Alsatian Apple Tart

I always loved baking and took to it quite early on, so naturally, when I spent a year of my life in Paris, a French pâtisserie book was not only amongst my very first purchases after arriving, but given my chronically empty pockets at the time also remained to be one of the few ones I made altogether.

The time I spent in France left quite an imprint on my endeavors in the kitchen, and that, in particular, includes the memories of the food and flavors I enjoyed during numerous summers spent in Southern France in my childhood. The recipe presented here however goes back to my time in Paris when I took to French baking and dessert-making for the first time. It is probably my absolute favorite amongst the French tarts that have become part of my repertoire and I make it quite often, and it surely has always been a hit with my guests.

Over time, I added raisins to the original recipe. Cyrus loves them, and despite the fact that raisins are a bit of an obvious ingredient in an apple cake, I find them deliciously complimentary to the taste. If your kitchen practice is more focussed on the traditional, you may simply choose to skip them.

Sanni

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Ingredients:

For the dough:

  • 200 grams of flour
  • 100 grams of cold butter
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • a couple of tablespoons of water

For the filling:

  • 100 grams of raisins
  • 1 kg of apples (choose an apple that bakes nicely like Braeburn or Jonagold)
  • several tablespoons of sugar
  • cinnamon (ground)
  • 2 eggs
  • 100 ml of full-fat milk
  • 100 ml of cream
  • 1 vanilla pod
  • 2 teaspoons of rum

Preparation:

Preparing the dough:

  1. Pass the flour through a fine mesh onto the clean kitchen counter or a baking mat. Cut the cold butter into small pieces into the flour. Rub the butter and the flour between your hands until you have a crumble.
  2. Add the sugar and the salt. Form a depression in the center of your flour mix and add the egg yolk. Quickly start kneading the ingredients adding tablespoons of water one by one until the dough is smooth, but not sticky. Should the dough become too sticky, add a bit more flour.
  3. Form a ball, wrap it into cellophane and let the dough rest in the refrigerator for approximately 30 minutes.

Preparing the filling:

  1. Soak the raisins in cold water.
  2. Peel the apples, cut each of them into 4 to 6 pieces, and remove the cores. Carve three cuts a few millimeters deep into the back of the apples with the tip of a sharp knife.
  3. Butter a tart pan and press the dough into the bottom and up the sides. Prick the bottom with a fork all over.
  4. Mix 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar with the cinnamon and sprinkle the mix over the dough. Place the apples on top with the carved back side facing up. Sprinkle another 1 to 2 tablespoons of the sugar-cinnamon-mix over the apples.
  5. Pre-heat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius (fan oven). When the oven is hot, put the tart pan inside and bake it for 5 minutes. Then reduce the oven temperature to 160 degrees Celsius (fan oven) and continue baking the dough and apples for approximately 15 minutes.
  6. In the meantime, prepare the cream filling. Beat the eggs until creamy and lightly yellow. Slowly add 2 to 3 tablespoons of sugar, the milk and the cream. Cut the vanilla pod lengthwise and scrape out the seeds with the back of the knife. Beat into the egg and cream mix.
  7. Drain the raisins, and mix the rum into the raisins.
  8. Take the tart out of the oven after baking it according to step 5 above. Spread the raisins mixed with rum over the tart. Then pour the egg and cream mix over the tart.
  9. Bake the tart for a further 30 to 40 minutes until the cream is well baked (note that it will thicken further when cooling off so do not let it get too hard in the oven – the tart should turn at most lightly brown).
  10. Let the tart cool off. It is delicious when served while it is still lukewarm but make sure that the cream has thickened properly before cutting and serving it or you might end up with a rather runny affair. If you want to be on the safe side, wait until the tart has cooled down completely. It is equally delicious!
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