Techniques

The Art of the Tart: How to Make a Beautiful French Apple Tart

Moulton buys seven Golden Delicious apples, her favorite variety for baking.
After peeling the apples and cutting them in half lengthwise, she removes the cores with a melon baller.
Working with one apple half at a time, she makes thin crosswise slices, keeping the heel of her knife slightly above the cutting board with each downstroke so the slices remain connected at one end.
She trims the bud and stem ends, then stands the apple half on end to cut a thin layer from the cored side so that the slices fully separate but remain stacked together.
She returns the half to its flat side on the cutting board and covers it with her hand, pressing down until the mass of apple flattens into a neat row of overlapping slices.
Working with one row at a time, she slides a metal spatula under half the row and transfers it to an unbaked tart shell, ultimately arranging eight of these around the perimeter of the tart to form the outer "petals" of a "rose."
She then takes six or seven slices from the remaining apple and spreads them out lengthwise to form a narrow row of overlapping slices, which she arranges in an arc in the tart shell over the points where the bases of the "petals" meet.
She places more arcs in the same way, overlapping them tightly to form concentric circles.
She continues until the tart looks like an open "rose," filling in the center with smaller pieces until all of the dough is covered. Finally, she fills empty spaces between the outer "petals" with rows of overlapping slices cut to fit snugly into the gaps.
Once baked, the "rose" effect is enhanced by lighter and darker areas of caramelization.

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