FIVE SPICE FREE FORM APPLE TART (one 14 by 4-1/2 inch tart, serves four to six)

This free form rectangular shell makes serving easy.

basic pastry dough

2 Granny Smith apples

2 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon five-spice powder

4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter

1 cup apricot glaze (recipe follows)


1.   Make the pastry shell:  Roll the dough into a rectangle 1/8 inch thick and trim it to 15 by 5-1/2 inches.  Roll it up on your pin, and unroll it onto a lightly buttered baking surface.  Working rapidly, lightly paint a 1 inch strip of cold water on the border of the rectangle all around.  Cut a ½ inch square out of each corner, then fold ½ inch of the dough down against the sides and ends, making an edging for the shell.  Seal the turned down edges of the dough to the bottom of the pastry with the tines of a fork, held flat, pressing firmly.  Then, holding the fork upright, its back to the edges, press it also around the outside of the tart.  Prick the inside surface of the dough all over at ½ inch intervals with the fork, going down through the dough to the baking surface.  Refrigerate the shell for ½ hour at least; the dough must relax or it may bake out of shape (or wrap and freeze the shell on its baking sheet, no need to thaw it before baking).

2.   Prepare the apples:   Peel and halve the apples. Neatly dig out the core with a melon baller and the stem with a small knife.  Slice the apple halves crosswise or lengthwise, depending on the effect you wish into 1/8 inch thick slices (in the tart pictured above the apples are sliced crosswise)

3.   Assemble the tart:  Mix together the sugar and five spice powder.  Sprinkle half of the mixture in the tart shell and arrange the apple slices over it.  If the slices are a little too wide to fit neatly, shave a bit off the sides.  Sprinkle the remaining sugar and spice powder over the apples.

4.   Bake the tart:  Bake the tart in the upper middle of a preheated 375* oven for 30 to 35 minutes.  It is done when the pastry is lightly browned; the apples will color slightly and should be perfectly tender.  Slide the tart onto a rack and paint it with a light coating of warm apricot glaze.  Transfer to a board and serve warm or cold, cutting into crosswise portions.

NOTE:  The tart may be made several hours ahead and, although it is at its best when fresh, any leftovers may be wrapped and refrigerated or frozen.  Reheat tart in the oven or microwave, if you wish, and give it another coating of glaze before serving.

APRICOT GLAZE (for glazing tarts, cakes, and fruit toppings, about 1 cup)

1 cup apricot jam

3 tablespoons sugar

3 tablespoons dark rum (optional)


1.  Push the jam through a sieve to remove pulp and skin.  Blend in in a small saucepan with the sugar and optional rum, then bring it to the boil, stirring. Boil several minutes until the last drops to fall from the tip of the spoon are thick and sticky – 228* F.  Use while still warm, or rewarm it; apply with a pastry brush, a table knife or the back of a spoon.  Store in a screw top jar, it does not need refrigeration.

from Julia Child, The Way to Cook

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