The last recipe I’ll share with you from our Anthony Eats picnic is this recipe for French Apple Pie, aka Tarte Aux Pommes. Although few things are as American as apple pie, the French are pretty proud of their take on apple tarts, and deservedly so. French apple pies have wafer thin apple slices, buttery crust, and a caramelized glaze to give the whole thing an irresistible sheen.
Using a mandoline would make slicing the apples a much quicker job, but I have a deep seated fear of the guillotine like appliance after seeing my mother slice her fingertips off more than once. At Food Blog Forum, Oxo gave a few mandolines away as a prize and I have been tempted to check out their version ever since, but as fear still grips me, I sliced these apples with a paring knife. As soon as you slice the apples, put them in a water bath with the juice of half a lemon to keep them from turning brown. There’s no top crust to hide these apples under in French apple pie, so you need to keep them looking pretty until they go in the oven.
I’m using my favorite pie crust recipe as the base of this pie, the same that I used for the Quiche Lorraine, and I can’t in good conscience suggest that you use a store bought crust if you are short on time. I am not a from scratch snob and am as busy as the rest of you but in this instance, making the crust at home is worth your while. There are so few ingredients in this dessert that you’ll really taste the crust. It should taste like a love song to butter as it crumbles in your mouth. Whipping up my favorite crust with a food processor is significantly shorter than a trip to the supermarket. So whip out some butter, flour, water, and a food processor and whip yourself up a crazy delicious homemade crust. Once you’ve made it, this recipe will become an instant favorite and you’ll never buy frozen crust again.
These tarts would be pretty and delicious as individual desserts or like the big group pie I made for our picnic. But beware of group desserts on picnics! They invite silliness, and this pie ended up with Anthony and Juju picking off the caramelized apples and eating them with their fingers.
This rustic French apple pie is a celebration of butter and sweet apples.
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp baking powder
- 8 tbsps (1 stick) of butter
- 2 to 3 tbsps cold water
- 5 sweet apples such as fuji or gala
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2 tablespoons of apple jelly
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- First, make the dough. Combine the flour, salt and baking powder in a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Pulse 2 or 3 times quickly to mix.
- Cut the butter into 1 tbsp pieces and add to food processor. Pulse over and over again very quickly until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. You should not be able to see any more large pieces of butter.
- Scatter 1 tablespoon of tap water on the butter and flour mixture and pulse 5 to 6 times. The dough should begin to hold together. If the mixture still appears dry and crumbly, add more water, 1 teaspoon at a time.
- Remove the dough from the food processor. In your hands, roll it into a uniform ball. Place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Press it down into a 6-inch disk and cover with another piece of plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate the dough until firm, or until you are ready to use it, about an hour, to help the crust come together.
- Remove the crust from the fridge and give it 10 minutes to come to room temperature.
- During that time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease your pie mold.
- Roll out the pie crust to fit the pie mold. Lay it carefully into the greased pan so the crust reaches the top. Fix any holes and place in the oven for 15 minutes, until the crust is baked and just beginning to darken.
- Peel and slice the apples as thinly as you can. Or if you're very brave, use a mandoline to get them wafer thin. Place them in a lemon ice bath (made with the juice of the 1/2 lemon listed above) until you are ready to put them on the pie so they don't lose their color.
- Once the pie is lightly browned, remove from the oven and lay the apple slices on top, overlapping slightly. Feel free to lay them out in a pretty circular pattern or in a wild and crazy mess, whatever your preference is of the final look of the pie.
- Heat the apple jelly in a small saucepan with 1/4 cups of water to make a glaze.
- Once the pie is completely covered with apples, brush the top generously with the apple jelly glaze.
- Cook for 20 minutes in the oven and then dot the top of the pie with a few chunks of butter. Cook for another 10 minutes.
- Serve either warm or cold. Enjoy!