Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart

Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond TartBon Anniversaire
Last Sunday my mother turned 70. (She’s going to love that I published that.) Since this is one of those big birthdays we, of course, had to do something big to mark the occasion. So, as per usual in my family, we ate. We ate very well. And we drank. We drank very very well. (The French do know their way around fermented grape juice.)

Since I was hosting the soiree, I decided that it would be fun to do a “70 in Paris” theme so we had the Eiffel Tower centerpiece on the dining table and everything we ate and drank was French. We even tried to speak in French but, well, at least we tried…

There were a number of tasty items on the menu including gougeres (cheese puffs), a wonderful country pate (my son took it in his lunch as a sandwich the next day…um, okay?), a bacon, egg and asparagus salad (perfect for this time of year) and a few other bacon and butter laden offerings to round things out. Vive La France!

While it was all super tasty (yay me!) I think by far everyone’s favorite dish was the Crispy, Crackly Apple Almond Tart. I noticed more than one person sneaking back for a second slice, and not all of the thieves were under five feet tall.

I first made this was for our cookbook club last month. It was a big hit. It’s a little tricky if you aren’t accustomed to using filo dough, but I have to say that it was easier this time around. So easy in fact, that my 8 year-old daughter buttered and sugared all of the layers on her own. It’s spreading the almond cream that takes patience so that you don’t rip the filo.

Add a little scoop of ice cream (I recommend Talenti Salted Caramel gelato—it will make your mouth happy), and you have a simple, but oh-so-good, and definitely oh-so-French, dessert.

This Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart can be served warm or at room temperature. I like to serve it a room temperature so that I can make it ahead of time. It would be a perfect addition to any Spring brunch buffet table. And, it makes for a wonderful breakfast when paired with a cafe au lait…

Crispy, Crackly Apple-Almond Tart
Adapted from Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan

For the Almond Cream
2 1/4  cups almond flour
½  cup sugar
2  large eggs
1  teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
10 tablespoons heavy cream

For the Tart
8 sheets filo dough (each 9 x 14 inches)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
About 1 tablespoon sugar
3 medium sweet apples, such as Gala or Pink Lady, peeled
2 teaspoons water
About ½  cup apple jelly or
strained apricot jam, for glazing

Make the Almond Cream
Whisk the almond flour and sugar together m 3 bowl.

In another bowl, beat the egg, vanilla, and salt together. Wh1sk in half of the almond flour mixture, and when it’s well combined, whisk in  the heavy cream. Finish by whisking in the remaining almond mixture. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the almond cream and chill it for at least 3 hours. (The almond cream can be refrigerated for up to 3 days)

Make the Tart
When you’re ready to construct and bake the tart, center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat or parchment paper.

Place one piece of filo dough on the lined baking sheet (keep the remaining pieces of filo covered with plastic wrap), brush it with melted butter, and sprinkle it with sugar. Cover with another sheet of dough. then butter and sugar the sheet. Continue until you’ve stacked, buttered, and sugared all 8 sheets. Using a small offset spatula or the back of a spoon, very gently spread the almond cream over the top of the filo: you can leave a slim border of uncovered dough on all sides – it will curl in the oven and that’s rather nice – or you can spread the almond topping all the way to the edges. Work slowly and be gentle, since filo is extremely delicate – if it tears (and it probably will)  patch it with almond cream. Cover the tart lightly with plastic wrap while you cut the apples.

Slice each apple in half from top to bottom and remove the core. Cut each half lengthwise into very thin slices (you should get about 14 slices per half apple). Arrange the apples on top of the almond cream, placing them in 3 long rows down the length of the tart or in as many short crosswise rows as you can fit. Keep the rows fairly close together, but allow a little almond cream to peek out between them.

Bake the tart for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the apples are tender when pierced with the tip of a knife and the almond cream is set. Transfer the baking sheet to a cooling rack.

Stir the water into the apple jelly or apricot jam and bring it to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat or in a microwave oven. Gently brush the glaze over the entire tart. Using a cookie sheet or two large metal spatulas or pancake turners, transfer the tart to a serving platter or cutting board. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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