Impressive Dessert that is Fairly Simple to Make
When I was home visiting my family in Connecticut last week we did what we do best – make lots of delicious food! In browsing through America’s Test Kitchen The Perfect Pie cookbook, we discovered many different intriguing recipes, but the one for French Apple Tart really caught my eye.
The recipe looked just about perfect, packed with fresh fruit and low in sugar. But I wanted to make it gluten free, so I changed the wheat crust to an almond flour crust.
Gluten Free French Apple Tart looks so impressive with the apples arranged in circles and slightly browned on the top. But it’s really not hard to make.
Grab a Friend or Two and Make this Together!
Have fun making Gluten Free French Apple Tart with a couple of friends or family members. When I first made this with my mother and my daughter, it came together easily. But when I made it again by myself this weekend it was much more time consuming and I was wishing I had some helpers!
While one person makes the crust, another person can peel the apples and cut them in half, and another person can core the apples and start slicing them. I used two sauté pans side by side — one for the apple sauce sweetened with apricot preserves, the other for the apple topping. This speeds up the process a bit.
Making the Apple Tart Gluten Free
The dough for the tart crust is gluten free and grain free. It has the texture of cookie dough. Just press into the bottom of the pan and at least halfway up the fluted edges of the tart pan or dish. No need to roll out the dough!
What Variety of Apples Should I Use?
Both times I’ve made Gluten Free French Apple Tart I have used Pink Lady apples, just because those were the ones we had available at a good price in February. You’ll need about 9-10 apples to make this recipe, so helps when you can get ones that are on sale.
Pink Lady apples are sweet and tart apple with a floral scent. They were medium-sized (not huge like some apples you find) which seemed to work well for layering in the tart pan. These apples are also firm enough that they did not become mushy when cooked for about 5 minutes for the topping. I had to cook them much longer for the apple sauce layer so they would easily mash up (15 min or so).
Many other varieties of apple could work, like Fuji, Braeburn, Golden Delicious, or Honeycrisp. Macintosh and Red Delicious soften easily and are good for making applesauce, so I’m not sure how they will hold up for the topping. Granny Smith apples would be good only if you want an extra tart flavor.
- ¼ cup unsalted grass-fed butter or unrefined coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 1 egg or 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon flaxmeal soaked in 2 tablespoons water for 10 mins)
- 2 cups blanched almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (1/8 teaspoon if using salted butter)
- 10 medium apples (~ 5 lbs), peeled, cut into quarters, and cored
- 3 tablespoons unsalted grass-fed butter or coconut oil, divided
- 2 tablespoons water (or more as needed)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup apricot preserves, divided
- Whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, vanilla ice cream, or dairy-free coconut ice cream
- Prepare pan. Lightly oil 9-10 inch metal tart pan or ceramic tart dish with fluted edges. Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Prepare tart dough. In a medium bowl, whisk together melted butter or oil, coconut sugar, and egg or flax egg. Stir in almond flour and sea salt with a wooden spoon. Dough will resemble cookie dough. Press dough evenly into the bottom of the tart pan and at least halfway up the fluted edges. Place tart pan on a sheet pan and bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside to cool, but keep the tart pan on the sheet pan because it will need to be baked again after the fruit filling is added.
- Prepare apples. Slice each apple quarter into 4-5 slices (they will resemble crescent moons). Place in a large bowl and quickly rinse with cold water and drain (this will prevent apples from browning).
- Make the applesauce filling. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons butter or oil. Add about half of the apples (including any broken slices as the apples will get mashed), 5 tablespoons apricot preserves, and ¼ teaspoon sea salt. Sauté about 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon water, cover, turn heat to low, and let apples steam until soft enough to mash, about 10-15 minutes (depending on hardness of apples). Mash apples in the pan with a potato masher or purée in a food processor until smooth. Remove apple purée to a bowl and rinse out skillet.
- Make the apple topping. Heat large skillet again over medium heat with remaining tablespoon of butter or oil. Add other half of apple slices being careful not to break any of the slices. Add 1 tablespoon water and gently toss the apples to coat in the butter or oil. Cover and steam until apples are pliable (bendable) but not too soft or mushy, about 5-7 minutes. Toss apples every now and then to evenly cook. Turn heat down and/or add another tablespoon of water if needed to prevent burning.
- Assemble the tart. Spread applesauce filling evenly over the bottom of the tart crust. Starting at the outer edge of crust, arrange the apple slices (starting with the largest slices), tightly overlapping, in concentric circles. When you get to the middle of the tart, bend a few of the smaller apple slices to fit in the center. It will look like the center of a flower.
- Bake the tart. Gently cover edges of tart with strips of aluminum foil to protect the crust from burning. Bake tart (on sheet pan) on lower rack of the oven for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.
- Brown the top. Place oven rack near the top of the oven (probably the 2nd from the top). Preheat broiler for a few minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining apricot preserves in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat until warmed. Remove from heat and brush the surface of the apple slices (but not the crust) evenly with jam. Place tart (on sheet pan) under broiler. Check every 30 seconds and rotate tart pan as needed to brown the edges of some of the apples. Do not leave unattended because the tart can quickly burn! Remove from oven when you get some attractive browning on the apples.
- Cool tart completely. Using a large metal spatula, gently slide tart pan onto wire rack to cool for at least 1½ hours.
- Serve slices with a dollop of whipped cream, whipped coconut cream, or vanilla ice cream.
Making it Part of a French Country Meal
Gluten Free French Apple Tart goes perfectly with a simple French country meal. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:
- Roasted whole pasture-raised chicken OR Giant white lima beans with roasted carrots, and mesclun greens salad or steamed broccoli
- Provencal vegetable soup (Soupe au Pistou)
- Niçoise Salad with baked fish, roasted artichokes, or homemade beans