Chef Jacques Pépin remembers well the famous apple tart his mother made every day as a dessert offering in her small Lyons restaurant, Le Pélican. Unlike any other dough, hers achieved its tender, crumbly, airy texture from the combination of vegetable shortening, baking powder and warm milk mixed with the flour. He hopes you enjoy this taste he associates with food memories from his youth. Beautiful Desserts
1/4 cup milk
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons solid vegetable shortening, such as Crisco
2 pounds sweet medium apples, such as Golden Delicious
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
How to Make It
In a small pan, heat the milk to lukewarm. In a bowl, mix together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the shortening and mix with a spoon or with your hands until the mixture feels and looks sandy. Add the warm milk and mix rapidly until the dough forms a ball.
Roll the dough between 2 sheets of plastic wrap to an 11- to 12-inch round. Remove the top piece of plastic and, using the bottom piece, invert the dough into a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom; peel off the remaining plastic.
Preheat the oven to 400°. Peel, quarter and core the apples. Cut them into 1-inch-thick wedges. Arrange the apple wedges in a concentric circle on the dough and sprinkle evenly with the sugar and butter.
Set the tart on a baking sheet and bake for about 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and the pastry is golden. Cover the tart loosely with foil after 45 minutes to prevent over-browning. Cut the tart into wedges and serve warm.
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