A Simple Maple-Apple Tart
October means apples. Trees are ripe with fruit in fall colored hues. In the northeast, the cool temperatures push us to collect, use and preserve while we can. This tart is the minimalist version of baking. A few ingredients, presented humbly yet producing a powerful burst of seasonally familiar flavor. Let's talk for a minute about the differences between a tart, galette, pie, strudel and all things pastry. In reality, aren't they all one in the same? While many of these terms are used interchangeably, there are subtle differences. These differences are mostly related to the crust.
Pie is the most recognizable from this group. A classic shortcrust pie generally includes a top and bottom crust with a filling between these crusts. Whereas a galette is a French term for a usually bottom layer crust made of a buckwheat flour. A classic tart, made using the shortcrust, is really no different than a single crust pie. The difference is that tarts usually include a layer of jam or custard as well. A German strudel strays away from the group by offering a wrapped, single crust of puff pastry.
Today I'm making a tart using puff pastry. I recently attended the Mother Earth News Fair in western Pennsylvania. It was here, that I discovered a maple product by Paul Bunyan Sugar Camp. They are a family business located in the Laurel Highlands, producing 100% pure and natural maple syrup products. When I sampled their maple cream, a pairing with apples was the first thing that came to mind. Maple cream is nothing more than 100% maple syrup whipped at specific temperatures to create a different form. This is a single ingredient product!
I often gravitate to a tart instead of a pie when I'm short on time. I'm also a sucker for pretty food. A tart gives you the opportunity to play with patterns to create a powerful presentation. Yes, I'm playing with my food!
For this recipe, I'm starting with purchased puff pastry from the freezer section. One single package includes two rolled sheets. I'm using one for this recipe. Simply defrost, unroll and you are ready to go.
First I used a fork to poke holes into the bottom of the pastry. You do this to avoid it bubbling up so much that it displaces your fruit. Then, using the back of a spoon, I coated the pastry with about two tablespoons of the maple cream.
Now comes the fun part . . . you start arranging your apple slices.
To top it off, I brush a tablespoon of melted butter over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes until the edges brown and you have a beautiful tart ready to serve! While delicious warm, I really enjoy it cold too.
- 2 Granny Smith apples, cored and sliced thin
- 2 tbsp maple cream
- 1 sheet puff pastry, thawed
- 1 pat butter, melted
- Line and cookie sheet with foil and spray with vegetable oil.
- Unroll puff pastry onto foil. Use a fork to poke about a dozen holes in the pastry sheet.
- Spread maple cream over the pastry.
- Arrange apple slices in a pleasing pattern on the pastry. Leave a 1/4" around the edges.
- Brush tops of apple slices with butter.
- Fold edges of pastry up.
- Bake a 400 for 20 minutes or until pastry edges brown.