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by on November 30th, 2012

French Apple Tart

Délicieuse tarte aux pommes!

My tart and other pictures below from French class mingled with my experience of making it.

Thanksgiving is behind us and Christmas will soon be here. Aren’t we all always looking for quick but beautiful desserts to make for the holidays?

What a delicious apple tart this is and one we learned to make in our cooking class in Arles, France last March. This is the perfect time of the year to be making anything with apples because they are the best of the year and the price is right.

What an experience making this apple tart for the first time (in France) was and one we will never forget. I absolutely love taking cooking classes. You would think at my age that I would know how to cook enough to get by but that’s not enough for me; I want the experience of going different places and cooking the local foods and it’s even more fun when doing it with husband, friends, or anyone who is going to enjoy it as much as I know I am.

For this apple tart, we shopped at the local market, (see pictures below) for the apples and all the other foods we were preparing for our fantastic meal. This is about the easiest tart you will ever make and I think after trying it a few times I will be able to make it as good as our teacher’s tart. One thing is his puffed pastry came in a considerably larger sheet than what we get from Pepperidge Farm frozen pastry. The next time, I’m putting two sheets together and roll them together giving more layers of the delicate pastry. Secondly, I will use a different apple, maybe a Braeburn instead of a Jazz, for more tartness.

I did add the cinnamon which Erick (our teacher) did not. To me, apples and cinnamon go together. I may try adding some golden raisins also the next time because I just happen to have some in my pantry.

This dessert involves a lot of skill — adding some olive oil to the skillet, then sugar, then apples (and cinnamon) cooking until nice and brown, topping with puffed pastry and flipping out onto a tray. I told you it was easy and really on a scale of 1-5 for difficulty, I would give it a 1. This is kind of like making an upside down cake because when you are done all the goodness is going to get turned upside down on a beautiful platter.

Apples, sugar, cinnamon and puffed pastry. What an easy dessert to make.

A day at the market in France.

We tend to turn everything into a competition (sometimes). This time it was who could peel an apple and keep the peeling in one long piece. My hub was doing a pretty good job.

A little olive oil in the skillet, then the sugar, and then apples. (From France class)

The apples will cook down a little and the sugar will caramelize. This was in my All-Clad pan. Eric had more of a tartin pan that was a little deeper.

I see from my France picture that he turned the puffed pastry under on the inside of the pan. I

My tart.

Our tart in France. Looks more rustic just seeing that 1000 year old wall in the background.

Tart in France.

My tart served with ice cream. Whipped cream would also be nice.

French Apple Tart

6-8 apples, I used Jazz
1/2 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 package puffed pastry sheets
2 Tbsp. olive oil.
1/2 c. golden raisins, optional

Preheat oven to 350°.

Peel the apples and cut in large wedges, set aside.

Over a low flame, in a large non-stick skillet (mine was stainless steel) that can go in the oven (or use a cast iron skillet), add the olive oil and then the sugar and sugar, spread this evenly over the bottom of the skillet. Remove the skillet from the flame. Lay your apple pieces attractively in the skillet, in a rounded pattern with the rounded part of the apple down on the sugar. If you want to add the golden raisins, scatter them around the apples slices now. Put this back on the flame and let simmer until the sugar begins to caramelize, do not stir.

It may take 10 minutes for the sugar and apples to start to caramelize, just be careful not to burn.

For the crust: I used just one piece of the puffed pastry and rolled it out to fit the top of the pan, but the next time I’m putting the two sheets together and rolling them to fit top. See the picture above how we put the crust on top of the apples. Any hangover can be turned under towards the apples.

Bake until the pastry dough has  browned nicely. Remove from the oven and cover with a cake plate or serving dish a little larger than your skillet. Carefully invert the tart onto the plate – if necessary, use a high-heat spatula to help you get all the good caramel int he skillet on hour fruit. Let cool a few minutes and serve plain or with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

The tart can be gently reheat in an oven just prior to serving.

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