Short Recipe: Apple Tart

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It’s part 2 of the apple tart recipe! This post is about making the shortcrust pastry and assembling the pie. Shortcrust pastry has a wonderful buttery flavour which gives the dessert a savoury touch to complement the sweet package within. The pastry also has a unique crumbly bite that provides a pleasant contrast to a soft filling. A shortcrust tart is amazingly versatile as it can be filled with a limitless list of ingredients. In this case, it is the apple compote from the previous post.

Apple tarts (and pies) in different variations can be found all over the world, such as the characteristic American apple pie, or the French tarte tatin. The differences are mostly centred around the pastry (e.g. a lard-filled pasty pastry is used in some English apple pies) and an open or closed top (generally open tops are called tarts and closed tops are called pies). This recipe is based on the French tarte aux pommes, which is an open top tart using a pâte brisée shortcrust pastry, and is filled with apple compote topped with fresh apple slices.

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Ingredients for Apple Tart: one 20cm tart, serves approximately 5 to 6 people

Shortcrust Pastry
125g Flour
75g Unsalted Butter
1 Egg Yolk
2 tablespoons Cold Water
1/2 tablespoon Sugar
Pinch of Salt

Filling
350g Apple Compote (Around 1/2 the amount used in the Apple Compote recipe)
1 Medium Cooking Apple (Braeburn, Bramley, Granny Smith or any locally available variety)
1/2 tablespoon of Sugar
A few knobs of Butter

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Precooked: Apple Compote

According to the the previous apple compote recipe.

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Step 1: Shortcrust Pastry

Cut the butter into cubes and chill in the fridge. Smaller cubes makes life easier in the next step. Take it out right before making the pastry and add the cubes to the flour.

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This is the key step of making a shortcrust pastry! The butter has to be incorporated into the flour without melting. The butter is broken up by pinching and rubbing it with the flour. Try to coat the butter cubes with flour as you do this to minimise sticking onto your fingers. This step has to be done quickly before the butter melts. You can delay the melting by chilling the bowl beforehand or placing an ice pack around the bowl. (Making it in winter helps too.)

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The desired end state is a dry, crumbly mixture without any visible lumps of butter.

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Form a well in the middle of the flour-butter mixture and add in the egg yolk and 1/2 tablespoon of cold water. Mix the dry mixture into the liquid, adding more water when it gets too dry. Try not to knead the dough too much, and add just enough water (around 2 tablespoon) for the dough to come together.

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Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it in the fridge for 30 mins.

Step 2: Assemble the Tart

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Oil the tart pan. Roll the dough to around 0.5cm thickness and lay it inside the tart pan, pushing the bottom corner in to ensure that the dough adheres to the pan.

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Perforate the bottom of the dough with a fork.

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Use a knife to trim the circumference to get a neat edge. The trimmings can be reshaped and baked separately to make biscuits!

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Fill the tart with apple compote.

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Peel, halve, and core the apples, then slice them as thinly as possible (preferably around 1mm thick).

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Lay the apple slices in a concentric pattern starting from the centre, overlapping with a larger outer ring, then a final circle in the middle.

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Sprinkle the sugar and apply small knobs of butter evenly over the top of the tart. Send it into the oven at 180 degrees C for 30 to 40 mins, till the crust is cooked through and turns golden brown.

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The tart tastes good on its own, but even better with a scoop of ice cream! Enjoy!

Posted by #chubchunchua

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