Apple Tart for High Holy Days
Why I Love This Recipe
This is a compilation of Smitten Kitchen, Barefoot Contessa, and Martha Stewart:
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/french-apple-tart-recipe.html for pastry recipe/apple topping
http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2008/11/pie-crust-102-all-butter-really-flaky-pie-dough/ for pastry technique
http://www.marthastewart.com/346880/pear-and-apple-phyllo-crisp for inspiration on pecan pieces between sheets of pastry
http://www.marthastewart.com/334356/apple-tart for apple topping
Ingredients You'll Need
2 c flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp cold unsalted butter, diced (emphasis on COLD)
1/2 c ice water
1 c pecans, toasted and chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c applesauce
3 Granny Smith apples
1/2 c sugar
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c apricot jelly
2tbsp Calvados, rum, or water
1. Fill 1/2 c measuring cup with water and drop in a few ice cubes; set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt.
2. Sprinkle the diced butter over the flour and begin to work it in using the pastry blender -- scoop and redistribute the mixture as needed so all parts are worked evenly. STOP when the butter pieces are the size of small peas (note that this won't take very long), even if the dough looks uneven
3. Dribble in the very cold water and gather the dough together using a silicon spatula. You may need an additional 1/4 c water, but add it one tbsp at a time. Once you are pulling out large clumps with the spatula, take it out use your hands to gather the disparate damp clumps together into one mound, kneading gently.
4. Divide the dough in half and place in plastic wrap. (Deb Perelman recommends using the plastic wrap to pull in the dough and shape it into a disk.) Let the dough chill in the fridge for at least one hour, but two is better adn it can stay in the fridge for about one week.
Creating your pastry:
1. Take out one disk at a time. Roll it out using a lightly floured wooden rolling pin on a floured surface. Start in the middle of the disk, roll a few times in one direction and then change your angle by about 25 degrees, working your way around the disk. Roll out to slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. You can trim the edges if you so choose, but I like the homemade-look of raw edges.
2. Using the lightly floured rolling pin, pick up your pastry and place on a baking tray with parchment paper. Brush the melted butter on the pastry and sprinkle with pecans. Don't be shy!
3. Place the pastry back in the fridge as you roll out the other disk so that it is roughly the same size and shape. Using the same technique with the floured roller, place this half of the pastry over the other half. Press down around the pecan bits, working out as much air as possible. Using a fork, stab the pastry all over.
4. Return the pastry to the fridge as you prepare the apple slices. Peel the apples and take out the cores, then slice into half-moons. You may wish to discard the very top and very bottom, but I recommend keeping the smaller pieces, as they fit nicely into corners and at the bottom.
-- This is a good time to set your oven to 400 degrees F
5. Remove your pastry from the fridge. Using a silicone spatula, spread the 1/2 c applesauce over your pastry. Arrange the apple wedges over applesauce in 3 tightly overlapping rows. Pour the melted butter over the apple wedges and sprinkle with sugar.
6. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut it a little with a knife to let the air out. (Ina Garten warns that the apple juices burn in the pan, but I didn't have this issue.)
7. Heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados/rum/water and brush the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.