Torta di Mele con Pasta Sfogliata

Apple Tart with Puff Pastry Crust

This tart shows off the beautiful layers in the puff pastry to great advantage. The dough lines the pan in such a way that the cut edge of the dough is uppermost when the tart bakes. The construction of the crust is a little complicated, but its striking result is well worth the trouble.

This is based on an apple tart from the celebrated Sant’Ambroeus pastry shop, Milan’s most elegant.

Ingredients

    Filling

  • 5 tart apples, such as Granny Smith or Greening
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • cup sugar

Method

Roll out the dough on a floured surface into a 14-inch square. Slide the dough onto a pan and chill 1 hour.

For the filling, peel, halve, and core the apples. Reserve 3 halves, tightly wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for the top of the tart. Dice the remaining apples coarsely and combine with the lemon zest, butter, and all but 1 tablespoon of the sugar in a nonreactive saucepan that has a tight-fitting cover. Place the pan over medium heat. When the apple mixture begins to sizzle, cover the pan, lower the heat, and cook 5 minutes, until the apples are swimming in water. Uncover the pan and cook, stirring often, until the apples are reduced to a thick, chunky puree, about 5 to 10 minutes longer. Cool the filling.

To form the tart crust, butter a 9-inch springform pan. Remove the pasta sfogliata from the refrigerator and cut off 2 strips, each 14 × 2½ inches, using a sharp pastry wheel. Cut the strips on one edge in a scalloped pattern, as in the illustration. Arrange the strips against the inside of the pan, pressing them in place. Roll the remaining dough into a 12-inch square (you will be starting with a 14 × 9-inch rectangle) and cut it into a 12-inch disk. Moisten the insides of the dough lining the sides of the pan with water and ease the disk of dough into the pan so that it covers the bottom evenly and is evenly pressed against the strips of dough lining the sides. Chill 1 hour.

Pour the cooked filling into the pan and smooth it evenly over the dough. Cut the remaining apple halves into thin slices and arrange them on the filling, as in the illustration. Sprinkle with the reserved tablespoon of sugar.

Bake the torta at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, until the pastry is baked through and well colored and the apples on the top are cooked. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a rack.

Release the sides of the springform pan and slide the torta onto a platter.