Swiss apple tarts (Tartes aux pommes in French) come in many different styles and versions. These flat, wide tarts often have a liaison (also known as guélon) — an egg and cream mixture, typically sweetened with sugar and poured over the fruit before baking. I use this method for Swiss fruit tarts with rhubarb and blueberries. In German-speaking Switzerland, a tart like this would likely be called an Apfelwähe.
Personally, I prefer what may be a more Swiss-French apple tart, that doesn’t call for a cream filling. For whatever reason, I’m not always a fan of the creamy filling with the texture of the apples. When I make this tart, I add a thin layer of ground almonds under the apples, only a tablespoon of sugar sprinkled on top and some apricot jam to make it shine. My goal is for the flavor of the baked apples to really come through.
For the tart pictured above, I used organic Elstar apples. Any apple ideal for baking should work well for this recipe, but you may need to adjust baking times, depending on the firmness of the apple and how thick you slice them.
For more information about Swiss apple varieties, check out this informational booklet prepared by the French-speaking agricultural information agency (Agence d’information agricole romande): Les pommes suisse: Une tentation fruitée (January 2020).
Swiss Apple Tart
Makes one tart in a 11.5-inch (30 cm) diameter pan
- 200 g (1 2/3 cups) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 75 g (1/3 cup) unsalted butter, cold
- 1 egg, slightly beaten
- 1-2 tablespoons water, cold
- juice of one lemon
- 2 tablespoons ground almonds (or almond flour)
- 1 to 1 1/4 kg (2 1/4 to 2 3/4 lbs) apples for baking
- 1 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon butter
- about 3 tablespoons apricot jam
- Make the dough: Whisk the flour together with the salt in a large bowl. Add the cold butter, in pieces. Using a food processor, a pastry blender or two knives, cut the butter into the flour mixture, until it becomes the size of small pebbles. Make a well in the center of the mixture and add the slightly beaten egg and cold water. Stir together just until a dough forms. Shape the dough into a disk and wrap it in parchment paper. Then, refrigerate the dough for 30-60 minutes, until it becomes firm.
- When the dough is ready, take it out of the refrigerator. Using a rolling pin lightly dusted in flour, roll out the dough on the piece of parchment paper you wrapped it in to fit the size of the pan. Then, place the dough into the prepared tart pan — either greased with butter or lined with the parchment paper you rolled it out on. Using a fork, prick the bottom of the dough. then, sprinkle two tablespoons of ground almonds onto the prepared dough. Place the pan with the dough back in the fridge to chill while you prepare the apples.
- Prepare the apples: Add the juice of one lemon to a large bowl. Next, peel, core and cut the apples into thin slices, tossing them in the juice to prevent them from turning brown. Take the chilled dough in the tart pan out of the fridge and arrange the apples into a single layer in the pan. Sprinkle with one tablespoon of sugar and top the apples with small pieces of butter evenly distributed.
- Bake the tart for about 40-45 minutes at 180°C / 350°F, until the apples have softened and the pastry has turned golden brown. Next, gently warm the apricot jam over low heat. Add a dash of water, if necessary, to thin the jam, and pass it through a sieve, to remove any chunks. Then, use a pasty brush to spread the jam on the warm baked apples to add sweetness and shine.