♪ ♪ If you want to make a French tart, like this, you've got to have some crust, like this.
We're making French tarts, apple style, next time on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: The French Chef is made possible by a grant from the Polaroid Corporation.
Here is a French tart, fully dressed in a glittering diadem of apple slices.
And here in the wings is a simple, innocent, mysteriously light and buttery shell that supports it.
We're making French tarts, apple style, today on The French Chef.
♪ ♪ Welcome to The French Chef.
I'm Julia Child.
I think an awful lot of people have a simply terrible time making pastry dough and pie shells.
They find it stiff as a board, or hard as a rock, or soggy as a washrag.
And I think they can be made, and it isn't too difficult.
And I'd like to show you how to make a good pastry crust today, because it has... the French pastry dough, or any pie dough, has so many uses that you can make not only tart shells like this that we're going to do today, but you can make turnovers and pastry cases and all kinds of goodies.
And it's really not too difficult to do if you've, if you've seen it done.
And what we're going to do is to make the pastry dough, and then make a tart shell like this.
You see it has straight sides.
And you can use it for quiches or onion tarts or apple tarts.
And so this... because this has straight sides, this is done in the French way, in a flan ring.
This is just, see, just a plain ring, and it sits on a pastry sheet.
And if you don't happen to have a flan ring, you can get the same effect by using a false-bottom cake tin like this.
And you can mold your pastry in it, and then just unmold the tart like that, so that you'll have a freestanding shell.
Actually, I think if you have somebody who has a handy cellar workshop, they could take a false-bottom cake tin and just cut out this center ring, and then you'd have a flan ring, which would be very useful to have indeed.
And so I'm going to prepare the... We're going to use the ring and the pastry sheet.
So I'm going to prepare them, so that when we mold them, everything is done.
So you want to take-- I mean everything is ready.
So you take some butter, and butter the inside of the ring, then butter your pastry sheet very lightly.
This is just so things won't stick to it.
And then your ring and your sheet are all ready, and you're practically ready to begin.
I'll move this shell over here, because we'll be using it later on.
And now, we're going to make the pastry dough.
And pastry dough, or pie dough, all it is is flour and water and fat.
And the water makes the flour stick together, and the fat gives tenderness and texture.
And so we're going to use all-purpose flour.
And this is regular, ordinary all-purpose flour.
And for pastry dough, you don't need to sift it.
We want one and a half cups, and so dip your cup into your flour sack or your bowl, and without shaking at all, just take a knife and level it off.
And that one cup of flour is about four and a half ounces.
And whether or not you're using regular all-purpose flour or that new granular, sandy type of flour, the measurements are exactly the same.
You'd have one and a half cups.
And for a half cup, you do exactly the same thing.
Dip it in, and then sweep off the excess flour level with the cup.
So there we have one and a half cups of flour.
And then we're going to have the fat, which is added to it.
And the fat has to be-- We're going to use butter, because it's a French crust.
And that's in the refrigerator.
So I'll go and get it.
This is one thing you have to be sure of when you're making... making this kind of a dough-- the French one, which is a butter crust-- that you keep everything just as cold as possible.
And we're going to use one stick, or four ounces, of chilled butter.
And that goes right into your pan with the flour.
And I'm going to cut it so that it is easier to work in.
And then we're also going to have, because we're using American... we're using all-purpose hard wheat flour, we want to have a little bit of white vegetable shortening.
So I'm going to use about three tablespoons.
And if you're used to measuring it, you don't have to go through all that messy business of dipping the spoon in and then squeezing it out.
We just get used to deciding about how much the... how much one tablespoon is.
So that's one stick of butter and three tablespoons of white vegetable shortening.
And now you want to mix the flour and the fat together.
And you can do it in either... several ways.
One, the professional way, is to take it with the fingers and just squeeze the butter and the flour together.
And you want to do it just with the tips of your fingers.
You don't want to rub it like that with the main part of your fingers, because that's too hot.
And the idea, when you're making a pastry crust for the first time, is to give yourself all the breaks.
There, that's so hard that it came off.
Now, that's one way of doing it.
And another way of doing it, which I think if you're not used to making pastry crust, is really a very sensible way, is to use a pastry blender, which is just wires attached together.
And this blends the flour and the fat very easily, because the most important thing is that you do not let your butter soften.
So if you happen to be doing this on a very hot day, you could even set your bowl in a bowl of ice water if you felt that the butter was softening up too much.
Just stop where you are and put everything in the icebox, and then return to it.
Even with these things, you keep having to get the butter out with your hands.
