This apple tart is rustic and simple.
In food speak, that means endearingly imperfect and unquestionably homemade. See, an apple tart masquerading as a galette is the easiest of apple tarts. The only difference between a galette and a tart is the unfussiness of the latter. There’s no messing with finicky pastry, you simply roll it out. Whatever shape it ends up is just fine. Freeform all the way, baby.
The recipe starts with an easy, all-butter crust. Chilled ingredients are important for flakiness, so I call for cold butter and ice water to be used.
3 reasons you need to let the dough chill:
Refrigerating the dough serves many purposes:
- It firms up the butter again after handling it, which makes flaky layers and prevents it from melting to a puddle before the structure is set.
- It allows the gluten to relax. Gluten is like the muscle of flour. It is created from wheat proteins coming together in the presence of water. The more you work the dough, the more gluten is formed, and the tougher the crust will be. Letting the dough rest lets those tight gluten strands relax for a more desirable crust texture.
- It allows the moisture in the dough to fully hydrate the flour for a smooth texture that rolls out easily.
Chill time is non-negotiable for a crust that is tender and holds its shape. So don’t skip it.
Use your food processor.
Make both the apple tart dough and the almond filling in a food processor. There’s no need to wash it between uses. Easy cleanup!
The blades of the food processor cut through the butter without warming it as your hands would, which aids the goal of a flaky crust. (I have the KitchenAid 7-cup food processor and love it – it’s the easiest I’ve owned for ease of assembly and use.)
To make the frangipane almond cream filling, whiz some blanched almonds in the food processor with sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla. A few drops of pure almond extract is a welcome addition, but don’t rush out and buy a bottle unless you’ll use it for other recipes, too.
You could alternatively make the pastry by hand with a pastry cutter and use your blender for the frangipane.
Assemble the tart.
Roll out the dough to a shape that fits on your baking sheet and trim the edges with a knife to tidy them up. Spoon the frangipane onto the tart dough leaving a 2″ border. Arrange thin slices of apple over top, sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon, and then fold the pastry edges over to hold everything in.
In the oven, the almond cream puffs up and peeks out around the apples, forming a delicious, caramelized crust. The richness of the frangipane negates any need for sugar in the apple topping.
This apple tart is a totally worthy alternative to fancy pies at a holiday dinner. It’s impressive and delicious and deceptively easy. AKA everything you want in a special dessert.
Apple Tart with Almond Frangipane
- 6 oz 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp coarse salt
- 5 oz 10 tbsp or 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp cold butter, cut in 1/2" chunks
- 1/4 cup ice water
- 1 1/2 cups 6 oz sliced, blanched almonds (divided use) divided use
- 2/3 cup 5 oz granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp melted butter
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp pure almond extract OPTIONAL
- pinch of salt
To assemble tart
- 2 medium apples cored and spiralized or thinly sliced
- squeeze of lemon juice
- 2 tbsp sliced, blanched almonds
- Place flour and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add butter pieces and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs (pieces should be half the size of a lentil).
- Dump out onto a piece of parchment paper and sprinkle water over top. Use your hands or a bench scraper to toss the ingredients together to combine, then gently fold and press the mixture together until it forms a cohesive dough. (I fold and press with the parchment paper to avoid a sticky mess.) Form into disc, wrap in the parchment paper, and refrigerate one hour (or up to 3 days, or else freeze up to 3 months).
To make frangipane:
- Combine almonds, sugar, eggs, butter, extract(s), and salt in food processor and blend until smooth.
- Let dough soften on the counter for 10-15 minutes before rolling out. Roll out your dough between layers of parchment paper to a shape that fits in your baking pan. Trim the edges and then line the baking pan with parchment and place the dough on top.
- Spoon the frangipane onto the pastry dough, leaving a 2" border. Arrange apples overtop, and give them a squeeze of lemon. Top with 2 tbsp almonds. Fold the edges of the pastry up around the apples and pop the whole thing in the freezer for 30 minutes while you preheat the oven to 350ºF.
- Bake the tart for about 50 minutes, until crust is deeply browned, apples are tender and frangipane is golden.