Country Apple Tart With Spiced Brown Butter

2008-10-08

Country Apple Tart With Spiced Brown Butter
 
Recipe from Bon Appétit, December 2001
Notes: For a fall dessert potluck at work, I wanted to make something a little showy that would feature a fall fruit. On Monday night, I took twelve Golden Delicious apples (5½ lbs), peeled and quartered them. I was worried that some of the chunks were too big, so I cut the larger apples into six pieces. This turned out to be a mistake: at the 20 minute mark, the thin slices were already very tender and falling apart. The position of the trays in the oven matters too, so keep checking them at 5 minute intervals. On Tuesday morning, I made the pastry, adding a few tablespoons vodka as it seemed a bit dry. That evening I rolled and fit it into the springform pan. Use a bit more than half the dough for the bottom, as I had too much for the sides. I also made the brown butter, using one less star anise than called for after reading the reviews on the Epicurious website. The mixture smelled a little funny, perhaps due to the cultured butter that I was using (the only kind I had in the fridge). I partially baked the crust after coming home from a show, then let it cool overnight. Early this morning, I assembled the tart by packing the apple pieces vertically in the prebaked crust, then pouring over a custard-like mixture of eggs, flour, sugar and bronwed butter. After the suggested 65 minutes baking time, it seemed a bit wet on top, but the apples were browned, so I covered it in foil then baked for another 10 minutes. For a finishing touch, I brushed a bit of quince jelly on top of the apples to give them a little shine.

The tart was a big hit at work, and was gone in 10 minutes. This tart really features apples in a big way, literally, since the chunks are sizable. I found the browned butter flavour a little strange and unappealing; perhaps the combination of cinnamon, cloves, star anise and vanilla is too assertive, or maybe I should have used plain unsalted butter.

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