And the reason that you don't want the butter and the flour to...
I mean, the butter to soften is that then it blends too much in with the... in with the flour.
And then when you add your water, you don't have... you can't add enough water, and then your dough isn't of the right consistency.
So remember that this is a very important step of rapidly working the flour and butter together.
And you work it together until it makes... it's like coarse meal.
Then there are always a few little extra pieces, but you don't have to be absolutely thorough at this point, because you get a little blending later when the... when the water goes in.
And now we want one third cup of water.
And if you're making a quiche dough, you would use a half-teaspoon of salt.
But we're making a sweet dough, so we use just a little pinch of salt for flavor.
And we want two tablespoons of sugar.
And that goes into this one-third cup of cold water.
And remember that we're just adding the sugar because we're making an apple tart.
If you're making an ordinary pie, you wouldn't add any... you wouldn't add any sugar.
And then your one-third cup of cold water-- if it's a hot day, use ice water-- gets mixed into your bowl, and then take a rubber spatula and stir it all in, and then push it together with the... with the spatula until it forms a mass.
I'm using the spatula here again just to keep my hot hands away from the... keep my hot hands out of this mixture, to keep it as cold as possible.
And now, when that is all fairly well-formed a mass... And when you're forming the mass, press it hard together.
Then we have our final blending, which in France is called the fraisage.
And this is a very un-American thing to do, but it blends your butter and flour perfectly together.
And what you do is, you see, you've massed it up here.
Then you take the heel of your hand, and you do this.
You see what I'm doing?
I'm very rapidly, with the heel... And be sure that you use that, because that isn't... is the least hot part of your hand.
I'm taking about two-tablespoon bits and just smearing rapidly out.
And this gets any little lumps of butter that might not have been thoroughly blended... blended well enough into your mixture.
And you want to do that rapidly.
Remember, pastry making is not a delicate thing.
You want to be fast and tough and rough.
And then gather it into a ball.
And then put a little bit of flour on, just enough to make it so it doesn't stick to your hands.
Now, notice the consistency of that.
It's sort of... it's soft and nice.
It's rather like a little baby's bottom.
It's just a very nice consistency.
That's why you want to be sure to have enough water in.
Because the water also gives the texture, and you don't want to have too hard a dough.
And then, when you have it all in a ball, you then wrap it in wax paper.
And then it is to be chilled.
You see, it would be much too soft to roll out now.
And besides, the chilling relaxes the gluten, or the rubbery quality, in the dough.
And that should be chilled for two hours or for two days.
It really makes very little difference.
Because as long as the dough is relaxed, it's ready to roll.
So here we have some dough that I made last night.
And that's all ready to roll out.
And this, again, is...
I mean, if you're familiar with making pastry dough, you can use all kinds of shortcuts.
But if you're not, you should give yourself every chance, so that it's nice.
And every chance means keep everything cold.
You see, that's fairly cold and hard.
And so you can take your rolling pin and beat it up a little bit, just to soften it.
And then take your hands, and very briefly knead it so that it just has enough...
I guess I put away my flour, and I didn't mean to.
Because we want to have it soft enough so you can roll it, but not too soft.
And then take a little bit of flour... and flour each side, and then you're ready to start rolling.
And if it's too hard, beat it up a little bit more.
So you want to roll it so that the edges don't crack.
And then roll it back and forth to get it started a little bit.
And then notice that I start on the back end and roll forward, and I don't quite come out to the other end.
This is to the far end.
And this is so that if you roll all the way over, like that, you'd find that your edges were much thinner than your center.
And another thing you always want to do is to keep turning the dough.
And the main reason for keeping turning the dough is so that it won't stick on the bottom.
Because if it sticks on the bottom, then you have a real mess.
And we're rolling this out into a circle, because it's going to go into an eight-inch flan ring.
I really have enough flour here with one and a half cups to make a ten-inch ring.
But I always like to make a little bit extra, because you can always keep it.
You see, noticed I was turning it all the time, and I'm rolling as quickly as possible, because when you have as much dough as this, you just don't want to linger around, particularly on a hot day, because with all this butter, the dough will soften a lot, and then you'll find you won't be able to do anything with it.
And so now you have it all rolled out.
And I'm using here a piece of marble, which I find very nice for making pastry.
I just looked up in the telephone book where it said "marble," and then I just went and bought a piece.
And it's cool, and it's easy to... easy to clean off.
Now, when you've rolled it out the length that you want... you see, you want it a little bit more all around than your ring.
And you want it about, oh, three-eighths of an inch thick.
