just until incorporated. (Don’t
over mix or the butter will separate and lighten in color.) Add
flour and salt and mix just until it forms a ball. (Don’t
overwork or pastry will be hard when baked.) Flatten dough into
disk, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate about one hour or
Have ready an 8 – 9 inch (20 – 23 cm) tart pan with removable
bottom. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into
an 11 – 12 inch (28 – 30 cm) circle that is about 1/8 inch (3
mm) thick. To prevent the pastry from sticking to the counter
and to ensure uniform thickness, keep lifting up and turning the
pastry a quarter turn as you roll (always roll from the center
of the pastry outwards to get uniform thickness).
When the pastry is the desired size, lightly roll pastry around
your rolling pin, dusting off any excess flour as you roll.
Unroll onto top of tart pan. Never pull pastry or you will get
shrinkage (shrinkage is caused by too much pulling of the pastry
when placing it in the pan). Gently lay in pan and with a small
floured piece of pastry, lightly press pastry into bottom and up
sides of pan. Roll your rolling pin over top of pan to get rid
of excess pastry. With a thumb up movement, again press dough
into pan. Prick bottom of dough (this will prevent the dough
from puffing up as it bakes). Cover and refrigerate for about 20
minutes to chill the butter and to rest the gluten.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) and place rack in
center of oven. Line the unbaked pastry shell with parchment
paper or aluminum foil. Fill tart pan with pie weights or beans,
making sure the weights are to the top of the pan and evenly
distributed over the entire surface. Bake crust for 20 to 25
minutes until crust is dry and lightly browned. Remove weights
and cool crust on wire rack.
For Apple Tart: For bottom layer of apples: Peel, core, and
slice three of the apples. In a large skillet melt 1 tablespoon
(13 grams) unsalted butter and stir in between 2 – 4 tablespoons
(25 – 50 grams) of the sugar, the lemon zest, and 1/4 teaspoon
cinnamon. Add the apples and saute over moderate heat, stirring
occasionally for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
Gently mash the apples with the back of a spatula or spoon and
stir the mixture until most of the liquid has evaporated. Remove
from heat and let cool.
For top layer of apples: Peel, core, and cut the apples into
slices 1/4 inch (1/2 cm) thick. Melt 1 tablespoon (13 grams)
butter in a large skillet over medium heat and stir in the other
2 – 4 tablespoons (25 – 50 grams) sugar and 1/4 teaspoon
cinnamon. Add the apples and saute until they begin to soften,
approximately 5 minutes. Set the cooked apples aside.
Spoon the applesauce mixture into the cooled pre-baked tart
shell. Arrange the apple slices in concentric circles over the
applesauce, and brush with 1 – 2 tablespoons (13-26 grams)
melted butter. Bake the tart on a baking sheet in a preheated
350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for 25 – 30 minutes or until
the apples are nicely browned and soft. Remove from oven and
sprinkle the tart with confectioners’ sugar, cover the edges of
tart with foil, and broil it under a preheated broiler about 4
inches from the heat until the edges of the apples are golden
brown and crisp. Once the tart has cooled lightly glaze the
apple slices with warm apricot glaze.
Apricot Glaze: In a small saucepan heat the apricot preserves
until boiling. Remove from heat and strain to get rid of lumps.
Add the Cognac or water. Use this glaze to seal the baked tart
shell and to brush the top of the finished tart.
Serve the tart warm or at room temperature with softly whipped
cream or vanilla ice cream.
Makes 1 – 8 or 9 inch (20 or 23 cm) tart.