Original recipe here.
This tart is fairly simple to make and well worth it. The original recipe calls for an 11 inch tart pan but I made do with my standard 9 inch one. There will be plenty of leftovers of each component if you are using a 9 inch pan, so feel free to make a second mini tart or pie, or find some fun use for it if you are wary of waste. The crust is a pate sucree, essentially a big buttery sugar cookie. The filling is a lovely subtle brown butter custard with sliced apples. Enjoy this tart for dessert with whipped cream or ice cream, or in the morning with coffee.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
1 large egg, beaten then divided in two
1 T heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 scraped vanilla bean
1 3/4 cup AP Flour
Beat together the softened butter with the sugar using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle or a hand mixer. Beat for two minutes until the sugar is fully incorporated. Add the salt, vanilla, cream, and 1/2 of the egg, discard the other half. Mix in the flour until cohesive, then place dough on a clean work surface and knead 4-5 times until it is completely together. Shape into a flat disk and wrap in plastic wrap. Leave it to chill preferably overnight or for at least 1-2 hours**. Meanwhile, prepare the tart pan by spraying it with non stick vegetable oil or butter it. After the dough has chilled, remove from the fridge and roll out to roughly the size of the tart pan. It might need to sit for a few minutes at room temperature before it is maleable enough. As you are rolling, the dough might start to tear away but do not add flour. There is enough butter to keep the dough from sticking to anything, simply use your hands to patch up the dough where needed. Carefully transfer to tart pan and press in evenly on the bottom and up the sides until it is about 1/2 inch thick, cutting off the overhanging dough. Use your hands, measuring cups, or whatever tools you need to press the dough as evenly as possible, focusing on the corners (I made a little video of this step below). Wrap excess dough in plastic and freeze if desired to use on another project.
If you do not have pie weights or prefer not to use them, use a fork or knife to poke around the dough sides and bottom. This is so the steam has a way to escape and will prevent the dough from puffing up too much. Cover loosely in plastic and freeze for at least 30 min. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you are using pie weights, cover the dough with aluminum foil or parchment and fill. Place the frozen tart pan on a baking sheet and bake the crust for about 20 minutes and set aside as you make the filling.
**Note: the proper way of handling this dough is fairly time consuming. I decided to take several shortcuts, which is reflected in this recipe, and was pretty happy with the results. If you want to make it properly, click the link to the original recipe above.
1 cup sugar
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 T vanilla extract
1/2 cup AP flour
1/2 tsp salt
3 apples, preferably pink lady or Braeburn
Optional whipped cream or vanilla ice cream
As the crust is baking and cooling, prepare the filling. Make sure to leave the oven on at 350 degrees. Place the butter and vanilla in a medium pot and cook over medium heat. The butter will start to boil, and in 4-5 minutes the milk fat will start to cook, creating brown butter. The color should be a brownish amber and there will be a nutty aroma. Take off the heat and set aside to cool, 10-15 minutes. It should not be hot when you use it because it could end up cooking the eggs when you add it in.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs, then whisk in the cooled brown butter. Add the flour and salt, whisk until smooth and set aside. Prepare the apples by peeling, coring and slicing them horizontally about 1/4 inch thick. Alternatively if you do not have an apple corer, you can slice them vertically and discard the cores. Tip: If you are not ready to use the apple slices, place them in a bowl with ice water with lemon juice so they do not start to oxidize.
Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment. Line the partially baked crust with the sliced apples. You may not use all of the slices, I ended up having two layers and some left over to snack on. Carefully pour the filling over the apples, making sure not to overflow. If you used a 9 inch tart pan you'll have about 1/2 cup of filling leftover, feel free to make something fun with it or discard. Place the tart in the oven and bake for 65-75 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan halfway through. The crust will be a deep golden brown and the top of the tart will be brown and starting to crack when it is ready. Remove from the oven and let it come to room temperature. Serve warm, room temperature, or cold, and with whipped cream or ice cream. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for up to 5 days.