Oh boy do I have a story for you.
This is the second time I am seriously trying to make an apple tart of sorts. The first time I tried I nearly died! Scroll on to read the story, or click through if you just want to see the recipe.
I was baking some apple tarts.
I made the crust, I made frangipane to fill the crust, I was cutting up apples, making an apricot glaze to go on top of the tart.
It was all good. I was baking. I dropped one of the tart in the oven, a few crumbs fell onto the bottom, there was a bit of burnt smell.
Nothing to worry about. As it was baking on and I been checking on them visually, making the apricot glaze. Thinking that, man that little crumb can sure burn. It is smelling pretty burnt, and bad. Didn’t think much of it, went to open all the windows (windows at my house only open a couple inches, so they are not the best of windows) Opened one of the patio doors, (the other one is stuck). Got two fans and aimed them at the right angle at the oven.
Last time when something like this happened, I had my brother over for some baked salmon. The baking dish shattered and it was so smokey, so burnt … luckily he was there and we did this whole set up so you can say I had the experience this time. I still thought this was from the crumbs, so I got all these prep going but still thinking, oh there is only a few minutes left for the bake, I would wait. I cracked open the oven door a bit to check.
I inhaled some of it. It stinks. and It stings! Ran out gasp for air. Turned the oven off. … but need to save the bakes! Panicking. Call my brother for help. Maybe he can get that second door open, it would probably really help.
Deep breath, took out the tarts. Ran out, gasp.
Bro texted said oh it’d be a while before he can get here. Sarcastically replied oh this isn’t urgent at all, take your time. Figured there wont be help for a while. Must get everything done.
Ran back in, save the pie. Ran out, gasp.
Grabbed a tool, pried the locking mechanism for the second door open. FINALLY.
Had the presence of mind to actually brush the glaze terribly onto the tarts. Gasp. Stood outside. Waiting for smell to clear. (smoke was clearing as the doors were opened)
Smell like smoke. Burping up smoke. Dont want dinner anymore. But otherwise doing alright. XD
Turns out, the frangipane had butter in it. … and when it bakes, the butter seeped out of the pie tins (they are two pieces tins for easy demolding) and pooled on the bottom of the oven. What I was smelling and dealing with was burnt grease! It smells awful. The house still smells after attempts of cleaning and getting rid of the grease. The tarts tasted alright. Could probably be better if I can finish the bake properly and brush the glaze on properly. >.> Since the tarts had spent time with smoke in the oven. They actually smell like smoke. I couldn’t smell it when I taste tested it so it was embarrassing when I served it and it was pointed out to me. Also my cabinets and kitchen all smelled like smoke. I am washing the walls the fans the floors everything hoping the smell will go away.
It has not been easy. Yikes.
Since then, I have learnt that if you were to use any baking containers that is not just one solid piece, ALWAYS put a baking sheet underneath it. JUST IN CASE. And it has run smoothly for me since then!
For the Pâte Sucrée (from Cooking with Alia)
113g Unsalted Butter, softened
80g Icing Sugar
25g Ground Almond
pinch of Salt
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract (or extract/spice of your choice)
200g All Purpose Flour, plus extra for dusting
For the Frangipane
50g Ground Almond
2 Tbsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt
30g Butter, softened
2 Tsp of Vanilla extract (or Rum!)
3-6 Granny Smith Apples, thinly sliced
For the Apricot Glaze
2 Tbsp Apricot Jam
Water to thin out the jam
1. Original recipe calls for some mixing. I decided to pop them all into the food processor and pulsed until combined.
2. Turn the mixture out onto a surface, form a dough. Wrap in clingfilm, and leave in fridge for at least an hour. You can make the dough ahead of time a day or two until you are ready to bake.
3. When you are ready to make the pastry, take the dough out of the fridge. Dust some flour on the counter and roll the pastry out to the thickness you like. For ease of handling, I think 4-5mm is pretty good.
4. Once it is all rolled out, you can drape the pastry over the rolling pin and unroll the pastry over your tart tin. Gently press the pastry into place in the tin. Trim off the excess pastry by rolling the rolling pin over the edge of the tin, it feels so fancy when you do it. Now depending on the tart you bake you may also want to trim the pastry by hand and leave a bit excess over the tin’s height because the pastry will shrink after baking. If you want more height for more filling, leave some extra.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/360°f
Line the pastry case with parchment paper and fill it with baking beads if you have them. If you don’t, rice do the job nicely. Or red beans that are so old you know they won’t cook up a nice paste. Bake for around 10-15 minutes until a bit of colour on the edge. If you are going to use the pastry case as is, then you probably want a bit more colour on the pastry. If you are baking it again like we are going to for this tart, pale colour is fine. Once out of the oven, leave it in the tin on a cooling rack to cool.
6. To make the frangipane. Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until smooth. If not using a food processor you can also use a hand mixer.
To assemble the tart:
1. Preheat oven to 190°/375°
2. Spread a thin layer of frangipane on your baked pastry. Use as much apple as you like. I only used about 2-3? But if you really fill it up all the way you can use up to 6. For best result I’d recommend using a mandolin to make nice, thin, even slices. After placing your apple slices, you can sprinkle sugar on top so it’d be nice and caramelized when you bake it. Or not if you want to do an apricot glaze.
3. Set the tart tin on a baking sheet (learn from my mistake!) and bake in oven for ~60 minutes. Now the more apples you have on the tart the longer it will have to be. So you will have to adjust baking time according to that. You want the apples to be soft and baked when finished.
4. To make apricot glaze, warm jam up in a small saucepan. If you think the jam is still too thick once warmed up, add a bit of water. Mix well, then strain the glaze and apply to the baked tart with a pastry brush.