Apple Brown-Butter Tart

This little apple pastry is a great springtime dessert. It has lemon zest and juice making it just the slightest bit tart. The deep, brown-butter syrup brings enough sweetness to balance the lemon. Very fresh and tasty.

Apple Brown-Butter Tart

2 Granny Smith or Golden Delicious apples peeled, cut crosswise 1/2-inch-thick slices
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 Tbs. granulated sugar
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Pinch freshly grated or ground nutmeg
3 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, split and seeds scraped out with the back of a knife (reserve the seeds) or 1 tsp. vanilla
1 large egg
1 sheet frozen packaged puff pastry (Pepperidge Farm brand)
Flour for rolling out the dough
1 tsp. sugar, for dusting the top
Crème fraîche, lightly sweetened whipped cream, or vanilla ice cream for serving (optional)
In a large bowl, toss the apples with the brown sugar, granulated sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg.

In a 12-inch skillet, melt the butter over medium heat until the milk solids turn golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the vanilla, and stir. Add the apple mixture to the skillet. Stir the apples to coat them with the butter. Return the pan to medium heat and cook, stirring gently with the spatula every few minutes. Cook until the juices have cooked down to a fairly thick, brown, bubbling syrup, 10 to 13 minutes.

Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a small bowl, make an egg wash by beating the egg with 1 Tbs. water until well combined.

Unfold the puff pastry dough on a floured surface. With a floured rolling pin, roll the dough into a 12×14-inch rectangle. With a sharp knife, cut the rectangle in half lengthwise to form two 6×14-inch rectangles. Use a long spatula to help you move one of the dough rectangles onto the parchment-lined baking sheet.

Use a pastry brush to brush a 1-inch border of egg wash around the perimeter of the dough. (Save the remaining egg wash.) Arrange the fruit in a 4-inch-wide strip down the length of the dough. (I shingled the apple slices down the length of the dough in two rows.) Spoon 2 to 3 Tbs. over the apples; some syrup will likely run over the sides of the dough.

Lightly dust the other piece of puff pastry with flour and then gently fold it in half lengthwise. Using a sharp knife, cut 1-1/2-inch-long slashes at 1-inch intervals along the folded side of the dough for vents. Gently unfold the top piece of dough and stretch it over the filling, matching the straight edges all the way around the perimeter of the dough. Press the edges gently with your fingertips to seal the dough, and then, with a fork, very gently crimp the edges of the dough all the way around the pastry. Brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 400° for 20-30 minutes. Serve warm.


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