This is lovely dessert that is both simple and quick to make. It is equally lovely served either warm or chilled, with a dollop of cream or ice cream. The tart can also be made very small and served as petits fours.
I tend to make a quick rough-puff pastry for this tart but a good quality bought puff pastry (the all-butter variety) works excellently. Even if I am making the rough-puff pastry, the tart can be made in about an hour from start to finish, with the preparation of the apples done while the pastry is chilling.
Pink Lady apples were used for the pictures but I often use Granny Smith apples which have a lovely sharpness. However, the Pink Lady apples did hold their shape and gave lovely appley bursts in the mouth.
I have made this tart with a layer of crème patissière on the pastry before the apples get placed but for this shallow tart I don’t think it needs it. And the pastry remains crisp underneath just as it is. However, I wouldn’t be without crème patissière if I am making this into a deep tart, using sweet pastry that is baked blind before filling.
I put the sliced apples in a mixture of lime juice, sugar and melted butter not only to prevent the apples from browning, but to help caramelise them a little while they cook. This juice also gives the apples a nice flavour. I boil the left-over juice until it goes syrupy, coating the tart liberally as soon as it comes out of the oven so that it gets a nice glaze. A splash of calvados into the syrup is nice!
You don’t need to cut the pastry as described in the recipe in order to form a rim. You can just place the apples all over the rolled out pastry as it is.
As an alternative to apples, this tart is particularly great made with pears or figs, for example.
Quick Apple Tart (serves 6)
- 250g all-butter puff or rough-puff pastry
- 4-5 apples such as Granny Smith, Pink Lady…
- juice of 2 limes
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 30g unsalted butter, melted
- pinch of salt
- beaten egg
- icing sugar to dust, optional
(1) Roll out the pastry fairly thinly to a rectangle about 30cm by 20cm. Trim the edges and place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper. Chill until the pastry has firmed up while you prepare the apples.
(2) If you want a nice pastry rim around the finished tart make a cut about half-way through the pastry 1cm or so from the edges, but take care not to go all the way through. The outer area will form the rim as the tart bakes. Prick the larger inner rectangle all over with a fork and brush the outer area with egg, taking care not to spill egg down the sides or into the cut – this would prevent the pastry from rising up and from forming the rim.
(3) Core the apples and slice fairly thinly. Place in a bowl with the lime juice, butter, half of the sugar and a pinch of salt, and mix well, ensuring the apples have been coated.
(4) Place apples across the inner rectangle, overlapping slightly – as in picture. Try not to get too much juice on the pastry. More than one layer of apples is fine. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the apples.
(5) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200°C for about 20-25 minutes until the pastry is well risen and the apples have turned golden brown. Don’t worry if any of the juices have escaped onto the pan and have started to burn.
(6) Towards the end of the cooking, boil the remaining line juice, sugar, butter mixture for about 5 minutes or until it goes syrupy. Liberally brush this over the just-cooked tart. Leave to cool.