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11 December 2013

Classic French Apple Tart (An Alternative to the Traditional Apple Pie)

Photo by Marialen Gharbi
Apple pies are some of the most loved pies during the holiday season; however, if you are bored with the usual apple pie, try a big classic French apple tart instead. It is like apple pie but with a flair. Special thanks to my sister Marialen Gharbi for the recipe.  I just hope I got it all right.

If you are pressed for time or you want to make the baking easier, you can buy ready-made pie-crust in supermarkets. However, if you are the do-it-yourself type of baker, then make your own pie-crust.  The benefit of making your own pie-crust is that you can shape it anyway you like, for example, an apple shape or a heart shape.

The ingredients for the pie-crust are fairly standard, but feel free to be adventurous.
1 cup of flour
½ stick of butter
1 egg yolk

Mix the ingredients together, knead and refrigerate for about an hour. Then, knead it again and form a pie-crust in the shape you desire.  The standard pie plate size is nine inches. Leave 1/2 inch overhang when you trim the edge.  

"My nephew, Amine, as the assistant
chef." Photo by Marialen Gharbi

The Apple Part
5 ripe apples
2 cups of water
1 cup of sugar (using a measuring cup)
1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder
½  teaspoon of lemon zest

Peel the ripe apples and slice them into small thin slices.
Then in a pan, boil the slices of apples with the sugar, cinnamon powder and lemon zest.
Boil until the apple absorbs the sugar and the water becomes syrupy.  Set aside until it cools. Make sure you have enough syrup because you will use them later.

The Almonds
1/2 cup of ground almonds
Leftover sugar syrup from the boiled apples

Mix the leftover sugar syrup with the ground almonds and the sweetened cooked apples. Mix them thoroughly until a pasty mixture is formed, similar to the usual consistency of an apple tart mixture.

Peel one apple and slice it to thin slices, similar to a shape of an onion. (See the pictures as guide)

Photo by Marialen Gharbi

Put the apple and almond mixture into the pie-crust. Make sure to apply the mixture evenly. Then starting from the middle, place one slice of apple one after the other.  The apple-almond mixture is sticky enough so placing the slices will not be difficult.  Place the slices following a clockwise arrangement to make sure you come up with a better design. If you want, you can start placing the slices of apple from the side.  Here is where your creativity will be put to the test.  

For best result, practice using cut cardboard paper first. Cut used cardboard paper into a shape of an onion and try to create a big petal arrangement.  Once you get the hang of it, you can start making your pie.

2 tablespoon of apricot marmalade (or any kind of marmalade that goes well with apple)
1 tablespoon of water

Dissolve the marmalade in water and then once you finished arranging the slices of apples on top of your pie, glaze the apple toppings with the marmalade mixture. Use a baker’s brush.  This will give the pie a shiny coating.

Finally, bake the entire tart in a preheated oven (400 degrees Fahrenheit) for 10 to 15 minutes until the top turns golden brown. That's it. You're done.

Bon app├ętit 

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