Makes enough for one 10-inch tart or about four 4-inch tartlets
5 ounces/ 140 grams all-purpose flour, plus additional for dusting
2 ounces/ 55 grams margarine or butter, cut into cubes
¼ teaspoon active dry yeast
pinch of salt
¼ cup water, very cold
In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast and salt. Add the margarine cubes then, using your fingers, quickly rub them into the flour until each cube is completely covered with flour.
Make a well in the flour, then drizzle the water and use a fork to mix the liquid with the dry ingredients. Using your hands, work the dough to fully absorb the liquid until you get a texture that’s firm but pliable and not sticky. Add more water (if the dough is too crumbly) or more flour (if the dough is too wet) to achieve this consistency.
Shape the dough into a ball, then refrigerate, covered with plastic wrap for at least 45 minutes before assembling the tart. At this stage, the dough can be kept tightly covered in plastic wrap in the refrigerator for up to a week.
3 medium apples, halved, cored and thinly sliced (2, if you’re making tartlets and I recommend slicing them with a mandolin at its thinnest setting)
½ ounce/ 15 grams vanilla sugar or ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
3½ ounces/ 100 grams granulated sugar plus a pinch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon corn starch
3 large eggs
3/4 cup/ 200ml heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 400F/ 200C and grease the pan to be used.
Combine the granulated sugar, cornstarch and vanilla sugar or vanilla extract in a bowl, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the whipping cream and whisk until the mixture is a pale yellow. Set aside.
After 45 minutes, remove the dough from the refrigerator and flatten it on a floured surface with both hands. With a well-floured rolling pin, roll out the dough, flipping it after 2 to 3 strokes of the rolling pin while keeping it well-floured.
When the dough’s just about a millimeter thick, transfer it to the buttered tart pan by draping it over the rolling pin, then unfolding it on the tart pan. Use your fingers to gently press the dough into the pan’s corners. If you’re making tartlets, use a 6-inch cutter to cut out the crusts then gently press it into the tartlet molds. Remove any excess dough by either rolling the pin over the tart pan or snipping it off with a scissors.
You’re likely to have leftover dough at this point – we like to roll it up into a ball and bake it alongside the tart in the oven for a crisp, tasty dough to savor. It’s also a helpful indicator to tell when the crust is done.
Arrange the apple slices in a circle starting at the edge of the pan and work your way in until all the apples are assembled and the pan is full. If you’re making tartlets, layer the apple slices in a fashion that suits your fancy until it reaches the top of the mold. Sprinkle a pinch of sugar and the cinnamon over the apples, then pour the egg/whipping cream mixture into the pan.
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the strength of your oven. The tart is ready when its surface has caramelized and turns a golden brown. Leave to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing and serving. The tart is best eaten on the day it’s made.