I love puff pastry. Seriously, it’s one of my (new) favorite things. The only downside: making it from scratch requires about 4 hours of prep. I love baking, but some days 4 hours of prep is just asking too much! Because of that, I’ve been eying several rough puff pastry recipes, the quicker, (supposedly) easier version of the puff pastry. And what better way to try it out than with a rustic apple almond tart, just in time for fall!
Rustic Apple Almond Tart
Yields one 10″x13″ tart
For the pastry:
250 grams butter, cold and cubbed
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup cold water
For the filling:
3 small-medium sized apples
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
1/3 cup chopped almonds
To start, combine the small cubes of cold butter with the flour. Gently, with your hands, roll the butter around until it is well coated with the flour. Do NOT use an appliance like a food processor or electric beaters to cut the butter into the flour. I’ve looked at a lot of recipes for rough pastry dough, and none of them stress this point enough! There is very (very) fine line between a rough puff pastry dough, and something that will later become an overly buttery pie crust, and that difference is the integration of the butter. For a rough puff pastry dough, like the one we’re making here, you want the butter to be chunky and visible, not integrated into the flour (like a machine would do if used too much at this juncture). Once the butter has been coated with the flour, slowly add a little water at a time, gently mixing with your hands until a rough dough forms. The dough is ready once it is no longer sticky and can form a solid ball (chunks of butter should still be really obvious). Cover and allow the dough to cool in the freezer for about 5-7 minutes (just long enough to firm up the butter).
On a lightly floured surface, roll out the rough pastry dough into a long rectangle. At this point, it’ll probably look pretty rough, but that’s ok. I promise it’ll work itself into a nice, smooth dough by the end. Fold the rectangle into thirds so that it’s almost square, make a quarter turn, and roll it out into a long rectangle again. Fold, turn, and roll out again. Fold the dough into thirds again, wrap with plastic wrap, and set in the freezer to chill for about 5-7 minutes (just long enough to firm up the butter). Repeat the whole process of rolling, folding and turning (a total of three times) one more time, and wrap the folded dough to set in the freezer for another 5-7 minutes.
Roll the dough out into wide rectangle, about 10″x13″. I like to trim the edges of my pastries with a pizza cutter to make them a little straighter, but they can easily be left however they were rolled out as well. Transfer the dough to a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Cut up the apples and arrange them on top of the dough overlapping one another in three columns. In a small bowl, combine the granulated sugar, cinnamon, and ground cloves. Stir until all ingredients are well combined, and then sprinkle over the apples and pastry, followed by the chopped almonds.
Bake the whole thing at 400* Fahrenheit (204* Celsius) for 15-18 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown and the apples are tender.
Rough pastry recipe adapted from BBC Good Food