Then you're ready to mold it into your ring.
So fold it in four, like this, and then bring over your ring, and then lay it in.
And now comes the part of molding it into the flan ring.
And for this, you have your dough in.
And then you want to lift the dough up, and gently push it down the edge of the ring, all the way around.
And this has two reasons for doing.
One is that you want to make the edges a little bit thicker than the bottom, so that they'll be sturdy and won't break.
And another one is that you're going to... when you cut the dough off, then you're also going to push it up again.
You see, I'm just taking my fingers and just gently pushing in.
It's probably about a quarter of an inch all around.
And then spread it out around this way.
And just take your pin and roll right across the top of your... of your mold.
Now, if you were using a false bottom cake tin, you'd do just exactly the same thing.
And there are your extra, your scraps.
And just keep them.
I'll show you why later because you may want and need to patch it.
And now, the second step is to now push the dough up a little bit.
You see, I'm taking my two thumbs and just pushing it up all around.
And pushing it against the sides of the mold.
You sort of... if you push away with your thumbs and then keep swinging your pastry sheet around, then make a nice little even edge.
And then we want to decorate the edge a bit.
And this is a French pastry pinch.
And this one, you just pinch the edges of it like that, all the way around.
And if you don't have one of those, you can take a fork and just take the tines of it and go all around that way.
Actually, I think the pinch looks very nice in the raw dough.
It usually bakes out so you can't see what's happening.
I mean, what has happened.
As long as you have a little design.
Now, here I'm just using the flat edge of a knife here so it doesn't make any difference which... what method you do, as long as you make some kind of a little decorative edge.
I really rather like the knife the best, I think.
Then you have this all molded, and then you take a fork, and you prick the bottom of it.
Be sure that you do this, because if you don't prick the bottom, you'll find that the bottom puffs up while it's baking.
Then this is always baked first, no matter whether you're going to have a baked tart or... or some fully cooked ingredients that go into it.
And this is to prevent a soggy bottom, because nobody likes soggy bottoms, particularly in a pie.
And so if you're going to bake it, you have to support the edges; otherwise they'll fall.
So, I always find I have...
I always have pans that fit into any one of these rings because it's much easier.
And I have this one, it's buttered, and this sits right down in there.
And then you can weight it down with something like just a cup.
And if you don't have a pan that fits exactly, use some thin aluminum foil, and turn it into a ball and put it into the dough and then fill it with beans.
Anything that you do, but you want to be sure that you keep the edges pushed up like this.
So I'm just going to use my pan.
And then that is now ready to bake.
But if you don't want to bake it right away, you can chill it in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake.
But one thing is if you... the chilling isn't necessary if you make your dough in the French way of having it given a long rest before you roll it out.
But if you find that you like to make the dough and then roll it right out, you should let it probably rest for half an hour before you bake it because the gluten or rubber quality is worked up in it, and it might shrink.
And so now we're going to bake this shell, and it's going to bake for five minutes in a 425 degree oven.
And then after five minutes, the lining will come out of the pan, and you'll see how it looks.
So I'm going to set the timer.
I want you to see how to bake this shell because they're so easy to make.
But these are these one or two little tricks to them, such as the prebaking and the pricking and the possible patching that you might get into, all of which are perfectly fair to do.
I used to think it wasn't fair to patch a shell, that it was my own fault if something happened to it.
But anything goes.
And so remember, when you're doing pastry, give yourself every break possible.
Keep everything cold, work very rapidly, don't linger over the dough with your fingers, and don't... and roll it out just as fast as you can, and remember to keep turning it.
So while our pastry shell is baking, I've got another one that's already prebaked.
And this... these shells are not fully baked.
They're called in French... that they're baked à blanc, or white baked.
They've hardly started to color.
But still, there's a little bit of crustiness that you can feel, and that is your insurance against the soggy bottom.
And so what we're going to do now is the classic French apple tart.
I'm mainly going to show you how to assemble it.
And this consists of a very thick applesauce, which in France is called a marmelade de pomme.
And you have a... for an eight-inch tart, you need about six or eight cups of crisp, tart, delicious tasting apples.
I used some McIntosh for this.
And cook them down until they're good and thick, and then flavor them with about half of a cup of sugar or more, however much you think they need.
And then you want to have the grated rind of one whole lemon.
Just grate that right in.
And then you can put in two or three tablespoons of cognac or apple brandy or a tablespoon of vanilla, and then... you want also the flavoring of apricot jam.
And you want about half a cup of apricot jam, and you put it in a sieve and push it through the sieve to get rid of those little pieces of skin.
