You may not know this Famous Friday honoree, Nick Malgieri, but if you like to bake at all, or want to learn how, you are definitely going to want to pick up at least one of his 12 cookbooks and visit his website. Nick is the former Executive Pastry Chef of Windows on the World and was twice voted one of the ten best pastry chefs in America. Yet despite the fact that he's a high level accomplished pastry chef, his recipes are totally accessible for the home cook. Testing out his recipes is fun and challenging in a good way, like this pretty looking but easy to put together rustic apple tart.
So many times when pastry chefs write cookbooks the recipes look gorgeous but are nearly impossible to recreate at home without specialized ingredients and kitchen tools. I love to look at those kinds of books, but after a few disasters, I've kind of learned my lesson and no longer attempt to tackle intricate pastry making. But Nick is a home baker's friend. He explains steps and techniques and doesn't call for fancy hard-to-find ingredients. Other than the apples, I basically had all of the other ingredients necessary for this tart, in my pantry or fridge.
You start by making a very simple sweet pastry dough which happily gets entirely mixed in the food processor and can be made up to 3 days ahead. Once you roll that out and push into a tart pan, you peel, core and slice 3 Golden Delicious apples and then arrange them in concentric circles over the dough. It's like a little mini art project!
Next you sprinkle a mixture of sugar and cinnamon all over the tart--
Then you pop it into the oven and once it's cool you brush it with a little bit of apricot preserves thinned out with water, so that the tart has that nice shiny glaze.
Each bite is full of sweet crunchy pastry and tender cinnamon-sugar apple goodness, along with a little hint of tartness from the apricot glaze. The tart is wonderful on its own or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream. And because this is from Nick's low-calorie book, Perfect Light Desserts, each generous serving has only 217 calories, which in my book means you can have your cake (or tart) and eat it too!
Have a great weekend and if you have some spare time, pick up one of Nick's cookbooks and have fun in the kitchen!
Nick's Rustic Apple Tart-Famous Fridays
Prep Time: Dough takes 5 minutes to put together but needs to chill for several hours. To put tart together takes about 20 minutes; Bake Time: 40-45 minutes
For the Sweet Pastry Dough
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 6 pieces
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon cold water
For the Filling
- 3 large Golden Delicious apples
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
For the Glaze
- 1/4 cup apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon water
To make the Sweet Pastry Dough:
1. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Add the butter and pulse 10-12 times to mix in the butter well. Add the egg and water and pulse until the dough forms a ball.
2. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and carefully remove the blade. Flatten the dough into a disk and wrap it in plastic.
3. Chill for several hours or up until 3 days. If dough is too firm to roll out, let it sit on counter for 15-20 minutes to soften a bit before rolling.
To Make the Tart:
4. Place oven rack on lower level and preheat oven to 350ºF.
5. On a floured board, roll out dough into a 12 inch circle. Fold dough and carefully transfer to a 9 or 10 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Unfold the dough and press it gently into the bottom and sides of the pan. If there's any overhang, trim it with a scissor or knife. Set aside
6. Peel, core and halve apples. Then slice them into 1/4 inch slices across the core (perpendicular to the stem) and try not to separate the slices so it makes it easier to arrange. if slices do separate, it's no problem though, you may just have to work a bit a harder at arranging them in the circle. Starting at the edges, arrange apples so that they overlap in concentric circles. Once circle is complete, pile the rest of the apples in the center. Remember this is a rustic tart, so nothing has to look perfect.
7. In a small bowl, mix together cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle evenly all over apples in pan.
8. Bake tart for 40-50 minutes, until apples are bubbling a bit and crust is golden brown.
9. Cool tart in pan on rack. Meanwhile, in a small pot, mix the apricot preserves and the water together. Bring to a boil over low heat and then strain the mixture into a small bowl. Use a pastry brush to spread glaze all over apples. Let sit until glaze is set.
10. Serve as is or with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream. If you like, reheat the tart in a 300ºF oven for 10-15 minutes or just until it is warm.
Note: Recipe adapted from Perfect Light Desserts by Nick Malgieri. I cut the apricot preserves in half because I had too much glaze.