APPLE BRETONNE TARTLETS
This could be one of my all time favorite desserts. What I love about these tartles are the multiple flavors and textures that you can experience in just one bite. First, comes the crunchy almond topping on the roof of your mouth and then the buttery flavor of the crisp crust crunching between your teeth. Next, so smooth and tasty, is the unexpected almond cream surrounding the slightly tart apples. Last, but not least, is the intense flavor of the fresh vanilla bean. The tart shell is very special—the texture and flavor are exactly what you would expect to find at the best bakeries in Paris. I have been using this particular dough recipe for all of our tarts at Sarabeth's for over 30 years. For this reason alone, you must give them a try. This special occasion dessert is definitely worth the extra time it takes to make. Wishing you a Happy New Year filled with good health, happiness and many new delicious things to eat—Sarabeth
Makes 8 tartlets
Baker’s Note: A double batch of the dough will make more than enough for the eight tartlet shells. You can make cookies with the leftover dough. Cut into shapes with a cookie cutter and bake at 350°F until golden brown, about 12 minutes.
The apples must be cut into uniform ⅓-inch cubes—if too large, they will not be cooked by the time the topping is browned. Here’s how to do it.
Working with one apple at a time, stand an apple on the work surface. Using a large knife, cut a ½- to ¾-inch-thick slice from one side of the apple. Make another thick slice, stopping just short of the tough core. Turn the apple 90 degrees, and cut off two more slices in the same manner. Repeat twice, turning the apple 90 degrees after each double-cut. Repeat with the remaining apples. Discard the core trimmings.
The apples are now ready to be sliced or cut into cubes. For slices, place an apple quadrant, flat cut side down, on the work surface, and slice the quadrant lengthwise as desired. Repeat with the remaining apple quadrants.
For cubes, place an apple quadrant, flat side down, on the work surface. Cut the apple in half horizontally. Do not separate the halves, and leave them stacked. Now cut them lengthwise into ⅓-inch wide strips. Cut across the strips at ⅓-inch intervals to cut the apples into ⅓-inch cubes (or smaller, depending on the recipe). Repeat with the remaining apple quadrants.
Makes two 9-inch tarts or eight 3 ¾-inch tartlets
Unlike pies, which are served from their baking dishes, tarts are removed from their pans, and therefore require an especially crisp, strong crust to contain the filling. This tart dough is not overly swee tand perfectly compliments many different fillings.
Baker’s Note: This makes enough dough for two 9-inch tarts, so you can use both halves or freeze one for another time. Please use superfine sugar here, as it really contributes to the fine texture of the baked tart shell. This tart dough is baked at 350°F.
12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, at “cool” room temperature, and cut into tablespoons
6 tablespoons superfine sugar
1 large egg plus 1 yolk, beaten
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups unbleached all purpose flour
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
1. Beat the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the sugar and beat, occasionally scraping down the bowl, until very light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Gradually dribble in the egg, the yolk, and the vanilla. The butter mixture should be fluffy, smooth, and shiny, like a buttercream frosting. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour and salt. Mix just until the dough clumps together and the sides of the bowl are almost clean.
2. Gather up the dough and transfer to a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough a few times until smooth and supple. Divide the dough in half. Shape each portion into a disk, about 1-inch thick, and wrap each disk in plastic wrap. Refrigerate until chilled but not hard, 30 to i hour. (The dough can be refrigerated up to 1 day, but it will be very hard, and should stand at room temperature for about 30 minutes before rolling out. The dough can also be frozen, double wrapped in plastic, for up to 2 weeks. Defrost in the refrigerator over night)
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into ⅓-inch cubes
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unbleached flour
Seeds from ½ Vanilla Bean
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the almond topping)
¾ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Seeds from ½ Vanilla Bean
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
¼ cup unbleached flour
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
½ cup superfine sugar
2 cups (8 ounces) sliced natural almonds, toasted
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
Whipped Cream or vanilla ice cream, for serving
1. Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375°F.
2. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8-inch thick. Line eight 3 ¾ by ¾-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms with the dough. Pierce the bottom of each tartlet in a uniform pattern with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.
3. Place the tartlet pans on a half-sheet pan. Line each with a round of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the pastry is set and dry, but not beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the parchment paper rounds with the weights. Let cool.
4. Meanwhile, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer the apples to a large colander set over a medium bowl and drain the excess juice. Return the apples to their bowl. Stir in the flour and vanilla seeds.
5. To make the vanilla cream, using a hand-held electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla seeds, in a small bowl until thickened and light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, then the flour, and beat until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
6. To make the almond topping, whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Whisk in the sugar. Add the almonds and mix gently with your hands (which work better than a spoon for this job) until the almonds are well coated; take care not to break the almonds. Set aside.
7. For each tartlet, using a tablespoon, place the vanilla cream in the cooled shells. Spread evenly with a small offset spatula. Using an ice-cream scoop, add apple filling to each tartlet, leaving the filling mounded. Using your hands, spread the almond topping thinly and evenly over the apples, masking the apples as best you can. Place the tartlets on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any drips that might occur.
8. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crusts are golden brown and the tartlets feel firm when gently pressed with your finger in the center, about 30 minutes. The apple juices may bubble over the sides of the tartlet pans.
9. Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes, no longer. Remove the sides of the pans. Cool completely on a wire cake rack. Remove the bottoms of the pans. Lightly sift confectioners' sugar on the tops. Serve at room temperature, with whipped cream or ice cream.
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, Sarabeth's Bakery: From My Hands to Yours