Usher in fall with a half dozen rustic yet refined tartlets. Over a wonderfully sweet “applesauce” made from the roasted fruit and Calvados, two layers of paper-thin apple slices are brushed with butter and sprinkled with sugar to help them caramelize as they bake. The tartlets are delicious still warm from the oven or at room temperature, especially with a snifter of Calvados served alongside for sipping. Makes 6
1 teaspoon all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting 1/2 recipe Pate Brisee (page 322) 5 tart, firm apples, such as Granny Smith 1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons sugar 2 tablespoons fresh bread crumbs 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons Calvados or other apple brandy Pinch of salt 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 1/4 cup apricot jam, heated and strained
1. Place six 4-inch tart rings on a parchment-lined baking sheet. On a lightly floured surface, roll out dough 1/4 inch thick. Cut out six 5 1/2-inch rounds, rerolling scraps as needed. Press dough into bottoms and up sides of tart rings. Trim excess dough flush with rims. Refrigerate or freeze until firm, about 30 minutes.
2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Peel, core, and slice 2 apples into 8 wedges each. Toss wedges with the f lour, 1/4 cup sugar, the bread crumbs, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, the Calvados, and salt. Spread in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 20 minutes. Toss apples and continue baking until very soft and caramelized around edges, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a bowl and roughly mash. Let cool completely.
3. Peel, core, and quarter 1 apple. Core and quarter (do not peel) remaining 2 apples and slice all 3 apples very thin, using a mandoline or a very sharp knife. Toss peeled and unpeeled apple slices separately with remaining 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Spread 2 tablespoons mashed apple mixture into each tart shell. Fan peeled apple slices on top of mash. Evenly brush apples with half the melted butter and sprinkle with half the remaining sugar. Repeat layering with unpeeled apple and remaining butter and sugar. Bake tartlets until apples are dark golden brown on edges, about 65 minutes. Brush tops with strained jam. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool slightly.
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