A “Happy Thanksgiving” e-mail yesterday from a really lovely lady, Julia, inspires today’s posting. We met a year ago, just before Thanksgiving, when I showed her the blog I was then working on – Homemaker2words.com – and the posting titled “Oo-la-la!”, featuring the step by step recipe for a fabulous French apple tart inspired by the Barefoot Contessa (a.k.a. Ina Garten). I think Julia loved the rustic beauty of this tart , just like I did. And since she was hosting Thanksgiving – loved the idea of it for her dessert, but hesitated, thinking it may be too ambitious for a day we’re all up to our eyelashes in house and dinner prep.
I pointed out that other beautiful thing about this dessert, other than its good looks, is that it’s unbelievably easy to make and was a tried and true go-to recipe for me. I think I talked her into giving it a go, and she did, and it was a big hit, and she writes in her e-mail that she is making it again this Thanksgiving. Now that made my day. Maybe this is the start of a new Thanksgiving tradition.
And if you didn’t read about it last year on Homemaker2words – I didn’t want you to miss out.
French Apple Tart
(Adapted from ‘The Barefoot Contessa – Back to Basics’ cookbook by Ina Garten)
1-2 sheets frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted (depending on how many you are feeding, you can use 1 sheet and roll it out 10 1/2 inches square, or overlap the 2 sheets and make a longer rectangle about 10 1/2 x 18 inches)
4 Granny Smith apples, sliced
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold, unsalted butter, small diced
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup apricot jam (I love Bonne Maman Apricot Preserves)
2 tablespoons water (Calvados or rum can be substituted)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or Silpat.
Peel the apples, and cut them into about 1/4-inch slices. Roll out defrosted pastry dough onto parchment or Silpat to desired size. Place overlapping slices of apples in vertical rows, alternating the direction of each row. If there are gaps between the rows, you can tuck in any extra apple slices – or just leave alone. I free-form roll in the edges ( I like the rustic look this gives the tart), sprinkle with 1/2 cup of granulated sugar, and dot with butter. Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until the pastry and the edges of the apples start to brown. Good idea to rotate the pan at least once during baking.
When the tart is done, heat the apricot preserve with the water until a light bubble, remove from heat, and brush the tart completely with the hot mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper or Silpat. Serve right away while still warm with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream, or let it totally cool, dust lightly with confectioner’s sugar, and place on a serving platter or wooden board.
Bon appétit and Happy Thanksgiving!