For this tart, I first made the pastry cream a day before I planned to bake the tart. Even though I've made it before, this time was different. I used custard powder for the first time, and the pastry cream turned out super yellow (which was noted in the book), and extremely thick. So thick, I couldn't get it through a sieve to strain it. It was almost like Jello. I wasn't sure if I cooked it for too long or if it was a result of the custard powder. After asking Leticia and doing some internet research, I learned it was the custard powder. Before using the pastry cream, I added about 1/4 cup of milk and beat it in my mixer until it was smooth and workable. I find it hard to believe that such a small difference in ingredients would make such a huge difference in result. Also, the pastry cream recipe makes way more than I needed for this recipe, so now I have to think of something else to use it for asap. A bit inconvenient.
Moving along, I cheated a bit with this tart. I used store bought frozen puff pastry instead of making my own. I figured I'd leave that until the appropriate chapter. I rolled out the pate sucrée and puff pastry, to about 14 inches long. The assembly was simple, but took some time to layer the apples in the tart. I didn't exactly understand the directions for fanning out the apples, but I made sure they overlapped and looked pretty. I couldn't chill the tart in the freezer before baking, because my freezer is so tiny, it doesn't fit a half sheet pan. So I just put it in the fridge instead.
After baking, the tart looked and smelled amazing! I let it cool for a bit, then sliced off the ends for me and my husband to try. Yum! He agreed that it was super tasty, and I had to prevent him from eating more so I could take photos!
The tart is so beautiful and placing the apple slices one by one into rows was actually a very relaxing activity. I used a combination of Granny Smith and Pink Lady apples. For the pastry cream, the small batch recipe makes a very large quantity so I made 1/3 the recipe. I'm sure breaking it down that much probably throws off the overall outcome but I gave it a try. I paired the tart with a creme fraiche ice cream so the sweet and tangy combination was really nice. The tart on its own I thought was a little dry. As I mentioned above it could be because of my pastry cream adjustment. The apples were tender and were given a nice boost of flavor from the brown sugar butter glazed on top just before going in the oven. After the tart came out though the apples looked a little unfinished so I think another glazing of that mixture would help them glisten.
Guest Baker: Amy Pinkos
I have had this cookbook since its debut but have been too intimidated to actually bake anything because the recipes are about 500 pages each :) After baking the apple band tart I realized they are actually pretty darn simple. This recipe came together in no time. All of the components were easy enough to make. However, I didn't have an almond flour so I used extra APF.
So the taste? It was good. Not quite sweet enough for my taste. I will add extra brown sugar next time. Plus, my pate sucree browned a little too much for my liking. Next time I will freeze the pate sucree overnight, add on the puff pastry, pastry cream, apples, freeze for an hour or so, top with extra brown sugar and bake. And I will try again. Maybe I should have bought the almond flour :) The best part of this recipe is that is makes enough for two. So you can bake two now or save and freeze for later. Plus, it's quite beautiful.