This is a puff pastry tart. It’s also very rustic and very seasonal. I think the splash of Calvados makes it a wee bit sophisticated too. But you needn’t feel intimidated by this or any other puff pastry tart. They can be quite simple to prepare.
Of course a puff pastry tart requires puff pastry. I’ve made my own puff pastry before, it’s a bit tedious. Frankly I’d never put a recipe on this blog that required you to make your own puff pastry. Not that you can’t or shouldn’t make your own puff pastry. There are probably quite a few folks out there who make wonderful puff pastry. I’m just not one of them, so I can’t expect you to be either.
So when I make a puff pastry tart I use store-bought puff pastry. All-butter store-bought puff pastry is better than what I can make myself. Especially the French brands like Dufour. I depend on these when making anything that calls for puff pastry. The package can be kept in the freezer until ready to thaw. Please thaw the frozen crust slowly in the refrigerator. It’s one of the rules about puff pastry. If you tried to thaw puff pastry on the counter it’s very likely you’d get condensation– making for sticky dough that’s hard to work with.
Making a Puff Pastry Tart
Getting good results from a puff pastry tart requires that you understand how puff pastry works. Something magical happens as the butter melts in well-prepared puff pastry dough. The water trapped within becomes steam as it heats. The steam rises, forcing each layer upward. This makes for a final product with a million flaky layers that you never would have guessed were there when you rolled that dough out. Once you know this, the tricks to working with puff pastry become a breeze.
Starting with the scraps. You’ll often see recipes that tell you to save the scraps “for another use”. That’s because the scraps save well– provided you handle them well. Don’t wad them in a ball. Take the time to stack the shards and roll them out into a flat piece about 1/4‑inch thick. Then fold it into a convenient size for storage. This is the best way to assure that those million flaky layers will puff up to golden perfection, even with leftovers.
Another trick that I rarely see specified comes in handy when cutting puff pastry into workable pieces. Don’t slice the dough by sliding the knife through it. Instead use a downward chop or rolling motion, picking up and moving the knife as you work. A pizza a wheel is ideal. This technique will help the pastry puff.
Lastly. I mentioned steam was the magic needed to make the shell of a puff pastry tart rise high. So a light spritzing of water is a good idea. Don’t spritz the dough however, spritz the surface it sits on. You want the steam to rise through the puff pastry tart, not somewhere else nearby. GREG