This simple Honey Thyme Apple Tart came about out of total boredom pressing in forty three pastry shells for a dessert at the restaurant. My mind started wandering around the fifth shell. I knew I wanted something simple, easy to put together with an unexpected element to start the year. It is not only beautiful to look at, it is even better to eat. The little bit of thyme gives this an unexpected note while the honey and balsamic vinegar offset each other.
The pate brisee crust for the Honey Thyme Apple Tart is simple to make in the food processor. I rolled my bottom and top crusts out, placed them between cardboard rounds and froze them. After they were completely frozen, I wrapped them well and stored them in the freezer where they stayed until I was ready to put the tart together. I simply pulled them out and, still wrapped allowed them to thaw in the refrigerator overnight or at room temperature as I assembled the filling. Just make sure the crusts are still cold but pliable when they go into the pan.
This tart uses a nine inch quiche or tart pan with a removable bottom. It is about three fourths to one inch deep.
I used a combination of apples – Granny Smith, Gala and Pink Lady – but you can use all one if you prefer. Just make sure you choose an apple that is good for pies. There is a great apple chart at 34 Science Backed Health Benefits of Apples. In fact, I didn’t know there were so many apples, many of them great for pies and tarts. Slicing the apples thinly will keep a gap from forming between the top crust and the filling.
The sanding sugar on top of the Honey Thyme Apple Tart not only makes the finished tart beautiful, it provides a crunchy finish to an otherwise soft interior.
While this could be served with ice cream or even a salted caramel sauce, it is perfect as a simple tart, unadorned, to finish any meal.
Honey Thyme Apple Tart – Pate Brisee pastry crust – for how to photos go here.
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour (175 grams or 6 ounces)
1/2 cup cake flour (50 grams or 1 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, cold, cut into small pieces (1 1/2 sticks or 170 grams or 6 ounces)
2 tablespoons beaten egg
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 tablespoons ice cold water (possibly a bit more)
Place the flours and salt in processor bowl. Pulse to mix. Add the butter and pulse to cut the butter into large pieces. Combine egg, lemon juice and water. Pour over the flour/butter mixture and pulse until the mixture forms the size of peas. Do not over process and do not let it form into a ball.
Pour the mixture onto a work area and press together into a ball. Flatten, wrap and refrigerate for several hours, or better overnight.
The crust can be made ahead, wrapped well and frozen. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.
Divide the dough into 1/3 for the top crust (about 190 grams or 6 2/3 ounces) and 2/3 for the bottom crust (about 380 grams or 13 1/3 ounces). As you roll one piece out, keep the other in the refrigerator.
When rolling the crusts, roll them about 1 inch larger than you actually want so they can be trimmed neatly to the correct size. Roll the top crust into a 11 inch round and cut to a 10 inch round. Refrigerate or freeze. Roll the bottom crust into a 13 inch round and cut into a 12 inch round. Refrigerate or freeze.Prepare the filling.
Honey Thyme Apple Tart Filling
1 2/3 to 2 pounds apples – granny smith, gala, pink ladies
1/3 cup brown sugar (65 grams or 2 1/4 ounces)
2 tablespoons honey
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons potato starch*
1 egg, well beaten
*Cornstarch can be used if the tart is not to be frozen
Peel the apples and slice thinly, placing them in a large bowl.
Sprinkle the brown sugar over the apples, drizzle with the honey and scatter the thyme over the apples. Stir the balsamic vinegar and potato starch together. Pour into the apple bowl. Mix all well and let it sit for about 20 minutes.
While the apples are resting, beat the egg with a fork until it is completely combined with no white visible. Set aside.
When the apples are ready, lay the 12 inch crust on top of the pan. Make sure it has an equal amount of dough overhanging the edge. Gently lower it into the bottom of the pan fitting it into the edge and leaving the overhang straight up. Spoon the apples into the crust, then pour the liquid over the apples evenly.
Egg wash the overhanging bottom crust. Place the 10 inch top crust over the apples. Press the edges of the top and bottom crust together tightly. Lay them over the top of the pan and cut them off with the palm of your hand so the crust is flush with the top of the pan.
Cut a decorative vent hole, slots or any design you wish on the top of the crust.
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes. Do not go longer as you don’t want the liquid to penetrate the bottom crust.
While the tart is chilling, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment and place the tart on top. Egg wash the crust and sprinkle heavily with the sanding sugar.
Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until nicely browned and the apples are soft when tested with a cake tester. Cover the top with foil if the apples need to bake a bit longer.
Cool completely. Remove the side ring and transfer the tart to a serving plate.
This Honey Thyme Apple Tart serves 6 to 8 (although I could eat half at one sitting as could Mike in which case it serves 2).