Maman’s Apple Tart
The great Jacques Pépin learned to make this rustic pastry from his mother.
SAVEUR was the most real food magazine from the get-go. We simply cooked everything, then shot everything. I didn’t know food stylists existed until I went to Bon Appétit, where everybody had an assistant. Was SAVEUR’s corporate culture sustainable? Or even functional? Maybe not, but what an education!
Where else would Jacques Pépin waltz into the test kitchen and start baking his mother’s apple tart? The legend arrived that day, in 2010, wearing crisp chef whites and acting a bit sheepish. He may have, by his own admission, enjoyed too much Champagne with friends the night before. I was fixated on his hands the entire time. You could blindfold this guy, and he could still cook. Pépin pulled the tart from our oven and held it up to the camera for the shot above. Assuming the baking dish couldn’t have been that hot, I picked it up after he set it down—and immediately dropped the thing on the counter. I’m telling you, Jacques Pépin has asbestos fingers, oven mitts for hands. —Hunter Lewis, editor-in-chief of Food & Wine.
Jacques Pépin learned to make this rustic tart from his mother. To form the crust, he suggests covering the dough with plastic wrap to more easily press it into the pan.
- 1 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 3 Tbsp. sugar, divided
- 1¼ tsp. kosher salt
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 5 Tbsp. chilled, unsalted butter, cut into ½-in. cubes, divided
- 3 Tbsp. vegetable shortening
- 2 Tbsp. whole milk
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 2 large Empire or Cortland apples (1 lb.), peeled and cored, each cut into 8 wedges
- 2 Tbsp. apricot preserves, warmed slightly in the microwave to soften
- Preheat the oven (with its rack positioned in the center) to 375°F. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, the salt, and the baking powder. Add 3 tablespoons butter and the shortening and, using your fingers, rub the fat into the flour mixture to form coarse, pea-size pieces. Add the milk and egg, and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Press the dough together with your hands and transfer it to a 9-inch glass pie plate. Press the dough evenly along the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Refrigerate until firm to the touch, 30–35 minutes.
- Retrieve crust from the fridge, then arrange apple wedges side by side, overlapping slightly around the bottom of the crust, like the spokes of a wheel, pushing gently into the dough as you go. Halve any remaining apple wedges and place them in the center of the tart. Sprinkle with remaining sugar and dot with remaining butter, then transfer to the oven and bake until the crust is golden and apples are tender when poked with a knife, 35–40 minutes. (If the edges begin to brown before the fruit is tender, cover them with strips of aluminum foil.) Remove the tart from the oven and use a pastry brush to carefully brush the apricot preserves over the apples; return the tart to the oven and continue baking until the preserves melt over the fruit in a thin, glossy layer, 4–6 minutes more. Set the tart aside to cool at room temperature for at least 15 minutes before serving.