1 piece of puff pastry dough (can be purchased from store in 1 pound packages)
Flour for rolling dough
6 Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 lemon for juice
2 to 4 tablespoons of apricot preserves


Preheat oven to 450 F. 1. Roll out dough into a piece larger than 11 inches. Cut out a round piece with an 11-inch bowl. Using a sharp knife, cut around the edge of the bowl to create an 11-inch circle.
2. Place dough in tart pan and form to the contours of the pan.
3. Peel and core apples. Slice each apple in half, and then slice into thin pieces (1/8 inch).
4. Spread sugar (reserve a small amount for sprinkling the top of the tart) and cinnamon onto bottom of tart shell and spread evenly.
5. Lay uneven apple slices onto the bottom of the tart shell. Starting on the outside, take the other slices and lay out in an even pattern around the shell. Fill center with a few apple slices.
6. Sprinkle sugar over the top of the apples and squeeze lemon over the same.
7. Bake for 45 minutes at 450 F.
8. After removing from the oven, heat apricot preserves with 2 to 4 tablespoons of water in the microwave and lightly brush or glaze over the top of the tart.
9. Un-mold the tart while still warm so that any overflow of juices does not stick to the tart pan.

Recipe courtesy of Vito Aluia, Puff! Tarts, 2010.

Tired of making apple pies? As good as they are, this is a new and perfect way to use your apples this season.

A tart is pastry crust with shallow sides and no top, filled with fruit or other more savory types of fillings. Vito Aluia of Puff Tarts demonstrates one of his favorite dessert tarts made with fresh apples. There are two methods for coring the apples and he demonstrates both, one using a mechanical apple peeler/corer. Even in today's high-tech world, there's nothing better or faster for peeling, slicing and coring apples than this old-fashioned tool. The other method he shows is using a hand corer, which is probably easier if you are just coring a few apples.

One of the taste benefits to Vito of an apple tart as opposed to an apple pie is the firm texture of the crust, especially the bottom of the crust. He started experimenting with making the perfect tart several years ago and shares everything he has learned in the process, such as refrigerating the crust 30 minutes before cooking.

I'm going to make a traditional puff pastry French apple tart. We're going to start with a piece of puff pastry dough. Now, the reason I like to use puff pastry dough is because it cooks up much better than a traditional pie crust would. We'll start with the puff pastry crust. We'll put it down on our marble board, and I like to use marble because it is a little cooler and it tends to keep the puff pastry nice and firm. White flouring, and then just roll it out very lightly left and right.

I have a 9 and 1/2 inch tart pan. I have an 11 inch bowl. And I'm going to use the bowl as my template to cut out for the tart pan. So I use it and I use a knife. You don't want to press down, because when you press down on a puff pastry, you basically are gluing all the layers together, and that's not a good thing. It won't puff for you in the oven.

So once you have that cut up, you pull this off, drop it in, and then just push it around the corner. Now you have a little bit of an overhang, which is fine because it might shrink a little bit, and so a little bit over is good. And just tuck it in nicely. Put it in a refrigerator for about 20, 30 minutes just get it firm again. You want a nice cold dough to be ready when you're ready to wrap it in the oven. The colder it is, the less chance it is that it'll shrink down when it's in the oven.

I like to use Granny Smith apples. Granny Smith apples are firm and they hold their shape when I cook them on the tarts. If you have a favorite apple, try it, experiment. Sometimes what happens is the apples turn to mush, but these hold their shape really well and are highly recommended. We need to peel and slice all the apples. You can do it manually, or you could do with this lovely little machine right here. I call it the apple peeler-corer. So it's very simple to use. Grab your apple. There's a little lever back there. Pull the handle back. Three prongs, one hole-- what you want to do is match up the hole with the hole and just stick it into the prongs. There's a little cutting blade right here, and you start turning, and it starts to peel it. And now it's coring. And you can go through this bowl of apples in 5 seconds if you so pleased.

Now, second way to peel an apple. You have a little corer here. You can get these just about anywhere. It's an apple corer. It's got a little sharp end right here. You get your apple. Once again, you line it up with a little bit of force and you put it right through. Give it a little turn and pull it out, and your apple is now cored.

Now we're going to peel the apple. Get a very sharp knife, and just start at the very top and just watch your fingers. Takes a little bit longer than doing it the other way. You can see why that's such a valuable thing, especially if you're peeling 40, 50 apples. This can take all day just to take the top and bottom off. Just clear that up.

Now, the way we'll prepare it for the tart-- we're just going to cut the apple in half so it's got a firm surface, and then we're just going to cut it into thin slices. So each cut is probably about an eighth of an inch, less than a quarter of an inch.

Now we're going to prepare our tart. I have sugar, cinnamon, and my cut apples. Very little sugar. I mean, if it's a 1/4 cup on the bottom, that's a lot. So I just use my hand-- just give it a nice little dusting of sugar. That's all you need. And with cinnamon, I don't like to use a lot. Some people don't use any at all. Just spread your sugar out like that. You want your apples to be uniform at this point, so I would just pull off a couple from each side, so that they're pretty much the same size all the way through. Sprinkle them all on the bottom. Make a nice even layer just to build it up a little bit. There's no need for this to go to waste.

So then I start with the beauty part. And so you get your apple and you basically just fan it open with your hands like that. It'll all come together at the end. And at the end, you can adjust it. If there's one that's sticking out, just go with a knife and just move it along. It'll be fine. It'll look pretty. Just grab one of your apples, drop it right in the center like that. If you need to add more, just split it open, get some more apple. Just tuck it in there just like that.

Little bit of sugar on top-- just another little sprinkling. Grab your lemon. Hold your hand above it to catch the seeds and just give it a little sprinkling, and you're ready for the oven.

So we baked it for about 45 minutes at 450. Puff pastry likes a hot oven, so you have to start your oven really hot. Depending on how your oven burns, it could be hotter than 450, warmer than 450, but start it at 450, 425 and then watch it.

I have some apricot preserve that I've heated up with a tablespoon or two of water, and I'm just going to lightly glaze the top.

All right, now we have to unmold it. Sometimes what happens is apple juices will flow down, it gets a little sticky to take out, so the best time to do it is while it's still hot, because once those juices set up, becomes hard, almost impossible to take out. It can be done, but it can be a little messy too. So I have a little bowl, and I'm going to just place the tart pan on top of the bowl and then gently work the pie crust down. This came off pretty easy, but sometimes it doesn't. It's not a problem. You take your pie crust off. It's on the metal base still. Get your serving dish.

A fine ending to any meal, and you will be the star of the dinner.

Apple Tart
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