Despite a serious slack of genuine summer weather and a worryingly late fruit harvest season, we are at the beginning of apple season. One of the best and brightest summer apple varieties is the Sunrise apple. For those not in the know, the Sunrise apple is a cross between the McIntosh apple and the Golden Delicious apple. It was developed in Summerland, BC[i]. Being an early harvest apple, it does not store as well as the later season apples, but it has a great crisp sweetness. A medium apple (approximately 154g) contains 80 calories, zero fat and sodium and 5g of dietary fibre[ii]. If you are doing a large harvest or making a large purchase, it is good to know that Sunrise apples make excellent applesauce. They also make a damn good apple tart. It sounds posh, it looks posh but if you don’t make the pastry dough yourself, it is a very simple treat to pull together. Remember, if you have a producing fruit tree in your yard, contact the Vancouver Fruit Tree Project to set up a harvest schedule that will help you help your community. Share the apple tart wealth.
FRENCH APPLE TART[iii]
- 1 sheet of frozen puff pastry , defrosted
- 4 Sunrise apples
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced
- 1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm apricot jam (any kind of jam will work as long as you like it with apples)
- 2 tablespoons Calvados, rum or water (choose rum if you use apricot jam)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Roll the pastry dough slightly larger than 10×14 inches (or whatever size your baking sheet is). Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4 inch thick slices. Place overlapping slice of apples diagonally down the middle the tart (the dough on your pan is the tart at this point) and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. Sprinkle with the full half cup of sugar and dot with the small diced butter.
Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. The apple juices may burn in the pan but the tart will be fine. When the tart is done, heat the apricot jelly together with the rum and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.
You can find the recipe with dough making instructions at http://aisforaubrie.blogspot.com/2010/08/contessa.html .
[i] “Okanagan Summer Apple Varieties”. Okanagan Vacation Guide, 2008-2012. http://www.okanaganvacationguide.com/apple-varieties.html
[ii] Apple Nutrition Facts, Sunrise Orchards Inc. http://www.sunriseapples.com/the-apple-orchard/important-information
[iii] Adapted from “French Apple Tart”. Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavour from Simple Ingredients by Ina Garten, New York: Clarkson Potter/Publishers, 2008.