From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Our Thanksgiving meal this year is not going to be traditional. While many of the dishes I'll be serving hint at their Pilgrim roots, the dishes themselves are pretty far removed from the Mayflower table. I'll post the full menu on Wednesday, but between now and then, I'll be featuring recipes for some of the desserts I'll be making. This tart, while French in origin, is a perfect way to end any holiday meal and I'm going to use it to fullfil the apple requirement of our holiday feast. The inspiration for this pie was Julia Child's, Tarte Aux Pommes. I've add apricots to her recipe to make it less sweet and I've taken some shortcuts that she probably would frown on. To wit, I use commercial applesauce as the base for the tart. It's an enormous time saver and at this time of year extra minutes count. The apricots make this tart more interesting and they really compliment the flavor of the apples. I use Golden Delicious apples for my baking and they work well in desserts where appearance is as important as taste. This is a gorgeous dessert and I always hate to cut into it. It is easy to make and while most of it can be prepared well ahead of serving the glaze can be problematic. It will start to breakdown after 24 hours and the tart will get weepy. The solution to this, of course, is to eat the tart the day it is made. My family never lets me down. If you are looking for an apple dessert I hope you will give this one a try. Here's how it is made.
Apple Tart (Tarte Aux Pommes)...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite inspired by Julia Child
Partially-cooked 8 or 9-inch tart shell
3 cup sliced apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/8-inch lengthwise slices
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups thick, unsweetened applesauce
1/3 cup diced dried apricots, cut in 1/4-inch dice
1/3 cup apricot preserves
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 to 3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons butter
Grated zest of 1 lemon or orange
1/2 cup apricot preserves, forced through a sieve
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1) Arrange a rack in upper third of oven. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss sliced apples in a bowl with lemon juice and sugar. Set aside.
2) To make filling: Combine applesauce, diced apricots, apricot preserves, vanilla extract, sugar and lemon zest in a 3-quart saucepan. Boil down, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape when mounded in a spoon, about 20 minutes. Stir in butter.
3) Turn applesauce into pastry shell. Arrange sliced apples in overlapping concentric circles on top of applesauce. Bake in upper third of oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until apples are lightly brown and tender.
4) To make glaze: Mix apricot preserves with sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat until mixture is thick enough to coat back of a spoon and candy thermometer registers 228 degrees F.
5) Remove tart from oven and carefully remove sides of pan. Paint apple topping with warm apricot glaze. Serve tart warm or cold. Yield: 6 servings.
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