It’s the final countdown! We are just a couple of days away from Thanksgiving and I am so ready for it. Since I went to a Friendsgiving party this past weekend, where I brought two desserts (including my pumpkin cheesecake), Brussels sprouts, and my sangria, I feel like it was a warm-up for the actual day. The Friendsgiving party was a lot of fun and had 16 people in total which is double the amount of people that I’ll be with on Thanksgiving. So even though there will be less mouths to feed on Thursday, I’ll be contributing much more food and helping out in all departments. It will definitely be more work but I'm excited to do it all while being with my family.
I wanted to give you one last Thanksgiving dessert, and even though this recipe is being posted just a couple of days before the big day, it requires less time and effort than most desserts made for the holiday (cough pumpkin cheesecake cough). We’re talking about an apple tart today, and this recipe in particular is one of the simplest apple tart recipes out there. If you want an apple dessert on your dinner table Thursday night, but the idea of baking a deep dish apple pie is daunting to you, then this recipe is perfect for you.
This apple tart is baked in a fluted tart pan, which makes it almost fool-proof in the sense that you can’t mess up the shape. Unlike apple pies where you have to worry about making the top crust look all neat and pretty, this apple tart has the apples exposed on the top for a beautiful, rustic look. The only crust on top will be any excess dough that is folded over before baking: a step that doesn't require much skill.
If you want to make this tart galette-style, feel free to ditch the pan and mold the dough freeform on parchment paper on a baking sheet. I recommend using the tart pan if you’re planning on traveling to someone’s house for Thanksgiving. That way, you can keep the tart in its cute little pan and not worry about having your galette flying around in the backseat. But if you’re hosting it at your house and don’t have a tart pan, then by all means, go with the galette. Do what works for you!
Since this apple tart is so simple when it comes to the flavor, with only sugar and butter being the added ingredients, you have the option to spice it up if you want to. I would recommend adding your favorite apple pie spices: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, cardamom, etc and/or a splash of vanilla extract or lemon juice. But honestly, the way I have the recipe written is fantastic and allows you to really enjoy the perfect crust and in-season apples.
I wanted to add a lil something something to finish the tart with, and decided that maple whipped cream was the best bet. Making it is equally as simple as the tart, but having the cream sweetened by pure maple syrup instead of granulated sugar makes it a bit more interesting and autumn-like. If you plan on serving with the whipped cream, I suggest sprinkling only 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar on the tart before popping it in the oven (that’s why I have 2-4 tbsp. of granulated sugar listed in the filling ingredients). But if you don’t plan on eating the tart with whipped cream or ice cream, add a bit more sugar. Again, it’s up to you, so you can make it as sweet as you want!
I hope all of you have a great Thanksgiving and that you get to spend it with the ones you love!
Apple Tart and Maple Whipped Cream
Makes (1) 9-inch tart
Recipe adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For the dough:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. granulated sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened to the touch, cut into small pieces
4 tbsp. ice cold water
For the filling:
2 lbs. apples (Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, or any other firm/tart apple variety), peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2-4 tbsp. granulated sugar (make it as sweet as you want! I do 2 tbsp.)
To Finish (optional):
Maple whipped cream (recipe below)
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and salt. Add 2 tbsp. of the butter to the mixture by working with your hands or a pastry cutter, and rub the mixture together until it resembles course crumbs. Then add the remaining 4 tbsp. of butter and continue to mix until the butter bits are about the size of a pea.
Add about 2 tbsp. of the water to the mixture and stir it in with a wooden spoon. Add the remaining 2 tbsp. of water and stir again. Using your hands, feel if the dough is too dry and if it is, continue to dribble in more water, 1 tbsp. at a time. Do this until the dough comes together and isn’t predominately full of dry sections. Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it into a 4-inch disc. Wrap the disc in plastic wrap and transfer to the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
When ready to roll out, allow the dough to sit at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes so it will be more malleable. Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough thinly out to about a 14-inch circle. Transfer the dough to a lightly greased 9-inch tart pan, and carefully press the dough into the mold, making sure there is an overhang of dough. Fill the pan with as many apple slices as you can, and arrange them in any pattern you like. Fold over the excess dough over the apples, and tuck/crimp it together. With a pastry brush, brush the melted butter over the folded dough and apples. Sprinkle the granulated sugar on. If you’re making the whipped cream, do 2 tbsp. of sugar, if not, go with 3 or 4 tbsp.
Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes, making sure to rotate the pan every 15 minutes so it gets evenly baked. It will be done when the dough is golden brown and the apples are soft.
(Optional) Heat up 2 tbsp. of apricot preserves and 1 tbsp. of water in the microwave until it becomes a bit liquefied. Brush the mixture on the crust and apples when the tart is slightly cooled.
Serve with a big dollop of maple whipped cream and a sprinkle of confectioners’ sugar.
Maple Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
2 1/2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
Place the mixing bowl and whisk in the freezer for about 15 minutes.
Add the heavy cream and pure maple syrup to the bowl and whisk until stiff peaks are formed. Whipped cream can be stored in an airtight container for about a day in the fridge. When ready to use, whisk the mixture again for about 15 seconds.