January 17, 2005
[Apple Pistachio Tart]
Ever since I laid my hands on a can of pistachio paste for the Bar à Veloutés, I have been looking for ways to use the precious stuff and make the most of it. So far I have made crème brûlée à la pistache (adding a little to my regular crème brûlée recipe), pistachio cookies and chocolate pistachio cake, all of which I was very happy with. I have also donated some to a couple of friends, but it looks as if I've hardly made a dent in my supply. Apparently, what I have purchased is not your average can at all but is, in fact, The Magic Bottomless Can of Pistachio Paste. Would you believe my luck.
Every time I have a baking opportunity, the Magic Can makes an appearance, with a hopeful stance and a tilt of the lid. However much I love pistachio and however successful these previous forays have been, I cannot become the All-Pistachio Baker you see, so I don't always indulge it. But when Maxence's aunt and uncle came to dinner recently I did, and made this apple and pistachio tart. The Magic Bottomless Can went off in a wild happy dance, causing quite a stir on its refrigerator shelf of residence.
This tart uses my favorite tart crust recipe (a priceless gift from my mom), with one third of the butter replaced with pistachio paste. This resulted in a beautifully green dough, which unfortunately turned golden brown outside upon baking, but still remained slightly green inside. The crust turned out crispy and deliciously flavorful, and went beautifully with the soft layer of apples and cream, and the sprinkle of sugar and chopped pistachios.
The overall effect was rather striking and the tart was much appreciated by my enthusiastic taste-testers. I will most definitely make this again, the only thing I will do differently is up the butter content in the dough to make it a tad more crumbly, as it turned out a little too crispy in my opinion (the recipe below includes that modification).
PS If this teaches us one lesson, it is this: pistachio paste is rather pricey, true, but a little goes a long, long, and I mean long way. Find a few friends, siblings or coworkers, and share the can and the expense with them!
Tarte Pomme Pistache
- 170 g (1 1/3 C) flour
- 85 g (1/3 C) unrefined cane sugar (substitute regular sugar)
- 75 g (1/4 C + 2 Tbsp) salted butter, at room temperature
- 35 g (3 Tbsp) pistachio paste
- a dash of milk
- 4 apples
- 1/3 C crème fraîche (substitute sour cream)
- 1/4 C chopped pistachios, unsalted
- 2 Tbsp cassonade brune (substitute brown sugar)
(Serves 6 to 8.)
Preheat the oven to 200°C (360°F).
In a medium mixing-bowl, combine the sugar, butter and pistachio paste with a fork. Add in the flour, and keep mixing with the fork. When the dough becomes a coarse sand, add in a dash of milk, and knead the dough with your hands until it starts to come together.
Pour this mixture evenly into a 25-cm (10-inch) tart pan (nonstick or buttered), and press the dough down to pack it and cover the surface the pan, forming a little rim all around. (This is an easier alternative to rolling out the dough into a circle.) Prick all over with a fork, and put into the oven to bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until slightly golden.
Wash, peel and cut the apples in thin slices. Arrange those slices as evenly as you can over the crust. Put into the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, until the apple slices have softened and browned.
Take the pan out of the oven (leave it on) and drop the crème fraîche in spoonfuls on top. Sprinkle on the cassonade (or brown sugar) and the pistachios. Return into the oven for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn out on a rack to cool completely.
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