A traditional French dessert.
2/3 cup superfine sugar
1 quantity Basic Pie Dough (see below)
3 tbsp butter
Basic Pie Dough
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
1 tbsp flavourless oil, such as sunflower or canola
1/2 tsp salt
9 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled and diced, plus extra for greasing
1-2 tbsp ice-cold water
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Step 2: Take a metal flameproof 8" pie plate with a solid bottom and place in it 1/2 cup of the sugar and 1-2 tbsp water. Place the pie plate over medium heat for about 5 minutes, until the sugar is slightly melted around the edges. Using a wooden spoon, gently stir for about 12-13 minutes, until the sugar has completely melted and is a dark amber colour. Ensure the bottom of the dish is coated in caramel and let cool.
Step 3: For the filling, peel, core, and thinly slice the apples. Arrange close together in a ring on the caramel in the pie plate and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Dot with the butter. Roll out the dough (see below) to a thickness of 1/4" and place over the apples, tucking the dough into the pie plate all around so that the fruit is completely covered. Bake for 30 minutes, then turn out immediately onto a serving dish so that the caramelized apples are on top.
Basic Pie Dough
Step 1: Put the flour into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the oil, salt and butter. Rub the butter into the flour using your fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Moisten with water to bring the dough together. Briefly knead the dough by hand; the more quickly this is done, the better the pastry will be. Cover the dough with plastic wrap and let chill in the refrigerator for between 30 minutes and 24 hours.
Step 2: Bring the dough back to room temperature before rolling out. On a lightly floured counter, roll it out to a circle 1/4" thick and use to line a greased 9" tart pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. The pastry may also be used to line small round or boat-shape moulds (barquettes).
Step 3: To bake the pastry shell, preheat the oven to 400°F. Line the pastry shell with parchment paper and fill the pie with weights or dried beans. Bake for 10 minutes, then gently remove the paper and weight and return the pastry shell to the oven for an additional 10-15 minutes, until it is light golden brown and cooked throughout.
Note: Keep the ingredients and utensils as cool as possible. This will help the pastry to retain a short, crumbly texture. Any leftover pastry can be frozen.
See more recipes from Ginette Mathiot.
Reprinted with permission from Ginette Mathiot's The Art of French Baking, $49.95 (2011 Phaidon).