Sunday, March 7, 2010

Apple Tart and Fraisage

Pies are a popular dessert at our house. Although I'm not a huge fan, my 11-year old loves them. So she's become the resident expert. I've taught her the a-ha moments I had at Le Cordon Bleu regarding pastry: including fraisage. (See video below.) Although I'd read about fraisage, I didn't know exactly what it was until someone showed me. Some things need to be shown, and this was one of them. By not overworking the dough, it remains tender.

Some like the compote aspect of this tart; others prefer it to be all sliced apples without the compote component. Try both and see what you or your guests prefer. I like the textural components of having a compote that's soft with the sliced apples that aren't so soft combined with the crispy pastry.

For Christmas, I gave each of my daughters (who are now 12, 11 and 8) an individual bundt pan. My 11-year-old used hers early in the year. She's my kitchen muse, and used hers for her own apple tart. It was perfect.


Serves 8

200 g flour (about 1½ cups)
100 g butter, unsalted, and broken into pieces (about 7 tablespoons)
70 g confectioners' sugar (about 1/3 cup)
5 g salt (about 1 teaspoon)
4 ml milk (about 1 teaspoon)
3 egg yolks
5 ml pure vanilla extract (1 teaspoon)

700 g Golden Delicious apples (about 3 cups)

500 g Golden Delicious apples (about 2 cups)
50 g sugar, optional (3½ tablespoons)
50 g butter (3½ tablespoons)

For the dough:
Sift the flour onto the counter. Make a big well. Add the butter, confectioners' sugar, salt, milk, yolks and vanilla extract. Using your pointing finger, start bringing the flour into the liquid ingredients in a circular motion. When you have a paste-like mixture, use a pastry scraper and break the dough up into a crumbly, sandy mixture.

Fraisage: Take a small amount of dough and rub it through the palm of your hand along the work surface. This pulls the butter around the flour and ensures that you don't overwork the dough, keeping it tender. Set this piece of dough aside and repeat with remaining dough.

After you've performed this technique on all the dough, then you can knead all the dough into a ball. You should be able to see a fingerprint in the dough that springs back a little before resting. If the dough seems dry, add fingertips of water. If wet, add touches of flour. Form into a circle, cover with plastic wrap and let rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.

Fleurer (sprinkle) the counter with flour. Roll the dough out. Always roll from the middle of the dough and roll evenly. Position the dough in the tart pan or ring. Chill until needed.

For the filling:
Core, quarter and slice apples. In pan, melt butter. Add apples. Then add sugar, to taste (depending on how sweet your apples taste). Cook until soft. Then add pure vanilla extract. Cook (adding water if it dries out too quickly and turn heat to low) until somewhat soft. Pass through a food mill (or use a food processor to purée.

Spread the compote on the bottom of the pastry. Layer the slices of apple on top in a circular pattern. Sprinkle with sugar. Bake at 350˚F for 30 to 40 minutes, until done.

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    symphonious sweets said...

    I have never heard of fraisage before! The video is a great addition thanks for sharing this!

    S said...

    i like the addition of the video, too. such a beautiful tart, sherry. x shayma

    Unknown said...

    I've not seen a bundt tin used like this before. Useful vids for showing the technique. Thanks!

    Inspired by eRecipeCards said...

    terrific and best of all, sharing your knowledge and skills and passion with the younguns

    faithy said...

    Great post! I loved how your daughter helps you out in the kitchen and does it on her own!

    grace said...

    this is all very new to me, and i claim to be a pie aficionado myself! i'm sure the use of the bundt pan and the fraisage both add a neat twist to one's apple pie eating experience. :)

    lisa is cooking said...

    What a pretty tart (from a lovely pan)! Great to see fraisage too.

    Unknown said...

    Love that you put up the video. Thanks!

    Manggy said...

    I first heard of fraisage from Flo Braker and then from Cook's Illustrated. I love the technique even though it very quickly melts the butter in my tropical heat (it made a lot of good pate brisees). That is a beautiful apple tart too -- very unusual presentation.

    Eliana said...

    this looks heavenly Shari :)

    Unknown said...

    Deliziosa ricetta e ottima spiegazione :)

    Dolce said...

    Your bundt cake looks like a huge cannelé like this... Very yummy!

    Your tutorial and video for fraisage is excellent too.

    Xiaolu said...

    Your tart sounds delicious. I love baked apple goods.

    Someone told me about fraisage recently and I realized I'd unwittingly used a similar technique. I can't wait to do it purposefully and see if my pastry is even more tender.

    Leslie said...

    This is a wonderfully instructive post! I've never seen this method before but it's very intriguing.

    Anonymous said...

    Ah yes, I fondly remember the chefs teaching us this technique at culinary school!

    My mom is in love with her bundt pan (she would marry it if she wasn't already married to my dad) so when I email her this recipe she is totally going to go bananas over it!

    EB of SpiceDish said...

    It looks perfectly divine!! Thanks for the video too.

    Peter said...

    Video framing & lighting is good.

    Because you are out of frame you may find that turning off the video sound and recording it seperately is better.

    A laptop and Samson USB mic works well.

    Plug the results into an editing package like Elements or Pinnacle Studio to synch and add voice overs - also allows you to cut in stills.

    Peter Childs -

    Michele said...

    I love this recipe and having the videos is really neat.

    I think it is so sweet that you gave your daughters bundt pans as a gift! I have a few of my mother's and grandmother's kitchen things and I just cherish them.

    Anonymous said...

    Love that you are doing videos on the post. Especially with baking, it's always nice to have a visual. :)

    Y said...

    What an unusual way to present an apple tart - love it.

    eatme_delicious said...

    I am incredibly intrigued by this apple tart!! I love that it's made in a bundt pan.