another recipe re-dux (playing with perfection) the revised tarte aux pommes

I know I already blogged about this.  And as amazing as Julia Child’s original recipe is, I thought you might like to know how I’ve started to adapt this recipe to something I feel a little better about feeding my family.  I’m sure there will be more changes as I continue to experiment.  But this was what I did our first time out.  Next time, maybe I’ll switch up the sugar with Xylitol.  Or honey.  Or Coconut Palm Sugar.  If I do, I’ll be sure to let you know.

Tarte aux Pommes (adapted from Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child)


  • 10-inch pie shell (THIS is a really easy, really flakey, incredibly awesome pie shell recipe.  It’s what we used for this tart.)
  • 6 medium to large granny smith apples 
  • 8 medium to large honey crisp apples
  • juice from one lemon (1 Tbls for the topping, the rest for the filling)
  • 1/3 cup organic unrefined cane sugar plus 1 Tablespoon sugar for topping
  • 1/3 cup apricot jam/preserves plus 1/3 cup apricot jam for the glaze
  • 1/4 cup Calvados (or 1 Tablespoon vanilla)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Apricot Glaze

1/3 cup apricot preserves


Preheat oven to 375F.

Line your tart pan with the pie dough, put it in the freezer while you do the apple prep.

Quarter, core, and peel the apples.

Cut 3 of the honey crisp and 1 of the green apples into 1/8-inch lengthwise slices (for the top of the tart).  Toss them in a bowl with 1 Tbls of the lemon juice and 1 Tbls of sugar. Reserve them for the top of the tart.

Cut the rest of the apples into chunks.  It should make about 8 cups of chopped apples.  Place in a large saucepan and cook over a low heat for about 20 minutes.  Squeeze the rest of the juice from your lemon into the apples.  Stir occasionally.

Add the Calvados (or vanilla), the apricot jam, sugar, butter and cinnamon.  Raise the temperature to high and let it come to a boil.  Stirring constantly. (I used a potato masher when the apples got soft enough to mash …so you end up with a chunky apple saucy mixture.)

Spread the saucy mixture in the very cold pastry shell. Cover with a neat, closely overlapping layer of sliced apples arranged in concentric circles.

Bake in upper third of preheated oven for about 30 minutes, or until the apples have browned lightly and are tender.

Carefully brush a light coating of apricot glaze over the tart. Serve warm or cold.

The glaze:

Stir the apricot preserves over medium/high heat until it thins a bit.  About 2-3 minutes. Don’t let it boil for more than 30 seconds.  Julia says if you do this it will become brittle as it cools.  NOTE: Julia adds more sugar to the preserves.  I didn’t find it necessary as the preserves are sweet and bright enough without the added sugar.)

Apply the glaze while it is still warm. Don’t feel obligated to use all of the glaze.  Just use enough to make your tart glisten.  You can just return the unused portion to the jelly jar and store in your fridge.

And there you have it.

A gently adapted version of Julia’s masterpiece.  I know it’s not a major shift.  But a little less sugar.  Even without all the sugar, it’s still sweet.  A few “better” ingredients.  And the added lemon makes the filling a bit brighter.  And having a cold pie shell makes the crust flakey and avoids the soggy thing that happens with pre-cooked shells that are filled with fruit compotes.

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