At farmers markets each fall, tables are full of apples not ordinarily found in supermarkets. It’s an adventure looking at them and asking whether they’re crisp, tart or sweet, and best suited for cooking or eating out of hand. These recipes use fall apples for a lively salad and one of the most popular restaurant desserts, a simple apple tart. I prefer tart apples, and once the fall bounty is past, Granny Smith apples substitute nicely. If you like sweet apples, slightly decrease the sugar in the recipes.
The Simplest Apple Tart
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Set aside a large greased baking sheet.
On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry in a 13-inch square, as thin as possible, about 1/16-inch thick. Use a 6-inch plate to outline 4 circles on the pastry, then cut them out. Transfer them to the baking sheet in a single layer.
Arrange a tight circle of slices from each apple half on each pastry round. Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small dish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of the mixture evenly over each tart. Dot each evenly with 3/4 teaspoon of butter. (This can be prepared up to 6 hours in advance and refrigerated or frozen up to 1 week, wrapped airtight.)
Bake the tarts until browned around the edges, about 15 to 18 minutes. Use a metal spatula to transfer them to dessert plates. Serve immediately with small scoops of ice cream placed in the center.