An apple tart with a fine French twist

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I am continuing the French theme this week. Classic French desserts have stood the test of time, and for good reason. An apple tart is something we all know and love, and this week’s recipe is how the French do it. A tarte fine, literally meaning thin tart, is a simple rustic tart made using puff pastry, almond frangipane, and thinly sliced apples. When I say it is thin, it really is thin, but that is part of its charm.

I love making puff pastry, it is one of the things I find so therapeutic to put together, even if it does take three days to make. Most sane people would buy it ready-made. Look for an all-butter puff pastry if buying premade, but if you do feel like giving it a go, I have included a recipe for a quick version – rough puff pastry. It is not as delicate as traditionally laminated layered puff, but it is flaky and buttery which is exactly what we are looking for here. It does need to be made a few hours before you want to bake it, and this recipe will make more than you need, so freeze what you don’t use.

The filling is an almond frangipane, the same almondy cream mix you’d find in a Bakewell tart. Here it almost melts away under the baked apples, forming a beautiful creamy glue to hold the apples and pastry together and adding a lovely marzipan note to the dish. Look for Braeburn, Cox or Granny Smith apples, these will hold their shape and won’t turn to mush while baking. Traditionally the apples are sliced very thinly, 2mm, but I like to cut them a little thicker, about half a centimetre.

The tart is sprinkled with a little light brown sugar and dotted with a few small cubes of butter before going into the oven. The sugar adds a luxurious caramel crunch and the butter bathes the apples while baking, adding a rich flavour and gorgeous shine. If you love apple tart, try this version for a change, you won’t be disappointed.

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