Tuesday, October 8, 2013

French Apple Tart with Vanilla-Almond Pastry Cream

I love autumn! It's my favorite time of the year. The leaves are changing colors, it's cooler outside, and we can finally shut off the A/C, open the windows and let the breeze blow through the house. It's also apple picking time!

Last year, we waited until too late in the month of October to make our annual trek to the North Georgia Mountains to go apple picking. By the time we finally got around to going, we made the one hour, twenty minute drive, only to find that all of the U-Pick fields were already closed for picking. I was NOT going to let that happen this year.

 So, this past Saturday, that's exactly what we did. We loaded up the car and headed for R & A Orchards in Ellijay, GA. This time, they were still picking Granny Smith, Rome Beauty and Stayman Winesaps. We brought home two large bags, mixed with some of each variety. My kids requested that I make Apple Butter like I do every year, but I also really wanted to make an apple tart. I just bought a new large tart pan, and what better way to put it to use.  

French Apple Tart with Vanilla-Almond Pastry Cream
Adapted from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Crust (to fit a 12" tart pan)
1-3/4 cups + 2 Tblsp all purpose flour, chilled
3/4 cup cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup + 2 Tblsp ice cold water

  1. Place chilled flour in food processor and sprinkle with salt.
  2. Add the diced butter (be sure it's nice and cold) and pulse until all you can see are pea size chunks of butter in the flour. Pour mixture into a bowl.
  3. Add ice water, 1 tablespoon at a time, stirring gently with a fork between additions. Try not to over work the dough, only stirring it enough to incorporate the water.
  4. When all of the water has been added, place a large piece of plastic wrap on your work surface, and dump the dough into the center of the plastic wrap. Run your hands under cold water and quickly bring the plastic wrap up around the dough, pressing it together with your hands to form a ball, while enclosing it in the plastic wrap.
  5. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to chill, or overnight.

Pastry Cream
1-1/4 cup almond milk
1-1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
5 Tblsp corn starch
1 Tblsp butter

  1. Place almond milk and vanilla in a medium size sauce pan over medium heat, and heat until hot, but not boiling.
  2. Place egg yolks, sugar and corn starch in a bowl, and beat with an electric mixer until pale yellow in color (about 3-4 minutes).
  3. With mixer on low, slowly add a ladle of the hot milk to the egg mixture. Once incorporated, add another ladle of the hot milk and mix well.
  4. Pour the egg mixture into the remaining milk in the saucepan, and cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until mixture starts to thicken.
  5. Remove from heat and add the butter, whisking to remove any lumps.
  6. Place into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on top of the pastry cream. Refrigerate until cool. 
For the Tart
3-4 apples of your choice, sliced thin (I used my Pampered Chef apple-peeler-slicer-corer)
1/4 cup sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 Tblsp butter, melted

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Remove the dough from the refrigerator and roll out on a lightly floured surface, large enough to fit your tart pan. Place the crust in the pan, pressing the dough evenly to fit the bottom and up the sides of the pan. Trim excess dough.
  3. Spread pastry cream evenly over the bottom of your tart dough.
  4. Starting on the outside of the tart, place the apple slices in a circle, overlapping slightly. The next row should overlap the first row slightly. For the inside row, you can cut the apple slices in half.
  5. Sprinkle the apples with the sugar and cinnamon, then drizzle with the melted butter. I cut out 4 leaves with the remaining crust dough, and placed them in the center for decoration.
  6. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove to a cooling rack and cool completely. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

My son says to me "it tastes like a creme brulee, apple pie combination". You know what? He's right, and it is SO good!

Buon Appetito!


  1. I need to make this soon, Kim. Looks amazingly delicious!

    1. Thanks Renee! If you make it, don't tell me how many points it is . . . I don't want to know! (Unless it's not that bad, then you can tell me) ha ha

  2. That tart would be in trouble in this house. Gorgeous!

    1. Thanks Valerie! It WAS trouble in my house too! My husband doesn't eat desserts, and I have a major sweet tooth! Yikes!