This is a classic that just never ages. It is spectacular to present and fun to prepare!
However most recipes I found on the internet were really sweet or too rich, filled with butter and cream. In my opinion, it doesn’t have to be this way to be incredibly delicious. In fact, I think a little restraint in the sugar/fat department can be even more pleasing and satisfying. I don’t know about you, but I often find that a too-sweet or too-rich dessert tends to quickly become nauseating, especially after a full meal. What I was really after here is a way to have a beautiful, classic dessert, where you actually can taste the full flavour of the apples on a delicate airy & flaky crust.
Also, a lot of recipes I found had too-many steps to my liking. Going through heat and let cool cycles more than twice is just way too long for me. In my opinion, it shouldn’t take more than 30 minutes to prepare the whole thing and this recipe will give you exactly that. So, quicker to prepare and healthier…What are you waiting for to make it?
Enjoy this delicacy with small dollop of real chantilly, and imagine yourself on a Paris terrasse…
- -1¼ cups all purpose flour, plus more for flouring your work surface
- -1 tbsp sugar
- - pinch of slat
- - 1/3 cup semi-salted butter*, as cold as possible (even freeze the butter cubes for 20-30 minutes before using for best results)
- - 3-5 tablespoons ice water
- -6 apples, peeled, cored, and either quartered, depending on size, or cut into 2" slices (I used a combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples)
- - 1/4 cup semi-salted butter*
- - 1/3 cup brown sugar
- - 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (or 1 tsp pure maple extract for a different take on this classic)
- In large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar and salt. With pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Whisk egg yolk with ice water; drizzle over flour mixture. Toss with fork until mixture clumps; if necessary, add a bit more ice water. With floured hands, quickly press into 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick disc. Wrap dough in plastic wrap; refrigerate for about 20 minutes, while you prepare the apples. (You can also make it ahead and refrigerate for up to 24 hours.)
- Preheat the oven at 350F.
- In a 9" cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Sprinkle evenly with the brown sugar and cook until the sugar is dissolved into the butter (about 2 minutes). Add vanilla extract, stir and remove from heat immediately.
- Arrange as many apples as you can into the bottom of the skillet in a circular pattern, top sides down, and wedge any remaining apples over the top of them the way they fit best. Cover and place over medium heat for about 10 minutes to caramelize the sugar. Keep a close eye on it and reduce the heat to low to prevent burning if necessary.
- Meanwhile, roll out the dough until it's large enough to cover the apples, cutting off any excess if necessary. Tuck the edges of the crust into the sides and bake for 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.
- Remove from oven and, using oven mittens, place a large serving dish over the skillet and quickly invert it so that the content of the skillet is neatly placed onto the dish. It takes a little bit of skills but you can do it! If any apples stick to the bottom of the skillet, simply remove them and place them on the tart. Serve warm with a small dollop of chantilly** (or ice cream if you prefer)!
- *I like to use semi-salted butter instead of unsalted butter as I find that the sweet & subtly salty combination give such an interesting depth to the flavour that is just to DIE FOR. If you don't agree, simply use unsalted butter.
- **Chantilly: You guessed it! I like my chantilly a little less sweet than what is normally served here in America. If you are like me, here is how to prepare it: in a large bowl, whip together 1 cup heavy (35%) cream, 1 to 2 tbsp powder sugar and 1 tsp pure vanilla extract, until it forms stiff peaks. Serve immediately.