French Apple Tart vs. Classic Apple Pie

This is an alternative and a solution to take advantage of the bounty of the apple harvest and to bake something besides the ubiquitous apple pie. I adapted a recent post on the classic apple pie recipe, which is a popular one among bakers. I came up with a new twist and a refined take on a good old standby.

The ingredients used are more or less the same. There are differences in technique between the tart and the apple pie:

  • Instead of a standard pie crust, the tart crust uses a pressed shortbread dough. It’s easier to press against the tart pan using melted butter. Yes, melted butter, instead of cold butter. Not a conventional approach, but it works. It’s actually a lot of fun to work with a warm, soft and malleable press dough. Kids or adults, every one would love massing around with this Play-Doh-like dough. This is one of the easier crusts I’ve worked with and one I’d keep using. Additionally, there is no need to chill the dough. It goes directly into the oven. As you can tell, there is no shrinking of the crust! The tart crust is parbaked and does not require the use of pie weights. There is no need to cap the pie with a crust on top. No lattice crust is necessary, another time saver.
  • The artful rosette arrangement of the apple slices may take time to do. But it is not difficult, although time and patience may be a necessary ingredient. In the end, your effort is rewarded with the eye-popping pattern that emerges. The apple slices are cooked and softened before they are put into the tart. That shortens the baking time.
  • The apricot preserves and a few tablespoons of butter dotting the surface give the tart a richer and brighter taste — with a touch of European flair. The preserves contribute pectin, which helps firm up the texture of the apple filling.

Classic apple pie


Apple tart before the final bake


Initially, I wanted to find more ways to make another version of the classic apple pie. What I ended up with was an elegant and, if I may say, an enhanced version. Needless to say, it may be the difference in style than anything substantive in taste. The tart is fantastical to look at. Its deep fruity taste and crispy texture are equally impressive. My husband has never been a fan of the apple pie crust. He loves the crust to filling ratio of this one. The tart offers less of a crust, although a different shortbread type of crust, and more of the tender and sweet tangy apples that he craves. I served this tart for company and it quickly vanished and was widely enjoyed.



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