Published: November 28, 2023
As a teenager living in the heart of Manhattan, I was fortunate to experience the occasional indulgence from Bonté’s, our neighborhood French bakery. Bonté may have had a limited selection, but every pastry was nothing short of culinary excellence.
Their apple tart was a heavenly blend of apples resting atop ethereally flaky puff pastry.
Years later, when I discovered cookbook author Claire Saffitz’s recipe, inspired by her own Parisian apple tart experience, I couldn’t resist trying it. It felt like a taste of my cherished Bonté’s was within reach. And, if I may be so bold, I dare say that Claire’s rendition may have surpassed the original.
Recipe by Claire Saffitz • Photo by Susan Rosser
For the Tart
6 medium baking apples (such as Honeycrisp)
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon water
4 tablespoons of butter
Seeds from 1/2 vanilla bean
1/4 teaspoon Diamond Crystal Kosher salt
(or 1/8 teaspoon for a different brand)
2 1/2 cups unfiltered and unsweetened apple cider
1 sheet thawed frozen puff pastry (see note)
All-purpose flour for rolling out the dough
1 egg, beaten
Turbinado sugar, for sprinkling on top
For the glaze
1/4 apricot jam
2 tablespoons of apple cider
For coating the apples before baking
2 tablespoons of butter, melted
2 tablespoons of apple cider
• Peel, core, and chop 3 apples. Add the dark brown sugar to a medium saucepan with 4 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of water. Cook over medium-high heat until thickened. Add the chopped apples and cook until soft and caramelized — about 10-15 minutes. Add cider and cook for 10 minutes until the cider is reduced by half. Mash the apples with a potato masher. Continue cooking and stirring for 15 minutes until the mixture is very thick. Transfer the apple mixture to a bowl and refrigerate it until cool.
• Preheat the oven to 425. You will turn it down to 350 once the tart is in the oven.
• Roll out the pastry to remove any creases. Transfer pastry to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush egg along the perimeter, creating a 1-inch border. Sprinkle the turbinado sugar on top of the egg. Prick the inside area of the pastry with a fork. Return to the fridge.
• Stand the remaining apples upright and cut down vertically around the core. Place the pieces cut-side down on your board and slice as thinly as possible. Slice with a dragging motion to keep the lobes intact.
• Take the pastry from the fridge and spread the apple mixture in the center, avoiding the edge. Arrange the slices on top of the apple mixture, overlapping them. You might have some leftover apple.
• Place the tart in the oven and turn down to 350. Bake for 40-55 minutes, until the dough is deep brown and the apples have browned in spots.
• To make the glaze, combine the jam and the cider in a small pot and cook over medium heat until the jam is liquidy — strain to remove solids. Dab the glaze on top of the cooled tart using a pastry brush.
Note: I made my own “rough” puff pastry, but store-bought is fine. But honestly, I thought it was worth the effort. You can watch Claire Saffitz make rough puff pastry on YouTube.