Apple Bretonne Tartlets

I saw this recipe in the bookstore (Sarabeth’s Bakery: From My Hands to Yours by Sarabeth Levine and Rick Rodgers) and hastily copied it down because it looked so delicious. I was so excited to use our new tartlet pans. Before we just use old pie tins and it’s always so difficult for the pie to look pretty…problem solved now!

almond tart dough recipe

Apple Filling:
4 medium Granny Smith apples, peeled and cut into 1/3-inch cubes
3/4 cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Seeds from 1/2 Plumped Vanilla Bean

Vanilla Cream:
3 large egg yolks (save the whites for the almond topping)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted
Seeds from 1/2 Plumped Vanilla Bean
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at soft room temperature
1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Almond Topping:
3 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 cups sliced natural almonds, toasted

Position a rack in the bottom third of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough 1/8 inch thick. line eight 3-3/4 by 3/4-inch tartlet pans with removable bottoms with the dough. Pierce the bottom of each tartlet in a uniform pattern with a fork. Freeze for 15 minutes.

Place the tartlet pans on a half-sheet pan. Line each with a round of parchment paper and fill with pie weights or dried beans. Bake until the pastry is set and dry but not beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven. Remove the parchment paper and the weights. Let cool.

Meanwhile, mix the apples, sugar, and lemon juice in a medium bowl. Set aside for 30 minutes. Transfer the apples to a large colander set over a medium bowl and drain the excess juice. Return the apples to their bowl. Stir in the flour and vanilla seeds.

To make the vanilla cream, using a handheld electric mixer on high speed, beat the egg yolks, confectioners’ sugar, and vanilla seeds in a small bowl until thickened and light in color, about 2 minutes. Add the butter, then the flour, and beat until very pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

To make the almond topping, whisk the egg whites in a medium bowl until foamy. Whisk in the sugar. Add the almonds and mix gently with your hands (which work better than a spoon for this job) until the almonds are well coated; take care not to break the almonds. Set aside.

For each tartlet, using a tablespoon, place the vanilla cream in the cooled shells. Spread evenly with a small offset spatula. With an ice-cream scoop, add apple filling to each tartlet, leaving the filling mounded. Using your hands, spread the almond topping thinly and evenly over the apples, masking the apples as best you can. Place the tartlets on a half-sheet pan lined with parchment paper to catch any drips that might occur.

Bake, rotating the pan halfway through, until the crusts are golden brown and the tartlets feel firm when gently pressed with your finger in the center, about 30 minutes.

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