caramelized rosemary apple tart
tarte caramélisée aux pommes et au romarin
Inspiration for this sweet dough comes from the savory crusts of two zucchini galettes by Smitten Kitchen and Chocolate & Zucchini. I loved their texture and the addition of sour cream and yogurt. I ended up using crème fraîche, and a little bit of sugar and vanilla extract to turn them into a sweet dough. Then I thought : my favorite apple tartes are always made with pâte feuilleté puff pastry. So, I folded the dough in three like a enveloppe several times so that the dough almost becomes layered like a real (puff pastry). It's definitely a cheat's version of the real pâte feuilleté (which takes way longer to make), but it works like magic. The idea of adding diced butter and sugar underneath the rolled dough to make it caramelize and slightly crunchy comes from my Parisian friend Clémence and my Parisian sourdough starters who had a lot to say on the topic of apple tart! I love making this apple tart in a big rectangle shape and bake it directly on a baking tray - or a baking steel stone, but you could also use a round tart pan for a more classic look.
for the 'almost puff pastry' dough - presqu'une pâte feuilleté
all purpose flour - 160g (unbleached, organic flour works best, if you're in France, get your hands on some T45)
butter (ice cold, diced) - 100g
light brown sugar - 20g
crème fraîche (cold) - 60g
salt - one pinch
lemon juice - half a lemon
vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon (make your own)
for the apples
organic apples - 5 (I leave the skin on so regular apples full of pesticides won't work here. I used a mix of pink pearl apples, honeycrisp and fuji apples. Feel free to mix and match here, the more variety the better)
light brown sugar - 50g (4 tablespoons)
butter (cold, diced) - 60g
fresh rosemary - 2 stems
Start with the dough. Mix the flour with the diced butter (I usually cut it, then put it in the freezer for 30 mn before using, it's easier to crumble but you can skip that step as long as your butter just got out the fridge and is not at room temperature). With your fingers, work the butter and the flour together (just like you would when making a crumble) until some crumbs form, keep working until the crumbs are very small. Add the vanilla extract, sugar, lemon juice and the crème fraîche and shape the dough into a ball. Sprinkle your working surface with a little bit of flour and roll the dough with a rolling pin in a small rectangle, fold in three like an enveloppe and flatten again. Repeat this fold three times - this will give your pastry dough a few layers like in a pâte feuilletée. After the folds, wrap the dough in a ball, flatten it and wrap it in cling film and reserve in the fridge for at least 1 hour.
Wash and dry the apples and with a sharp knife cut in quarters and then in very thin slices (you can also use a mandoline at this point). Reserve the apples in little closed bundles, that way they won't brown. If you would like to be extra safe squeeze a little lemon juice over them while you roll out the dough.
Preheat the oven at 350°F / 180°C.
Cover a big tray with parchment paper. Take the dough out of the fridge, and roll it out in a big thin rectangle. The trick for more caramelization all around: place a few small dices of butter all over your parchment paper, sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of sugar before laying over your rolled dough over it - this will caramelize your pâte feuilletée. Once you've placed all the cut apples in little bundles on the rolled dough, add a few dices of butter here too and sprinkle with the 2 remaining tablespoons of sugar - this will caramelize the edges of the apples. Right before going in the oven, add a little bit of fresh rosemary. This will add a slight herbaceous flavor to the tarte.
Bake in the oven for 35/40 minutes or until golden. Let cool for 10 minutes and serve for a 4 o'clock tea time - le goûter de 4 heures.