Wednesday, October 2, 2013


Tart Apple Tart!

Homegrown, freshly picked bushels of apples have arrived! Varieties of apples from all over Ohio and the USA grace the shelves, bins and baskets at Jungle Jim's International Market. If apples hold a special place in your heart, you won't be disappointed to discover an abundance of apple-centric products on the shelves: apple cider, apple butter, dried apples, apple pie, apple quick bread and the incredibly delicious, over-the-top caramel apples made in-house at the Bakery. You'll find apples featured in at least one product in almost every department. We grabbed a large, bright green Granny Smith apple for our apple tart.

In the Cooking School, we enjoy testing new recipes and incorporating interesting products that we find on the shelves. Because apples mix well with so many other flavors, we decided to add an almond flavor as a twist on the classic apple tart. Almond paste comes in a tube-shaped roll, so you can cut off what you need and refrigerate the remainder for another use.

Puff pastry crusts are simple to make - especially if you are intimidated with the usual butter or shortening crust process. All you have to do is take the puff pastry out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Puff pastry results in a crispy, buttery crust that melds beautifully with the almond paste "sheet" that lays on top of it.

Granny Smith apples have a distinctive tart flavor that contrasts well with the rich crust. Once peeled, halved and sliced into 1/8 inch disks, you can practice your "shingling" skills - which is nothing more than decorative layering! The photo below illustrates a simple layer of sliced apples over the almond paste and then sprinkled with cinnamon sugar and dotted with butter. Now the tart is ready for the oven.

Keep an eye on your tart - it can go from brown to burned very quickly. Once out of the oven, have your apple jelly and a pastry brush ready to glaze the apples. You may want to microwave the apple jelly for 10 seconds to melt it so it is easier to spread. Once the tart is cool enough to handle - eat it with gusto! And a cup of coffee! This tart is a nice size for 2 -4 people. A scoop of cinnamon ice cream would be nice or a dollop of whipped cream. If you want to serve more guests, the recipe is easy to double.

Apple Almond Tart

½ sheet puff pastry (½ sheet = approximately 4½x9 inches), thawed
½ package almond paste (3½ ounces)
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and sliced 1/8 inch thick
2 teaspoons butter, cut into ¼-inch bits
2 teaspoons sugar
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon apple jelly, melted

Preheat oven to 400°. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place puff pastry on prepared sheet and fold edges over by ¼ inch and crimp to create a ¼-inch thick border. Roll almond paste into a 4x8-inch rectangle, trimming to fit within the border of the puff pastry. Lay almond paste rectangle on top of pastry.

Beginning in 1 corner of the tart, shingle apple slices over almond paste in neat, diagonal rows, overlapping each slice by about half, until surface is completely covered. Dot apple slices with butter. Mix sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle apple slices evenly.

Bake until pastry is golden brown and apples have softened and caramelized, 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and brush apples with melted jelly. Let cool 15 minutes before slicing and serving.

Makes 3-4 servings

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