French Apple Tart
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
5 1/2 pounds medium Braeburn or Golden Delicious apples (about 15), peeled, cored, quartered
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
6 tablespoons sugar
Spiced Brown Butter
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 whole cloves
3 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 large eggs
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
Blend flour, sugar, and salt in processor. Add butter and process, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add egg yolks and process, using on/off turns, until dough comes together in large moist clumps. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Cover with plastic; chill 20 minutes.
Spray 10-inch-diameter springform pan with nonstick spray. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Roll out 1 dough piece on generously floured surface to 10 1/2-inch round. Roll dough up on rolling pin and transfer to pan. Press dough round into bottom of pan, patching any cracks. Divide second dough piece into 4 equal pieces. Roll out each piece between palms and generously floured surface to 7-inch rope. Place dough ropes end to end to form 1 continuous ring along bottom edge of pan. Press dough ring firmly up sides of pan, forming 1 3/4-inch-high sides. Press dough seams together to seal. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake crust just until set and very light golden around edges, about 10 minutes. Cool.
Position 1 rack in bottom third of oven and 1 rack in center of oven and preheat to 400°F. Spray 2 heavy large rimmed baking sheets with nonstick spray. Toss apples with butter and lemon juice in very large bowl. Arrange in single layer on sheets, leaving spaces between apples. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons sugar over apples on each sheet. Bake until apples are tender and golden brown, turning apples occasionally and rotating pans between lower and higher racks, about 40 minutes. Cool. (Crust and apples can be made 1 day ahead. Cover crust and store at room temperature. Place apples in bowl. Cover; refrigerate.)
Place pan with crust on clean baking sheet. Arrange apple wedges close together, standing on short ends, in concentric circles in crust.
For spiced brown butter:
Melt butter in heavy small saucepan over low heat. Scrape seeds from vanilla bean into butter; add bean. Add cloves, star anise and cinnamon stick. Cook over low heat until butter turns golden brown and spices flavor butter, adjusting heat if necessary to prevent burning and stirring frequently, about 25 minutes.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk eggs, sugar, flour, and salt to blend in medium bowl. Strain spiced brown butter mixture into egg mixture; whisk to blend. Reserve vanilla bean, star anise, and cinnamon stick; discard cloves. Slowly pour egg mixture over apples in crust. Bake until egg mixture is set, puffed and light golden and apples are deep golden brown, about 1 hour 5 minutes. Cool on rack at least 30 minutes. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature.)
Release pan sides. Transfer tart to platter. Garnish tart with reserved vanilla bean, star anise, and cinnamon stick, if desired. Serve tart slightly warm or at room temperature with ice cream.
(photo credit: Bill Stavru)