Yield: one 9-inch Tart
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into small pieces
3 ounces cream cheese, cold
2-3 large apples (about 1 pound) such as Rome Beauty, Jonagold, Granny Smith, Pippin, Gala, Cortland, or Winesap
2-4 tablespoons brown sugar, depending on sweetness of apples
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted (optional)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
1/4 cup Apricot Glaze (see below)
Apricot Glaze (Makes about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup apricot preserves
2 tablespoons water or orange-flavored liqueur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F. Spray 9-10 inch tart pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Place flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of a food processor and pulse several times to combine. Add the butter, and pulse until pieces are the size of peas. Add the cream cheese, and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbles.
Turn out the dough onto a piece of plastic wrap; use the plastic to help bring the dough together into a ball. Flatten to form a disk, and wrap well with plastic. Chill the dough for at least 1 hour and up to 1 day before using.
On a large wooden cutting board (preferable to a stationary work space), roll out the pastry dough to a 12″ circle. (If the dough splits or becomes too soft to work with, transfer the board with the dough to the refrigerator and chill for 5 to 10 minutes.) Carefully transfer to tart pan. Cut excess dough from edges of pan.
Pierce the bottom of the dough with a fork and refrigerate for 10 minutes.
Peel, core, and quarter the apples, then slice them into 1/8” or smaller wedges (a mandolin works well here). In a medium bowl, gently toss the apple slices with the sugar and almond extract. Neatly arrange the slices, overlapping as you go, in two lengthwise rows in the tart shell. Sprinkle or tuck the almonds among the apples and dot the top of the tart with the butter.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown and apples have some color. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and set on a wire rack to cool to a warm temperature.
In a small pan, warm the Apricot Glaze then brush it over the top of the warm tart. Serve warm.
In a small saucepan, bring the preserves and water (or liqueur) to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, or until thickened. If the preserves contain large chunks of fruit, transfer the glaze to a blender or food processor and process until smooth. Strain the glaze through a mesh sieve into a small bowl, pressing the glaze with the back of a large spoon or rubber spatula to extract as much liquid as possible. Use while still warm.