How to make a French tart
If you have every wanted to learn how to make a French tart, you are in the right place. Below are step-by-step instructions on how to make an apricot French tart including how to make tart dough. You CAN make this! This recipe is easy, simple and authentic.
If you have extra apricots because, um, you have an apricot tree, this recipe is a great way to use apricots.
French Tart Dough Recipe – Step by Step Pictures
This tart dough is easy to make in a food processor. A special kneading method called fraisage is used to blend the flour and butter together with out making the dough tough. The dough is worked cold and rolled out just like a pie crust. You CAN do this!
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Why I love French tarts.
Have you ever heard of the Imposter Phenomenon? It’s the concept describing high-achieving individuals who have trouble internalizing their accomplishments and believe they will be exposed as a fraud. It’s not a mental disorder or a personality trait but rather a response to a situation. It’s really interesting and continues to be studied.
Why do I bring this up? Because in the kitchen, especially with baking, super especially with French pastries, I feel like a fraud. Learning to cook is a life long process which includes at the basic level learning to chop, dice, sauté, wash dishes etc.
With pastries, there is so much more to it. Baking includes complex chemical reactions that need a narrow window of ingredients to make the reactions happen properly.
Too much flour or liquid in the dough and you pretty much have to start over. I have always thought of baking as needing an advanced set of skills, sometimes convincing myself that only cooking school graduates should attempt to master, especially with French pastries!
Well, you do need more advanced skills- but the secret that the imaginary angry French Chef from Le Cordon Bleu – that lives in my head- never told me is that each pastry recipe learned builds those skills one-by-one, easily.
French tart dough is a great start to building those skills and that is why I love French tarts! I even succeeded on the first try!
This recipe is adapted from my latest favorite French cookbook and guide, French Classics Made Easy by Richard Grausman. I used apricots because I still have some from our apricot-pocolypse from last year.
The fabulous serving pieces were made by my husband, Mr. Craftiness.
I forgot to prick the dough with a fork and the world did NOT end. If this happens to you, just remember Julia Child when she dropped the chicken or duck on the floor on her TV show. She told the audience, ‘Well dearie, if you don’t tell them they won’t know’, or something like that. You know which episode, right? Are there any JC fans out there? Gimme some love!
A French Tarte aux Abricot recipe with step-by-step instructions.
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (190g)
1 Tbs sugar
8 Tbs cold, unsalted butter (115g)
1 large egg
1–2 Tbs cold water
3 Tbs corn starch
1/4 cup sugar
3 1/2 cups of fresh apricot haves, may use frozen (thawed)
1/2 cup apricot jam mixed with 3 Tbs water
1/2 cup of sugar to mix with the apricots to increase sweetness.
- Preheat oven to 475F.
- Place flour and sugar in food processor and pulse a few times.
While processing, add butter, one tablespoon at a time until well incorporated.
- In a small bowl, add egg and water and mix well. While processing, add egg mixture in a slow stream and continue to process until dough comes together in a ball, take dough out.
- On a floured surface, dust the dough with flour and fraisage* the dough four or five times until the dough is smooth and doesn’t stick to the surface. Form dough into a round shape, refrigerate 15 minutes.
- Roll dough out on a floured surface into the size and shape that will fit your 9 to 11 inch tart pan. Roll dough up onto rolling pin and transfer to tart pan. Push the dough into the pan at the edges. Using a rolling pin, roll along the top to cut the excess dough off, see pictures above.
Poke holes in tart with a fork several times.
- Sprinkle tart with corn starch and sugar, add apricots.
- Bake tart on lowest rack for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 425F and continue baking for approximately 30 minutes or until tart is gently boiling and rim of crust is dark brown.
- Take the tart out and *unmold immediately to put on a cooling rack.
When the tart has cooled, brush top with apricot and water mixture gently.
- Fraisage is a technique of kneading where you take the palm of your hand and push outward, repeating until the dough is flattened. The goal is to push the butter and flour together in a tighter bind.
- To unmold a tart pan, slide part of the pan over the edge of counter, wrap your hand and forearm with a kitchen towel to protect from burns, push up the bottom of the pan to unhinge the ring, letting the ring dangle on your wrist, carry tart to cooling rack, slide off the tart.
- Apricots have lower sugar than many other fruits. If your sweetness preference is on the higher side, you may want to add an additional 1/2 cup white sugar to the apricots to counter the tartness of the fruit. This is a tip from one of the readers, thanks Charity!