Years ago, when I was in graduate school, I spent a wonderful summer in Chieti, a city in the Abruzzi region of central Italy, leading a group of high-school students. I lived with a local family, the patriarch of which we called Signor Franchi. Every day we sat down for an enormous lunch. When the pasta came out—a big bowl of it, before the main course—a hush would fall over the room. We would wait for Signor Franchi to take the first bite. He would taste it, checking to make sure it was perfectly cooked, al dente. It almost always was. Then he would shoot a smile at his wife, and we would all dig in.
- 4Granny Smith or other good cooking apples
- ½ cup sugar
- 2sticks unsalted butter or pareve margarine
- 2large egg yolks
- 1½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- ½cup apricot preserves
From Joan Nathan’s New American Cooking
- Step 1
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease a 10-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom.
- Step 2
Peel, core, and slice the apples into crescents about a fourth to an eighth of an inch thick. You should have about 24 pieces.
- Step 3
Place the sugar, butter, egg yolks, flour, and salt in a large bowl and press everything together with your fingers or combine the ingredients in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and process until the dough forms a ball. Either way, do not overwork the dough.
- Step 4
Take the ball of dough in your hands and flatten in the center of the tart pan. Working with your fingers and a cake knife or wide spatula, spread the dough evenly around the pan and up the sides. The dough should be about 1/2 inch thick on the sides. Press the dough into the flutes and spread it evenly across the bottom of the pan, then trim and flatten the edges with a knife. Starting on the outside and working toward the center, lay the apple slices in an overlapping, concentric circle.
- Step 5
Place the apricot preserves in a saucepan and heat over a low flame until it has liquefied. Using a pastry brush, glaze the apples and the visible crust.
- Step 6
Place the tart pan on a cookie sheet and bake in the middle of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven to 350 degrees and continue cooking until the crust is deep golden brown, about 45 minutes. Bring to room temperature, unmold, and put on a platter or serving dish.