When Fornetto became available on the French market, Peter, our European Operations Director asked me to prepare a traditional French apple pie or tart for a blog. A client in France thought it would be a nice idea and I said “Sure, no problem!”. After having done some research however, I discovered that France has a panoply of apple pies and tarts to choose from, all very different depending on the region, occasion, and style of cuisine. Some are very rustic and some are quite complex. Some take their influence from German origins while others are quite Mediterranean. Some are layered with custard and others with apple sauce. Some are baked upside down, some have pastry lids, some are topped with crumble and some are geometrically arranged with apple slices on the surface. So, which to choose?
A friend of mine is from the north of France though she’s lived in many different regions so I asked her for her input. Her answer was as follows, “I like the “classic” apple tart the best – it’s found throughout France”. I liked her answer because it’s actually a very eye-catching tart with the apples all laid out in concentric circles over the surface. It’s sure to delight everyone around your table, whatever the time of year. Let’s take a look!
The shopping list is quite simple. You’ll need puff or shortcrust pastry for the base. I used puff but shortcrust is more traditional. Soft fleshed apples like Gala or Fuji, lemon, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla for the apple sauce filling. Ginger jam or jelly for the glaze (any light coloured jam or jelly work well, like apricot for example however, ginger and apple go well together and add an even bigger holiday taste when combined with the cinnamon and vanilla) and a more robust apple, like Granny Smith, butter and sugar for the apple slice layer.
It’s important to bake the crust before filling it with the sauce and the apples or you’ll end up with mush. Bake it in a 200C (390F) Fornetto oven, kamado, smoker (or a conventional oven) for 20 minutes, remove it, glaze it and allow it to cool. Lower the heat in the Fornetto to 190C (375F) for baking the tart later on. While you have the crust baking, make the apple sauce filling and allow it to cool. Click here if you want to view the recipe now!
Once the sauce is done, prepare the apple slices by sautéing them in the butter with the sugar.
On the left hand side of the image are the apple slices before they’ve been sautéed. They should be about 3-4 millimetres (about an eighth of an inch), peeled and core removed. On the right of the image are the sautéed apple slices. Sauté them in the butter just long enough to make them pliable but not mushy.
Fill the glazed crust with the apple sauce and place the apple slices in concentric circles on the surface. Dust the apples lightly with confectioner’s sugar and bake the tart in the centre of the Fornetto at 190C (375F) for about 30 to 45 minutes. Move the tart to the top most position of the oven to allow the apples to darken around the edges if they aren’t darkening in the centre of the oven. Only allow them to darken on the edges, don’t allow them to burn!
Using your safety gloves, remove the tart from the oven and place it on a wire rack. Glaze the top of the apples and allow the pie to cool before cutting it.
Here you have it, a classic French apple tart that will definitely impress your guests. Click here for the full recipe!
To serve it, dust it lightly with confectioner’s sugar and serve it with vanilla or caramel ice cream. Delicious!