Friday, February 08, 2008

French Apple Tarte - Tarte Aux Pommes -

Apple Tarte

It’s my first successful tarte ever! I finally had perfected the sweet pastry crust where usually I go wrong. I had a number of mistakes with the temperature and the pastry recipe itself. I had overly sweet crust, burnt crust, or tough crust as hard as stone! So I did not make tarte for ages after those attempts. Now, I’m challenging myself to do it, and this time I couldn’t be prouder with the success. Finally! It turned out great. But the pastry crust is just one story.

I got the recipe of Tarte Aux Pommes - French Apple Tart from TEA CONCEPTS.

The first time I read it, I have no idea what is a pastry cream. So then, it took me a little digging up of what it is and found out that it is like a custard with creamy spreadable consistency. A little bit thicker than custard. I can’t find a certain recipe for pastry cream, so I made my own custard and just mixed it with a little cornstarch to make it thicker. With my French hubby as my reference and a little bit of research about pastry cream, I had an idea what to do because, I’ve been making custard since before. It worked quite well. Something new I learned from this recipe.

I have a few deviation of the original recipe as per my preference. I preferred to use margarine than butter for the sweet pastry dough, increased ½ cup the amount of flour, and used icing sugar instead of normal refined sugar. I preferred icing sugar because the sweetness is not overpowering and it has this subtle sweetness that just melts in your mouth, (as long as you don’t put too much) and as far as I have experienced icing sugar helps make dough more crumbly. Another alteration is I pre-baked the crust and sprinkled with cinnamon powder instead of sugar.

Here’s my version of the recipe with my alterations.

Apple Tarte

4 green apples
1 cup Pastry cream (cooled)
Sweet pastry dough
Cinnamon powder
Pastry Cream:
3 eggs
1 cup milk
3 Tbsp. sugar
1 tsp. cornstarch (mixed with 2 Tbsp. milk)
2 tsp. vanilla essence

Sweet Pastry Dough
½ Cup and 1 Tbsp. margarine
½ cup icing sugar (sifted)
1 egg
2 ½ Cup All Purpose Flour
1/8 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. vanilla essence


Make the Pastry Cream:
1. In a bowl, beat eggs and sugar lightly until well mixed.
2. Heat 1 cup of milk in a sauce pan until just before it comes to a boil.
3. Gradually add the warm milk to the egg mixture whilst beating continuously.
4. Place the mixture back to the pan return to the heat (very low heat) and continue mixing, taking care not to bring the mixture to a boil to avoid curdling. (if it boils, it will make the eggs scramble)
5. Add cornstarch mixture (1 tsp. cornstarch and 2 Tbsp. milk)
6. Continue mixing over low heat until the mixture becomes thick.
7. Set aside to cool, and chill in the refrigerator.

Make the Sweet Pastry Dough:
1. In a mixing bowl, mix margarine and icing sugar until creamy, add eggs and mix for another minute until soft and creamy.
2. Add flour and baking powder. Continue beating.
3. Add vanilla essence
4. Bring the mixture altogether to form a dough and mix with the hand.. Form the dough into a ball, Cover with Clingfilm and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Peel apples in half and remove the core.
Slice apples lengthwise as thinly as possible and set aside
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and knead for a few minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Flatten the dough into 5mm thick.
Roll out dough with a rolling pin onto a pie pan.
Press the dough to form the pattern of the pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
Remove from oven to cool down, chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. Remove from freezer.
Spread the cooled pastry cream over the base of the pastry shell.
Arrange the sliced apples on top of the pastry cream.
Glaze with melted butter
Sprinkle cinnamon powder on top.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes until the apples are caramelized and crust turns golden.
Turn off heat and allow to cool down before removing the tarte from the pan.
Use a dinner plate to flip over and another dinner plate to flip over again so that the tart shows its top.

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