And then you cook it down for several more minutes until it makes a lovely, thick marmalade, like this.
And you want to taste it very carefully.
And also put in two tablespoons of melted butter along with that.
And then taste it very carefully because it should be absolutely beautiful.
Which it is.
And then you're ready to fill your shell with it.
And you can fill your prebaked shell.
This can either be hot or cold; it doesn't make any difference.
And so we put a layer of this delicious marmalade into the shell.
And then we cover it with raw apple slices, because we want it to come out with a decoration.
And so these are plain, raw apple slices.
And if you have lots of time and are terribly artistic, you can make a perfectly beautiful pattern with it.
And these are just laid on top of the marmalade.
In France, an apple puree is always called a marmelade, which makes it sound much better than applesauce, I think.
I started on the outside.
You could start any way you like.
That isn't a whole one.
When you're doing the sauce... the apples for your marmalade, you keep out the most beautiful slices for your decoration.
Now, you could start in the middle if you wanted and come out, which might even be better.
I'm just putting some now in the middle to make more of a... to make some kind of a central decoration.
I can put two crossed apples on the top there.
I have one in the oven, which we'll see which comes out.
And I don't think I put the slices close enough together.
They shrank up a little tiny bit, as you will see.
Now, this now goes into a 375-degree oven for 30 minutes.
So here it goes into the oven.
And while I'm here, our pastry shell is just about baked, -so I'll take it out so you can see it.
-(bell dings) Yes, there went the bell.
That was good timing.
Here we are, all as hot as Tophet.
And there comes off our pan.
Now, this is something I wanted you to see.
Now, you see that pastry has sunk down a little bit there, but never fear.
Take a spatula, and it's still soft enough so that you can push it up.
And it's going to bake three or four minutes more, and so you bake it long enough just so that the pastry has set.
I mean, just so the pastry's had its shape, but it's still soft enough so that you can push it up.
And then if by any chance you'd had some cracks or something, you've saved your extra pastry dough here.
Say that you felt that this had sunk down and was much too thin; you can take in your little piece of extra pastry dough and just patch it there.
So, in other words, all is not lost no matter what happens, because you can always do something to it.
And then even keep out the pastry dough, and after you've done some more baking of the shell, something else might have cracked and you can always repatch it because it's going to bake again.
I will now take out our ready tart, so you see how that is.
Well, this... now, I forgot to tell you, a very important thing is this now has to bake three or four minutes more so that it will really set and be slightly crusty, so that you want to be sure and prick the bottom again because now there's nothing to hold it down in the oven.
And so it bakes again at 425 for three or four minutes.
I won't put it in now, but that's what you would do to it, and then it would be all ready and just like the other tart shell that you saw.
And so now we have a ready tart, which is now going to be glazed with apricot glaze.
And this is the same apricot jam pushed through a sieve and then boiled down until it is... is rather thick and sticky... and ready to paint the top of our tart with.
So you see that's sticky and clear, and you have to use it when it's warm.
And if you don't use it all, you can always put it back in the jar and just heat it up again the next time you want to make a tart.
If you're doing French tarts, you're always using apricot glaze all the time.
And in cakes, too.
And it not only has a lovely effect, but it has a delicious taste.
See, I'm painting a bit of the top of the shell, just to make everything glitter.
And then also paint all around the outside of the shell.
It just makes it look better.
But isn't it nice having a freestanding shell like this?
Because really it's so much prettier.
And now that's all ready to unmold and serve.
And you can serve these tarts either hot, warm or cold.
It doesn't make any difference.
And there you are.
You just take a spatula and just slip it off.
You're going to see when I serve it that this really makes such a much nicer... such a much nicer dessert than something that's in a pie shell.
We're ready to serve and you'll see how it looks.
There we are, tarte aux pommes classique.
And I'm going to cut a piece so you'll see how it looks.
Well, it cuts nicely through, so I think we have a good pie crust there.
And then if you'd like, you can serve a little lightly whipped cream flavored with possibly some Calvados or brandy and a little bit of powdered sugar.
And that makes a perfectly lovely little tart there.
So there you are.
Now, actually, some people, when they make their first French pie crust, think that the crust is so good, they can say, "Well, you can just leave out the apples, ma'am, I'll just take the crust because it's so delicious."
So that's all for today on The French Chef.
This is Julia Child.
♪ ♪ ANNOUNCER: Julia Child is coauthor of the book Mastering the Art of French Cooking.
Captioned by Media Access Group at WGBH access.wgbh.org