Make Ahead

Apple and Prune Farmhouse Tart

March  7, 2011
2 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

This tart could just as easily be eaten for breakfast as it could be for dessert after dinner. I see this as being both Belgian (seen in the yeasted crust) and from the Ardennes (seen in the addition of the apples). Whatever you want to call it, it is delicious. —thirschfeld

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Thirschfeld shares stories and recipes from his farm in Indiana.
WHAT: A rustic apple tart that only looks hard to make.
HOW: Put away the stand mixer and get out your wooden spoon -- you’ll mix up a yeasted crust and a gooey prune and apple filling the old-fashioned way. Don’t forget to dot the tart with butter and shower it with sugar for the last 20 minutes of baking.
WHY WE LOVE IT: Apple tarts can sometimes be flimsy, but not this one. It’s thick, cardamom-scented crust contains a fruity, custardy inside flavored with ground almonds and Armagnac. And as much as thirschfeld insists it will overflow, we found that a 9-inch tart pan solved the problem. —The Editors

What You'll Need
  • For the yeasted crust:
  • 1 tablespoon dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • heaping 1/8 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 pinches salt
  • For the filling:
  • 3 ounces (1/3 cup) sugar
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 1/2 ounces (1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon) whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 ounces (1/2 cup) finely ground almonds
  • 2 ounces (1/4 cup) buttermilk
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and thinly sliced into half moons
  • 3 ounces chopped prunes soaked in 1 tablespoon of Armagnac for 30 minutes
  • 2 tablespoons each cold butter cubed and sugar for dotting and dusting
  1. For the crust: In a large mixing bowl, whisk the yeast into the milk and let it dissolve. Add the the rest of the crust ingredients and use a wooden spoon to mix the ingredients until they come together and form a ball.
  2. Kneed the dough until it is smooth. Place it back into the mixing bowl and cover the bowl with a warm damp towel. Set the dough aside for an hour to rise.
  3. At the end of the hour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead it once or twice to deflate it. It shouldn't have risen a whole bunch, but it will definitely have bubbles. Dust it with flour and shake off the excess.
  4. Dust the countertop lightly with flour if the dough seems sticky. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough out into a circle so it is an 1/8-inch thick. Gently roll the dough around the pin for support and then unroll the dough into and 8-inch tart pan. [Editors' note: We used a 9-inch tart pan and found that the tart did not overflow, described later.]
  5. Lift the edges of the dough up and gently fit it into the tart pan pushing the dough down into the corners for a snug fit. Run a paring knife along the rim of the tart pan to trim the dough even with the top of the pan. Set the crust aside.
  6. Preheat the oven to 375° F. Clean out the bowl used for the crust and dry it.
  7. For the filling: Place the sugar and butter into the mixing bowl and cream them together using a wooden spoon. Add the egg, pastry flour, almonds, buttermilk, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Stir with the spoon until smooth.
  8. Place half the apple slices into the tart pan along with half of the prunes. Pour in the batter and smooth it with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the rest of the prunes over the top and then place the remaining apple slices attractively over the top. Place the tart on a sheet tray with sides. This tart will overflow -- It is meant to. It's what's going to give it part of its charm, but you will definitely want to put it on a sheet tray.
  9. Bake the tart in the oven for 25 minutes. At the end of 25 minutes sprinkle the 2 tablespoons of sugar over the tart and dot it with the 2 tablespoons of butter. Bake another 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is nicely browned and set. Remove the tart from the oven to cool. As it cools, run a paring knife around the outside edge to trim off the excess overflow.
  10. The tart is best if it can rest for 3 to 4 hours before serving. The juices from the apple, the Armagnac, and the prunes will all leach out their wonderful flavor. Cut it into wedges and serve with or without whipped cream.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • kaykay
  • cheese1227
  • Greenstuff
  • Oui, Chef
    Oui, Chef
  • mrslarkin

