I first made this tart several years ago now. I know the recipe was from Bon Appetit’s “RSVP” section, which they don’t publish on their site, so I can’t tell you exactly what issue. I do remember the issue had a “best of the year” theme, or something like that, and this was what the Bon Appetit powers-that-be had deemed the “best” of that year.
It’s so simple you’d almost consider it humble peasant food. If there are only going to be a handful of ingredients, though, they have to be good ingredients and done well, and for me, this is simple at its absolute best.
The filling is nothing more than butter, sugar, and apples, but when cooked untouched for nearly an hour on the stovetop morphs into this luscious, rich layer of apples robed in silky caramel.
The crust can be a little tricky. I’ve made it with butter and with coconut oil and found the coconut oil made it more crumbly and tough to transfer from your rolling surface to the pan. Even with butter it tends to crumble a bit. But the great news is that this tart is supposed to look sort of free-form and rustic so if it crumbles, just pick up the chunks that fell off and lay them down where there are holes in your crust.
The piece of paper I wrote this down on all those years ago has splatters and stains and smear marks all over it, which I think is a sign of a truly great recipe. One you go back to again and again, and bears the marks of all the times previous it’s been pulled out and laid on the counter while you cook around it.
I hope you love it as much as I do!
Rustic Apple Tart
1 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, diced
2 egg yolks
1-2 tbsp. cold water
1/2 c. butter, diced
1/2 c. sugar
3 lbs. apples, peeled, halved, cored
Put the flour, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse a few times to mix. Add the butter and eggs yolks and pulse until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, and pulse until the dough starts to come together. Remove from the food processor and knead with your hands until it comes together in a ball. Flatten into a disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour while you cook the filling.
Scatter the 1/2 c. sugar around the bottom of a 12″ diameter frying pan. Dot the butter over the sugar. Place the apples, cut side up, in the pan, slicing any halves that don’t fit and sliding them in between the halves in the pan. Place the pan over medium heat and cook without stirring about 40 minutes, until the sugar and butter have turned deep amber in color. Remove from the heat.
Preheat oven to 350º.
Roll the crust out to about a 12″ diameter circle. Transfer to the pan and drape over the apples. Lay any pieces that fell off in any crust holes. Bake 35 minutes until crust is golden. Remove and cool completely in the pan.
Heat over high heat for 2 minutes then carefully invert onto a cake plate. Serve warm or at room temperature. Delicious served with vanilla ice cream!
Click here for a printable recipe.