The combination of apple and pastry is alluring at this time of year. I am not picky. My craving can be cured by handsome double crust apple pie, flakey apple strudel, homely apple dumpling, or in today’s case, an elegant apple tarte fine. The recipe for this week’s French Fridays with Dorie is descriptively named Crispy Crackly Apple Almond Tart. The crispy and crackly texture is provided by layers of phyllo pastry. While I can never turn down a piece of baklava, I do not enjoy working with phyllo dough. I know that they are convenient but brushing those paper thin layers with melted butter is not my idea of fun. Too messy!
Luckily, Greenspan’s recipe suggested the alternative tarte fine made with frozen puff pastry. I don’t mind puff pastry ever since I found a good source for already rolled out sheets made with butter. But why the direction to make individual tartlets with all that cutting and trimming? I don’t want to waste even one scrap of puff pastry. That was how I decided to make two rectangular tarts filled with almond frangipane and thinly sliced Northern Spy apples.
The assembly was quite simple. I cut each square of pastry in half and stacked together to form a double layer. I scored and docked the layers before spreading on the rich almond cream neatly to the border. Thinly sliced apples were placed on top of the almond cream before I sprinkled raw sugar all over. Once the tart came out of the oven, I let them cool a bit before glazing the apples with melted homemade crabapple jelly. Let it glisten!
Each tart generously served four. I plated them with a dusting of icing sugar and drizzles of caramel sauce. Obviously a dollop of tangy crème fraiche would be quite appropriate but I wanted the almond flavour to shine. This dessert looks much more impressive than the amount of work involved. It embraces the elegance of French apple tart that evokes images of fancy pastry shops. I can see myself including this apple tart fine as part of a dinner party menu.
Would I rather follow the original recipe to make a phyllo tart? That depends. If I have a lazy afternoon to fuss over delicate sheets of phyllo dough, I would not mind. After all, the crispy crackly texture cannot be emulated with buttery puff pastry. However, when time and convenience top my priority, I would turn to my streamlined version with no hesitation.
Greenspan’s original recipe can be found here. You can check out other bloggers’ rendition of the recipe at French Fridays with Dorie. If you want a more intense caramel experience, check out the one at Smitten Kitchen!