Through her recipes in the Barefoot Contessa series, Ina Garten has a way of turning simple ingredients into something special that is more than the sum of its parts. This apple tart recipe, found in her book Back To Basics, is the perfect example of that.

Ina specifies Granny Smith apples likely because of their tartness and how the slices hold their shape even through baking, but other varieties will work as well.

I used the semi-tart Sweet Tango apple, a cross-pollination of Zestar and Honeycrisp.

Also of note, the glaze that is brushed onto the finished tart calls for Calvados. Lacking that, I chose to use Ă…lander aged rum by Far North Spirits (Hallock, MN) which has a lovely almond-like flavor. Turns out I love the taste and made that substitution a permanent change in my copy of the cookbook.

For the pastry:

2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
12 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup ice water

For the apples:

4 Granny Smith apples
1/2 cup sugar
4 Tbsp. cold unsalted butter, diced
1/2 cup apricot jelly or jam
2 Tbsp. Ă…lander aged rum or Calvados

  • For the pastry, combine flour, salt and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.
  • Add the diced butter and pulse 12-14 times.
  • With the processor running, add the icewater. Pulse just until the dough comes together.
  • On a floured surface, knead the dough by hand into a 5″disc.
  • Wrap in plastic and refrigerate.
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Line a 10 X 14″ sheet pan with parchment paper.
  • Roll the dough out onto a floured surface until it is slightly larger than your pan.
  • Then transfer onto the parchment on the pan.
  • Peel and slice the apples into 1/4″ slices.
  • Arrange in diagonal rows atop the pastry.
  • Sprinkle with the 1/2 cup sugar and dot with the butter.
  • Bake 1 hour.
  • When done baking, heat the apricot jelly and the rum in a small saucepan.
  • Brush the mixture onto the apples and pastry.
  • Cool and serve warm or at room temperature.