This tart uses the smallest Pink Lady Apples that I have ever seen. They were really only about 2 inches in diameter. They were even sold as mini apples. You could, of course, use "normal sized apples" but as I had these, I used these. You can certainly also cut the apples vertically instead of in rings, but the rings make a nice presentation. Note that this tart isn't overly sweet. —Kat Suletzki
Pastry / Tart Crust
2 1/2 cups
all purpose flour
chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
chilled solid vegetable shortening, diced
ice water (maybe more)
vanilla bean, split lengthwise
all purpose flour
very small firm, tart apples (such as Pink Lady), peeled, cored, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rings (0r 4 normal sized apples)
Blend flour, sugar and salt in a food processor. Add butter and shortening and pulse until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 6 tablespoons ice water and process until moist clumps form, adding more water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry.
Gather into ball and flatten into a disk. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours. Roll out chilled dough disk between two sheets of plastic wrap, until 1/8-inch thick and 2-inch wider than tart pan. Invert dough into tart pan; press
onto bottom and up sides. If dough is soft, chill until firm enough for remaining sheet of plastic to be removed. Trim edges of dough (patch up any holes or tears with extra dough). Chill until firm, about another hour.
Preheat oven to 350F. Line dough with parchment paper or heavy-duty foil, leaving a 1-inch-2-inch overhang. Fill paper with dried beans or pie weights. Bake tart shell just until dough has dried and does not look wet in any spots, about
20 minutes. (If center still looks wet, bake crust without weights until dried and opaque, a few minutes longer.) Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.
Whisk eggs and sugar in a medium bowl just to blend. Place butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean. Cook, stirring often, until butter foams, then browns (do not burn), about 5 minutes.
Let cool for 10 minutes; remove bean. Slowly whisk brown butter into egg mixture; whisk in flour and salt.
Line tart shell with apples, reserving a few for the top. Pour filling over and place on remaining few apple rings. Bake until apples are deep golden brown and filling is puffed, cracked, and set in center, 70-80 minutes. Let tart cool
in pan on a wire rack, about 2 hours. Remove pan sides. Serve warm or at room temperature.