I sometimes wish I could come up with more clever (clever-er?) names for my food, but I kinda just like to state what it is. That way there are no surprises down the road.
Anyhow, this recipe was born out of a need to use a leftover pie crust that was sitting in the refrigerator for a while. When I was in France several (ok, many) years ago, I was a huge fan of the Galette de Roi...aka King Cake. It's basically an almond tart that the French make every year around Epiphany. They will bake a little trinket into the tart and the person who gets the piece with the trinket will be king for the day. It's an old tradition. Don't know how it got started, but I'm so glad it did.
I was looking in my Food bookmarks and found an old Galette de Roi post that I had saved a long times ago. (I really need to clean out my bookmarks). So I figured that now was as good a time as any to venture into the realm of French desserts. Traditionally, this tart is made using two sheets of puff pastry, but since I only had one pie crust I realized I'd have to improvise. Similar to the Zucchini & Caramelized Onion Galette that I made before, I thought that I could make an open tart with the almond filling. Then, to s0rt of provide a "cover" for the tart, I could fill the opening with apples. Because in my world, apples and almonds can be pretty good friends.
I saw a lot of different ideas from various websites, but in the end the two most influential recipes that I used for inspiration were: Chocolate and Zucchini's Homemade Galette des Rois & Buttermilk Party Cake's Free Form Apple Galette.
Apple Almond Tart
for the Almond Filling (Crème D'Amande):
- 9 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsps sugar
- ~5 oz. almond, ground finely in a food processor (I basically ground up about half of a 9.5 oz container of almonds)
- 1 tbsp corn starch
- pinch of salt
- 2 large eggs
- 1-2 drops almond extract
- 1 tbsp Nassau Royale liqueur (or some other rum-type liquor of your choice)
For the apples:
- 3 apples, peeled, cored and diced
- 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
- 3/4 tsp cinnamon
- 2 tbsps brown sugar (I used light brown sugar, but I'm sure dark brown sugar would work just as well)
- 9-inch Ready to Bake pie crust (I used a store-bought crust that I could just unroll, though you can make your own if you're motivated enough)
Make the Crème D'Amande:
1) Beat the butter until creamy.
2) Combine the sugar, almonds, corn starch, and salt in a separate bowl and stir with a whisk to remove any lumps.
3) Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter and mix until smooth.
4) Add the almond extract and liquor, then the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
5) Cover and refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
Make the apple mixture:
1) Meanwhile, mix the diced apples with the lemon juice. This will prevent browning.
2) Add the sugar and cinnamon and toss to coat the apples.
Assemble the Tart*:
1) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2) Roll out the pie crust.
3) Spread the crème d'amande over the pie crust, leaving about two inches around the edges.
4) Top the crème d'amande with the apple mixture.
5) Fold up and pleat the edges of the galette.
6) Bake the tart for ~35 minutes.
7) Once the tart is done, let it cool before cutting and serving.
*OK, now the assembly process is where things started to go a little awry. I initially wanted to mimic the tart structure that I used in my previous tart post. As you can see from the picture collage above, this is how I started out. Approximately 3 minutes into the baking process, the tart began to collapse. Apparently when the crème d'amande heats up, it starts spreading everywhere and overpowers the fragile edges of the pie crust. Thus, I had to place the galette in a pie dish for the rest of the baking process. Note that it might be easier to use a ready-made pie crust in a pie tin for this tart.
The taste and texture of this tart is pretty interesting, but in a good way. When I bite into the apples, they are soft but still crunchy. I can also taste the sweet molasses in the brown sugar. It reminds me of eating an apple pie. But then my taste buds register the smooth flavor of the ground almonds. The creme d'amande has a creamy texture, which really compliments the mild crunch of the apples.
I am so glad I stumbled onto the idea for this tart. It brings together two of my favorite desserts and it also transports me back to my time in Europe. As I'm writing this, I am finishing my last slice of this tart. I have already begun counting down the days until I can make it again!