It’s fall and it’s apple season where I live. So I put together this rustic French style apple almond cardamom tart. The crust is puff pastry giving this tart an impressive presence; but good quality store-bought puff pastry makes this tart simple to construct. Take your time and remember to chill before baking.
- 1 ½ cup slivered almonds
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar (divided)
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 tablespoon Calvados (optional)
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter (at room temperature)
- prepared puff pastry (thawed and chilled)
- 1 egg yolk mixed with 1 teaspoon water (as egg wash)
- 1 large baking apple (such as Braeburn or Rome)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
Combine almonds, ½ cup sugar, 1 whole egg, Calvados (if using), cardamom and salt in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse multiple times until a soft paste forms. Add butter; blend until well combined, about 10 seconds. Scrape the mixture into a small bowl, cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour or up to 2 days.
If you are using a single large sheet of 14-ounce commercial style puff pastry, trim it to a 12-inch-by-9-inch rectangle then transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet that has been lightly spritzed with water. There will be extra puff pastry, save it (stacked and folded, not wadded into a ball) for another use.
If you are using the grocery store style of puff pastry (the kind that comes in a 17½-ounce two-pack with each sheet folded in thirds) you’ll need to roll out the dough. In that case leave them folded in thirds, but stack them on top of each other, oriented in the same direction. Then, on a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry to form a rectangle about a scant ¼‑inch thick. Then trim the pastry into a 12-inch-by-9-inch rectangle; transfer it to a parchment lined baking sheet that has been spritzed with water. There will be extra puff pastry, save it (stacked and folded, not wadded into a ball) for another use.
Once the rectangle is sitting on the baking sheet, cut eight ½‑inch strips from the long side of the puff pastry, move the strips to the counter and recenter the remaining 8‑inch-by-9-inch rectangle if necessary. Neatly brush a ½‑inch wide border of egg wash along each edge of the puff pastry rectangle; save the remaining egg wash for brushing the assembled tart. Use four of the remaining strips of puff pastry to create a raised border; trimming the pieces to fit cleanly at each corner. Press gently with your fingers to adhere. Set the last 4 strips of puff pastry aside as a decorative top for the tart (optional). Using a fork or a docker, poke holes in the bottom of the tart shell (not the raised border). Transfer the tart shell to the refrigerator to chill uncovered, for about 1 hour. This will help the pastry keep its shape and rise well.
Set the oven rack to the center position, then preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Core and slice the apple into at least 36 thin slices. Toss them with lemon juice and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar until well coated. Set aside.
Remove the tart shell and the almond filling from the refrigerator. Using a spoon dollop the almond filling evenly across the bottom of the tart shell. Then smooth the filling with the back of the spoon evenly across the interior of the tart shell. Take care to keep it within the border. Line the apple slices up in three rows of 12 overlapping apple slices (or more to taste). Brush the exposed puff pastry border (tops and sides) with more egg wash. Lay the remaining strips of puff pastry decoratively across the apples. Press gently with your fingers to adhere (optional). Brush the entire surface of the tart (puff pastry and apples) with egg wash. Sprinkle with Turbinado sugar, then transfer to the heated oven. Bake until puffed and well browned; 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.