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Apple Frangipane Tart

With its layers of flaky pastry, nutty- sweet almond frangipane and thinly sliced apples, this tart makes a great last-minute dessert and is showstoppingly gorgeous. It’s even more delicious served with lightly whipped crème fraîche.

Ingredients:

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, about 10 by 14 inches, thawed

For the frangipane:

  • 1 1/2 cups sliced almonds, lightly toasted
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. almond extract
  • 2 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
  •   2 large baking apples, such as Pink Lady or Gravenstein
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1/4 cup apricot jam (optional)

Directions:

Position a rack in the upper third of an oven and preheat to 425°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the puff pastry into a 16-by-12-inch rectangle (it should just fit onto the baking sheet). Transfer to the prepared pan, fold over the edges of the pastry to form a rim and pinch the edges together. Refrigerate while you make the frangipane and prepare the apples.

To make the frangipane, in a food processor, combine the almonds, sugar and salt and process until the almonds are finely ground. Add the eggs, vanilla extract, almond extract and melted butter and process until the mixture comes together.

Peel and core each apple (or you can leave them unpeeled, if you like). Slice them very thinly crosswise (this is easiest on a mandoline, but you can use a sharp knife). In a bowl, toss the apple slices with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Prick the chilled puff pastry all over with a fork. Bake until it looks dried out and very lightly browned, about 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and reduce the oven temperature to 350°F. Smear a thin, even layer of the frangipane on top of the pastry and then top evenly with the sliced apples. Bake until the tart is golden and the apples are crisp-tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack.

If you want to make the tart fancy, heat the jam in a saucepan over low heat until it liquefies. Pour through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, gently brush the top of the tart with a thin coating of jam. Serve warm or at room temperature. Makes one 16-by-12-inch tart.

Baker’s note: The ideal way to slice the apples is with a mandoline, so you can be sure the slices are ultrathin and even. If you don’t have a mandoline, simply use a large, sharp knife to cut slices as thinly as possible.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Home Baked Comfort, by Kim Laidlaw (Weldon Owen, 2011).