Serves: Makes one 9-inch tart, to serve 8
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- ½ teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled, in small pieces
- 3 tablespoons ice water
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 4 ounces almond paste, at room temperature, crumbled
- 1 large egg, at room temperature
- ¼ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1 pound apples, peeled, quartered, cored, and thinly sliced lengthwise
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons apple jelly or honey
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons Calvados or brandy, or to taste
Procedures:Unlike the apple varieties sold in most supermarkets, selected for their ability to store for months, heirloom apples may not be good keepers. But when fresh off the tree, as you will find them at farmers’ markets and in CSA shares, they have a perfume and juicy sweetness that few storage apples can match. If you have a choice, taste first to find a variety whose flavor you like; with tart varieties, you may want to sweeten with a little more sugar.
To make the tart dough: Put the flour, sugar, and salt in a food processor and pulse several times to blend. Add the butter and pulse until the bits of butter are no larger than a pea. Drizzle the ice water over the mixture and pulse until the dough begins to come together; it will be crumbly. Transfer the dough to a sheet of plastic wrap and use the wrap, rather than your hands, to help you gather and shape the dough into a ¾-inch-thick disk. Enclose with the plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 1 day.
Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place it between 2 sheets of parchment paper at least 12 inches square. With a rolling pin, flatten the dough into an 11-inch circle. To prevent sticking, occasionally lift the top sheet of parchment and lightly flour the dough, then replace the parchment and invert the dough so the bottom sheet is on top. Peel back that sheet of parchment and lightly flour the dough, then replace the parchment and continue rolling.
When the circle is large enough, fold it gently in quarters to make it easy to lift. Transfer it to a 9-inch tart tin with a removable bottom, unfold it, and gently press it into place. Roll the rolling pin across the top of the tin to remove any excess dough. Prick the dough in several places with a fork, then place in the freezer for 30 minutes.
Baking the tart shell: Preheat the oven to 400°F. To keep the tart dough in place as it bakes, put a sheet of parchment paper in the tart shell and add enough pie weights or dried beans to cover the bottom of the shell and press up against the sides. Bake until the sides are golden brown, about 25 minutes. Lift the parchment paper to remove the weights; the shell will still be pale on the bottom. Cool on a rack. Leave the oven on.
To make the almond filling: Put the butter and almond paste in a bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the egg and beat until creamy. Add the flour and beat just until well mixed. Spread the filling evenly in the cooled tart shell.
To make the apple filling: In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice to prevent browning. Sprinkle with the sugar and toss again. Arrange the apples over the filling in concentric circles, working from the outside in and overlapping the slices slightly. Brush the apples with the melted butter.
Baking and serving: Bake until the filling is puffed and firm to the touch and the apples are browned on the edges, about 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack.
While the tart is still hot, warm the jelly in a small saucepan until it liquefies. Brush this warm glaze over the apples. Serve the tart warm. Cut the tart into wedges, and serve a dollop of Calvados Cream alongside each serving.
Before serving, make the Calvados cream: In a bowl, with a whisk or a handheld mixer, beat together the cream, sugar, and vanilla until the mixture visibly thickens and begins to hold a shape. Whisk in the Calvados and drizzle over the tart.