32 Reviews

Ashley M. January 25, 2018
I made this last night and was VERY disappointed. I was super excited to make it and followed the recipe exactly (except for using dried apricots to replace the prunes, because I couldn't find prunes at my store).
The end product....the crust was very dry and dense and the filling wasn't one I'd rush to make again (even if I could fix the problem with the crust).
Another weird part of the baking was that after the first 25 min your'e supposed to put on 2 T sugar and 2 T butter cubed. However the cake had already started to set at that point so the butter and sugar did not incorporate into the batter, but simply sat on top.
No, I won't be making this one again.
Altilla January 16, 2013
This will be made this evening I believe...
ThereseTetzel January 16, 2013
Tis sounds yummy. The 1 tablespoon of yeast sounds like a lot. Is that amount correct?
kaykay March 13, 2011
Truly beautiful and professional looking. You're in a class by yourself!
cheese1227 March 8, 2011
My neighbor is paying me $40 to make this for his wife's birthday on Thursday! I'll have to send you royalties!
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Just let me know how they like it.
Greenstuff March 8, 2011
Anyone who would dis a prune hasn't had one soaked in Armagnac. This sound better than most anything I had in Belgium, and I probably gained 20 pounds when I lived there.
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Thanks Greenstuff and yes prunes in armagnac are a pleasure
Oui, C. March 8, 2011
This sounds absolutely fabulous, and I love where you're going with your photography, very nice indeed. - S
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Thanks Steve thanks for the kind words on the photos.
mrslarkin March 8, 2011
This sounds terrific, thirschfeld. And that photo - good lord, it's beautiful. is it really a whole tablespoon of yeast? i LOVE prunes and I'm not ashamed to say it. Slathered with Nutella, oh boy.
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Yes it is a whole tablespoon. I guess you could just use a packet which is 2 1/4 teaspoons. It doesn't really have time to get super airy like pizza dough.
EmilyC March 8, 2011
This looks absolutely delicious -- and I'll bet other fruit combinations would also be lovely here.
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
I am sure you could change up the fruit to your liking. Just want to make sure they aren't too juicy.
Midge March 8, 2011
I'm fascinating by your yeasted crust. I so want a slice of this for breakfast!
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
The girls ate
Getting cake for breakfast and loving it. I like heated crust it adds a nice dimension to tarts.
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Can you tell I don't have my glasses on. That should say yeasted and it should also be lower case g.
testkitchenette March 8, 2011
I love that you used prunes (an unsung dried fruit, if you ask me).
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
I am a big fan of the prune and it is an unsung and often insulted dried fruit.
TheWimpyVegetarian March 8, 2011
This looks just phenomenal, Tom. I'd love to see you on Martha's show!
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
thanks ChezSusanne and the later would be great but I am guessing with all the other beautiful tarts being submitted it would be a longshot
Sagegreen March 8, 2011
There are some great contenders here, this included! Then there is my pothole pie, somehow not in Martha's world!
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
Sagegreen I love your pothole pie. I think it is brilliant and incredibly observant of the world around you just as I like Elegy for a Dirty Snowbank.
Sagegreen March 8, 2011
This is pretty stellar.
thirschfeld March 8, 2011
thanks so much Sagegreen
thirschfeld March 7, 2011
got ya, I thought you had some sort of tart mishap but, yes, I know runner up status well and you should be extremely proud because that is a great recipe along with many other really great recipes you have been posting.
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
*Blush* You're too kind. (PS I had plenty of tart mishaps, but eventually some success!)
AntoniaJames March 7, 2011
Great idea, using a yeasted pastry crust for this!! Was thinking about working up a savory yeasted crust but aggressive turnarounds on my deals this week are keeping me out of the kitchen. What a great recipe. I am so in awe. ;o)
thirschfeld March 7, 2011
thanks AJ. I hope you find some time to get a savory tart posted you always post such great things that now you have me wondering what wonderful creation you have up your sleeve.
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
Love this. Hope your prunes have better luck than mine ;)
thirschfeld March 7, 2011
thanks, did I miss something about you prunes?
hardlikearmour March 7, 2011
Nope... they took runner-up status in the cardamom competition (of which I'm quite proud!!) I'd just like to see you on Martha, so would be cool if your prunes surpassed mine.