Since this is the season of giving thanks, and, well, there is now literally no better time than the present, I decided to show my gratitude with donations to two critically important organizations: Planned Parenthood and the Equal Justice Initiative. (The latter is a Birmingham, AL-based legal nonprofit that combats the death penalty, mass incarceration, juvenile prison sentences, and the legacy of racism in this country. Executive Director Bryan Stevenson’s book, Just Mercy, is a life-changing read.)
On a lighter note, I’m also thankful for now having a kitchen that’s spacious enough to cook and bake. I actually have that rarest of New York amenities: counter space.
I spread everything out on the counter a few days ago when I decided to make Thanksgiving dessert ahead of time to bring to the Singleton family gathering.
I was trying my hand at a Jacques Pepin recipe for an apple frangipane (almond filling) tart, which I had helped to make at the cooking school about a week earlier. I didn’t have a recipe packet from class with me, but luckily I was able to locate a version of it online at The Diner of Cville’s website. (Thank you for sharing!)
Here is my adapted Apple Frangipage Tart recipe:
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 10 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter
- 1/3 cup cold water
Cut the cold butter into roughly 1/2 inch pieces. Drop the butter, flour, sugar, and salt into a food processor. Pulse for a few seconds, add the water and pulse for about ten more seconds. The dough should be just coming together at this point. Remove dough from processor, shape into a ball, wrap it in plastic and set in the fridge to chill.
Frangipane, aka almond filling
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Using the food processor again, grind the almonds and sugar together into a rough mix. Add in the egg, vanilla, and melted butter and grind until the mixture comes together as a thick looking paste.
At this point, take out the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a floured surface. The dough should be rolled out into a 12 or 13 inch circle. Fit this into a 9 inch pie pan or tin and where possible, pinch any excess dough back around the edge to thicken the crust. Pour the frangipane filling into the pie dough and spread evenly. Refrigerate. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. (I recommend lowering the heat just slightly, perhaps to 375.)
- 3 or 4 baking apples (I used two Granny Smith and one Fuji, I think?)
- 3 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Thinly slice the apples. Take the dough and filling out of the fridge and set the apple slices in the filling. Evenly sprinkle the sugar atop the apples, and dot with small chunks of butter. Bake for 45 minutes to one hour.
- 4 tablespoons of apricot jam
- 1 or 2 tablespoons water
- Bourbon or Calvados (optional — I didn’t have any on hand so I sadly had to make do without!)
Mix jam and water. Once the tart has cooled completely to room temperature, spread the jam glaze over the tart itself.