Tuesday, May 18, 2021

The Perfect Fuss Free French Apple Tart - from scratch, made with less sugar less butter and still so delicious! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!!

I promise. I will bake many apple-related recipes and I did.

This time, I found a really good apple tart recipe that originates from Ina Garten at here.

Yet, I wonder if I can make this original recipe easier and better with less sugar and butter...

fuss free French apple tart less sugar
My Fuss Free French Apple Tart
Made with less sugar and still very delicious!

This is what I did.

1) The original recipe requires a chilling step after the rolling and shaping the pastry. I have skipped this steps and the pastry turned out to be ok. Amazingly, the pastry didn't shrink much while baking. I reckon... making sure that the butter is cold and not over-working of dough are the two essential things to do in order to skip this chilling step.

2) The original recipe does not contain vanilla and so I added vanilla into the pastry and the glaze. Yum!!!

3) The original recipe makes a massive tart that contains 180g butter and 4 apples. For a family of 3, I have baked mine as a smaller version with 100g butter and also managed to load my smaller tart with 3 apples.

4) The original recipe says that excessive apple juices will be released while baking, causing the edges of the pastry and the pan to burn. To reduce the excessive juice released, I have incorporated an extra step to make the apple sweat first before assembly and it works perfectly for me!

To do so, I have combined freshly squeezed juice from half a lemon and 20g caster sugar into the apple slices from 3 medium apples. Set aside for the apple slices to sweat. The excessive juice are blot-dried with paper towels just before assembly.

5) After scaling down the original recipe to contain 100g butter, the calculated amount of caster sugar sprinkled on the assembled tart should be 55g but I have used 20g only. Instead of using the calculated 60ml (1/4 cup) of apricot jam to brush the finishing tart, I prefer to use 30ml (2 tablespoons) only. And the sweetness of the tart is spot-on for us! 

Like the other fuss-free apple pies and tarts that I have baked at here, here and here, this recipe is equally fuss-free.

1) It does not require pre-baking of the pastry before assembling it with the apple filling.
2) It does not require pre-cooking of apple filing.
3) It makes really nice crisp buttery pastry. Definitely not soggy!
4) It is sweet but not too sweet. Just nice!
5) It is quicker to bake as the pastry does not require freezing or chilling after shaping.

This is definitely a perfect recipe that I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND and bake it again. 


fuss free French apple tart less sugar
The look of this tart told me that I have done all the right things to bake it right.
fuss free French apple tart less sugar
Tender nicely-browned apples with the right amount of tang and sweetness
on a crispy flaky pastry and topped with sticky vanilla apricot glaze...
Isn't this perfect or what?

I have a video to show you how I baked this perfect apple tart and you will see that it is actually easy and fuss-free to bake.

Music: Bensound

Like homemade apple pies or tarts? If you are after fuss-free apple-related recipes, please stay tune as I will have more to share soon.

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Here's the recipe that is adapted from Epicurious
Makes one 20 x 30 cm tart

For the pastry:
160g (1 cup plus 1 tbsp) all purpose / plain flour, plus extra for rolling
2g (1/2 tsp) salt
5g (1 1/4 tsp) caster sugar
100g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch / 1 cm cubes
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
45ml (3 tbsp) water, iced cold plus 2-3 tsp more if required

For the apples:
3 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 0.5 cm thin slices
freshly squeezed juice from 1/2 lemon
20g (1 3/4 tbsp) caster sugar

To assemble:
20g (1 3/4 tbsp) caster sugar - This is the reduced amount and the sweetness is just right for us.
20g cold unsalted butter, small-diced
2-3 tbsp apricot jam or jelly - I used 2 tbsp only.
1/2 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 tbsp rum, optional

For the pastry:
Sift flour, salt and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

Using your fingertips, break and rub butter into flour mixture until mixture resembles pea-like crumbs. Add vanilla and drizzle 3 tbsp cold water over the flour mixture. Use your hands to mix and add a little extra water (teaspoonful by teaspoonful) if required while gathering the crumbs to form a dough. Do not knead the dough!!! Wrap in cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 mins.

While waiting for the pastry to chill, prepare apple filling and preheat the oven to 200°C / 400°F or 180°C / 350°F fan forced.

For the apples:
Combine apples, lemon juice and sugar in a large bowl, making sure that the apples are well coated with lemon juice and sugar. Set aside for the apples to "sweat". This step is important as it can significantly reduce the juice released from the apple slices while baking, thus reducing the edges of the pastry from burning subsequently.

To assemble:
Use a lightly floured rolling pin, roll and trim the pastry dough into a 20 x 30 cm rectangle on a lightly floured baking paper. Transfer the pastry with the baking paper onto a large baking tray.

Remove any excess liquid from the apples and use paper towels to blot dry the apples. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices but leave a rim with about 1-2 cm at all sides uncovered (with no apples). Sprinkle sugar and scatter the butter dices evenly on the apples. Watch my video to see how I assembled my tart.

Bake for 45 to 50 mins or until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. It's ok if the released apple juices burned slightly at the edges of the pastry. The tart has to be baked thoroughly for at least 45 mins for the pastry to be firm.

Allow tart to cool slightly for about 10 mins. Loosen the tart from the baking paper and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Using a microwave or low stove heat, warm the apricot jam or jelly slightly. Add vanilla and rum and mix until combines. Brush the apples (including the pastry) with the jam or jelly mixture.

Serve warm or at room temperature. 

Best to consume the tart within the same day of bake but the leftover tart can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 days. On the next day or two, the pastry will remain crispy but slightly less crispy as compared to the day that it is freshly baked.

Happy Baking
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