French Apple Custard Tart

Source: Antoinne von Rimes, Pie Contest Winner

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This pie won second prize in CUESA’s Harvest Festival Pie Contest on October 25, 2014.

Makes 1 (9-inch) tart


1½ cups (195 grams) all-purpose flour
A pinch kosher salt
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
4 ounces (125 grams) very cold butter, diced
1 tablespoon (14 grams) frozen lard, diced
1 large egg
2 to 3 tablespoons ice cold vodka
¼ cup apricot preserves
1 tablespoons hot water

Approximately ⅓ cup of apple cider
Approximately ¼ cup of apple ice wine or Calvados
1 tablespoon (15 grams) unsalted butter
1 teaspoon of lemon juice
4 tablespoons (60 grams) white granulated sugar
4 tablespoons (60 grams) superfine sugar
⅔ cup (160 milliliters) heavy cream
1 large egg
½ teaspoon good quality vanilla
3 to 4 medium Braeburn or Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into ¼ -inch thick slices
Powdered sugar (optional)


1.   To make the crust, in a food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar, and pulse until well combined and the flour is aerated. Add the butter and lard, and pulse until the mixture has a sandy texture. Now, beat the egg slightly and add 1 tablespoon of the ice cold vodka to the beaten egg. Pour the egg mixture over the flour, butter, and lard mixture and pulse until the dough starts to come together. If the dough seems too dry, add the second tablespoon of vodka sparingly, and pulse some more just until the dough is able to hold together when pinched between thumb and forefinger. Do not overmix! Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface, being careful of the food processor blade. Lightly flour your hands and gently gather the dough into a ball, then gently pat it out into a disk. Wrap the disk of dough in plastic wrap and refrigerate immediately for 30 minutes.

2.  Now mix together the apricot preserves and hot water. Put the mixture through a strainer to remove any lumps. Set aside until after the crust has been blind-baked.

3.   To make the filling, make a simple syrup by pouring the apple cider into a small sauce pot and over medium heat. Reduce to approximately ¼ cup. At this point add the apple ice wine or Calvados, butter, lemon juice, and white granulated sugar and stir to combine. Now reduce this mixture until it is a simple syrup. Keep over very low heat.

4.   In a mixing bowl, whisk the superfine sugar, heavy cream, egg, and vanilla together until well combined.

5.   Remove the refrigerated dough and roll out to a ⅛-inch thick disk, gently place it in a 9-inch tart pan (with a removable bottom), and tuck the pastry into the pan. Do not stretch the dough. Let the dough overhang on the sides of the tart pan and gently tuck the dough into the ring, and remove the extra dough from around the ring. You can use this extra dough to patch any holes, cracks or thin spots in the pastry ring. Once the pastry is tucked into the tart pan, dock the bottom of the dough with the tines of a fork and then place the tart dough in the freezer for 30 minutes.

6.   Preheat your oven to 425°F (218°C). Remove the tart dough from the freezer and place a sheet of nonstick aluminum foil over the frozen tart dough, with the nonstick side touching the surface of the frozen dough. Make sure the foil covers the bottom and sides of the tart pan. Pour pie weights or dried beans onto the foil to weigh down the dough while you blind-bake it. Place the tart in the preheated oven and blind-bake for approximately 20 minutes, until the crust is lightly browned (ovens vary in heating so keep an eye on the dough). Remove the tart from the oven and remove the pie weights and foil.

7.    With a pastry brush paint the bottom of the dough with the apricot and water mixture. Lower the oven temperature to 400°F (200°C).

8.   To assemble the tart, arrange the apple wedges in concentric circles on top of the glazed tart shell, and brush the apples with the warm simple syrup mixture. Place the tart pan on a nonstick baking sheet or a baking sheet-lined with silpat or nonstick foil. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

9.   Open the oven and pull the oven rack out enough so that you can pour the custard mixture over the apples. Once that is done, gently slide the oven rack with the tart on it back into the oven and bake for another 15 to 20 minutes. If you feel fancy, you can dust the top of the tart with powdered sugar and place under a broiler to brulée the top. Careful, the top browns quickly, so don’t go anywhere.

10.   Remove the tart and place on a wire rack to cool. Let the tart cool for at least 1 hour. Remove the outer tart ring. Cut and serve the tart immediately.

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