Monday, October 12, 2015

Autumn Apple Tart !


   Autumn has arrived in Fresno California ! Halleluia !!! The air is so perfect and refreshing after a hot summer, and the smoke that we have been periodically breathing from forest fires in our local mountains ! As sad as I am, when our bounty of summer fruits and vegetables goes away, it's nice to see the variety of apples,grapes,squash,and pumpkins,pomegranates,etc.,filling the wooden boxes at our farmer's markets.
   Recently for the joyful Rosh Hashanah (New Year) celebration with my Messianic Congregation, people brought apples,honey,and apple cakes to eat, to symbolize a sweet new year. I made and brought a French apple tart. I found a delicious Apricot Honey Almond Tart recipe in Patricia Wells ' cookbook called "Patricia Wells at Home in Provence", in which I substituted apples for the apricots and brushed warmed apricot-lavender jam on top. (I purchased this jam at a beautiful French shop in Carmel,California called Jean de Luz...a place that I looove to visit !!)  This tart is so easy and fairly quick to make. You don't have to roll out the crust ! Just press the dough into the pan ! Make it for your guests the day before your gathering. They will be AMAZED at your beautiful French creation, hardly believing that YOU actually made it !!

                                         Apricot (Or Apple) Honey Almond Tart

                         Equipment: One 9-inch (23-cm) fluted tart pan with removable bottom

The Crust

   Unsalted butter for preparing the tart pan
   8 tablespoons (4 ounces; 120 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
   1/2 cup (100 g) sugar
   1/8 teaspoon pure almond extract
   1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (I use Mexican vanilla,which is so delicious, that you can purchase online !)
   A pinch of sea salt
   1 1/4 cups plus 1 tablespoon (180 g) unbleached all-purpose flour

   2 tablespoons finely ground unblanched almonds

The Cream

   1/2 cup (12.5 cl) heavy cream
   1 large egg, lightly beaten
   1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
   1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
   2 tablespoons raw full-flavored honey, such as lavender
   1 tablespoon superfine or all-purpose flour
   About 1 1/2 pounds (750 g) fresh apricots, pitted and halved (do not peel) (or apples,cored and sliced thin)
   Confectioners' sugar, for garnish
   Apricot jam

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C; gas mark 5).
2. Butter the the bottom and sides of the tart pan and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and,with a wooden spoon, stir to form a soft,cookie like dough.Do not it let it form into a ball. Transfer the dough to the center of the buttered pan. Using the tips of your fingers, evenly press the pastry onto the bottom of the buttered pan. The dough will be quite thin.
4. Place the pan in the center of the oven and bake until the dough is slightly puffy and set, about 12 to 15 minutes. Sprinkle the almond flour flour on the crust. (This will prevent the crust from becoming soggy.)
5.  Meanwhile, prepare the cream: In a medium-size bowl, combine the cream, egg, almond and vanilla extracts, and honey and whisk to blend. Whisk in the flour.
6.  Starting just inside the edge of the prebaked pastry pan, neatly overlap the halved apricots, (or sliced apples), cut side up, at a slight angle. Make 2 or 3 concentric circles, working toward the center. Fill the center with the remaining apricots (or apples).
7.  Pour the cream evenly over the fruit. Place in the center of the oven and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes.The apricots will shrivel slightly. Remove to a rack to cool. (I brushed warmed apricot/lavender jam on top of the apples. I heated about 1/3 cup jam in a small pan on low heat.) Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

Eight Servings

Variation: When apricots are out of season,you can use figs,plums,or a combination of fruits such as peaches,apricots,and nectarines. To prepare this tart with fresh raspberries, prebake the dough as directed. Add the cream and bake until the filling is firm and the pastry is a deep golden brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. At serving time, arrange a single layer of raspberries (about 12 ounces; 375 g) on top of the filling. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar just before serving.

    P.S.  I always pray to Yeshua before I cook meals for friends and family, asking Him to help me prepare a delicious creation......Soooo.....Go for it Frenchie....Make this tart SOON ! Love ya !!!

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