French-style Apple Tart
2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 cup whole milk
1⁄2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed according to package directions
2 medium Gala apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
1⁄2 cup apricot preserves
To prepare the pastry cream:
In a mixing bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar to form ribbons.
Mix in the flour and cornstarch.
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, bring the milk to a boil.
Remove 1⁄2 cup of the milk and gradually whisk the hot milk into the egg mixture.
Gradually whisk the egg mixture back into the hot milk and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly, or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
Return the mixture to the mixing bowl and mix well.
Stir in the vanilla.
Pour into a large bowl.
Cool slightly, then cover the surface completely with plastic wrap. Refrigerate the custard for 1 hour or until cold. (Pastry cream may be prepared up to 1 day in advance.)
To prepare the tart:
Preheat the oven to 400°F.
In a small bowl, beat the egg with 1 teaspoon water.
Place the puff pastry on a lightly floured cutting board.
Cut a 1-inch strip off of each side of the pastry.
Using the egg wash, brush a 1-inch border around the edges of the center piece of puff pastry.
Place the strips onto the brushed border, folding the corners over to form another layer.
Brush the border with the egg wash.
Spoon or pipe the pastry cream onto the center of the puff pastry.
Place the apples over the cream and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown and puffed.
Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
In a small saucepan, heat the apricot preserves and 3 tablespoons water. Brush onto the apples.
Serve warm or refrigerate to serve cold later.
Pairs Well With
This recipe comes from Stew Leonard's Winning Recipes Cookbook. It is Stew Leonard's Executive Chef Chaz Fable's signature recipe. I am sharing it because it is a sophisticated alternative to apple pie, yet is simple to make. And, the recipe incorporates basic techniques for preparing pastry, which can help lay the foundation for preparing other pastries. The techniques are much easier than most people think.