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If possible, I would insert the wafts of warm, pâtisseriescents that billow out of my oven so you could scratch and sniff this photograph. “What are you baking and I want a piece now!” the 13 year old demanded in his loud, crackling teenage boy voice. I took it as a compliment attack. The aroma of fresh baked confections usually do not hang in my kitchen. I’m afraid of baking; it’s so precise.

whole wheat flour power

Guys, this one works for the lamest of bakers – moi. Make it for guests you want to impress with “oh this ‘ol recipe,” reward your family after a dinner of baked tuna and kelp noodles (that may or may not be you Leslie) or make it for your own Pity Party. Even the richest ingredients provide a healthy measure using real food ingredients that are absent of preservatives and chemicals.

In search of a simple apple pie or tart recipe that could take a whole wheat injection, I found easy guidance from thisIna Garten cookbookand Sherry Yard,the famed pastry chef from Spago and whose ironclad pie recipe I discovered while researching an articleabout The New School of CookingforEdible Westside.

buttload of butter

I leaned more on Ina because she used the least amount of dishes. Her tart crust recipe mixes up in a food processor.

cover me with apples

Marble is supposed to be ideal for rolling out pastry dough, but mine sticks every time. I learned later that marble keeps the dough cool, but a pastry cloth keeps it from sticking to all surfaces. My tart crust is made with half all-purpose flour, half whole wheat flour. Omit the whole wheat if you prefer a lighter crust, but all-purpose flour provides gluten for structure. Gluten-free flour includes necessary binding agents as well so it can replace all flours in the recipe.

apple display

Using three peeled, cored and sliced Granny Smiths, we (Ina and I) cascaded apple slices from the corner. I used three apples instead of four because, unlike Ina, I used the little slices for my corners.

sugar doo-doo doo doo- doo doo - ah honey, honey

Half a cup of cane sugar on top.

you are my candy girl

Just the right amount of sweet.

Butter, doo-doo doo doo doo doo - ah fatty fatty

Unsalted butter dots the apple tart landscape.

baked good

Well, that worked just fine.

glazed over

While the tart bakes (nearly an hour) creating that arresting aroma worthy of an open house staging, we throw together a simple glaze made of apricot jam and Calvados, an apple brandy called for in many apple pie recipes. You can use water or rum instead of the Calvados.

salted french apple tart

Pinch of sea salt on top to bring out the sweetness. Pinch of Pepper (below) to bring out dog sweetness.

staaaaayPiece de resistance.

how the 13 yearold did it

Thirty seconds in the microwave with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzled caramel topping was the teenager’s brilliant idea. I served it without ice cream for breakfast the next morning – so easy.

Maybe biscuits won’t be too hard – fourth time’s a charm.

french apple tart – non-pastry chefs rejoice

preptime: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour refrigeration for dough 6-8 servings

baketime: 45 -60 minutes

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/2 tsp kosher salt

1 Tbsp cane sugar

12 Tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced – the better the quality, the better the flavor

1/2 cup ice water

3 medium sized Granny Smith apples (4 if you don’t want small ends)

1/2 cup cane sugar

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) cold unsalted butter, small diced

1/2 cup apricot jelly or warm sieved apricot jam

2 tablespoons Calvados, rum, or water

pinch of sea salt

  1. Place the flours, salt, and 1 Tbsp sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Pulse for a few seconds to combine.
  2. Add the butter and pulse 10 to 12 times, until the butter is in small bits the size of peas.
  3. With the motor running, pour the ice water down the feed tube and pulse just until the dough starts to come together.
  4. Dump onto a floured board and knead quickly into a ball. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  6. Roll the dough slightly larger than 10 by 14-inches. Using a ruler and a small knife, trim the edges. Place the dough on the prepared sheet pan and refrigerate while you prepare the apples.
  7. Peel the apples and cut them in half through the stem. Remove the stems and cores with a sharp knife and a melon baler. Slice the apples crosswise in 1/4-inch thick slices.
  8. Place overlapping slices of apples diagonally down the middle of the tart and continue making diagonal rows on both sides of the first row until the pastry is covered with apple slices. (Ina doesn’t use the apple ends in order to make the arrangement look nice)
  9. Sprinkle with the full 1/2 cup of sugar and dot with the butter.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the pastry is browned and the edges of the apples start to brown. Rotate the pan once during cooking. If the pastry puffs up in one area, cut a little slit with a knife to let the air out. Don’t worry! The apple juices will burn in the pan but the tart will be fine!
  11. When the tart’s done, heat the apricot jelly together with the Calvados and brush the apples and the pastry completely with the jelly mixture. Loosen the tart with a metal spatula so it doesn’t stick to the paper.
  12. Sprinkle a pinch of sea salt over the entire tart. You want a scant few granules in each bite.
  13. Allow to cool and serve warm or at room temperature.

See Ina’s demonstrations for preparation here.


  • prepare the pie dough in advance
  • use puff pastry or pre-made dough

recipe adapted from Back to Basics and provided by your friends at crunchtimefood.com


  1. Leslie says Oct 21st 2013 7:44 am

    Yum city. How about mini boxes of this for Chirstmas? That is some good dog training.

  2. Sherri says Oct 21st 2013 8:58 am

    Good idea! Mini-tarts as wide as an apple slice.

  3. Nancy says Oct 21st 2013 12:28 pm

    YUMMY-can’t wait to make it!!

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