French Apple Tart

This is one of my favorite desserts to make because it looks so fancy, and yet it takes no artistic skill whatsoever.  My cakes always come out a little lopsided, but this tart looks beautiful no matter what!  It just takes some patience to cut and arrange a whole bunch of little thin apple slices. (And really, those apples didn’t taste as burnt as they look).  It was a great Thanksgiving dessert – a nice change from the usual apple pie.  

(Adapted from Baking with Julia, seen at Once Upon a Cakestand)

Tart shell
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, cut in small pieces
about 1/4 cup ice water

Stir together flour and salt.

Cut butter into small pieces and add to flour mixture.  
Using a pastry blender, mix the flour and butter until it is in small crumbs.
Stir in half the water gently, mixing just until a dough forms.  Add the remaining water only if needed. 
Pat into a disk and refrigerate.

Filling
2 pounds Golden Delicious apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
a large pinch of cinnamon
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
juice of one lemon

Peel and core the apples.  Cut into thin slices.

Put in a large saucepan and drizzle with lemon juice. 
Add sugar, flour, cinnamon and breadcrumbs. 
Add a tablespoon of water and put on medium heat. 
Cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are easy to mash with a potato masher.
Mash apples until nearly smooth.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.  
Roll the tart dough out to 1/8″ thickness and press into a 9″ tart pan.  Line with parchment and pie weights and bake for about 20 minutes, or until edges are golden brown.
Remover from the oven and turn the heat down to 375 F.
When the tart shell is cool, spoon the apple puree into it and smooth evenly.
Topping
2 Granny Smith apples 
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1-2 tablespoons of butter, melted
1 tablespoon of sugar

Peel and core the apples and finely slice them.

Drizzle lemon juice over them to prevent them from browning. 
Arrange the apples in a circle over the purée. The slices should overlap each other slightly.  
Cut a round piece from one slice to go in the center.
Once all the apple slices are arranged, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake the tart for about 30 minutes. When the edges of the apples have started to brown, take it out of the oven and transfer to a cooling rack.

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