“Hi, my name is Chris, and I’ve been avoiding making anything with phyllo dough as I really don’t like working with it!” Hello Chris! No kidding, I really have been avoiding anything to do with this pastry/dough. I don’t know, something about all that butter in between sheets of feather light dough that seems to disintegrate as you separate layers, drying out, covering in damp towel etc. I wasn’t afraid of it, just couldn’t be bothered as there are such delightful other pastry doughs to work with – including my all time favorite – puff pastry.

But I’m doing a class at the LCBO at Bayview Village on July 6th (shameless self promotion, but it is my blog after all 🙂 ), and this dessert is featured. You know I always test at home – especially if it is a process that takes me out of my comfort zone, before I make something for public consumption (or viewing for that matter). So we were going out for dinner to our good friends house and I asked if they would mind being guinea pigs for this dessert. “Oink Oink” was my buddies reply (I hope that meant yes even though we know guinea pigs don’t say oink!). So I made it.

This is not an apple pie and in no way should be confused with an apple pie. It is a quintessential French Tart. Butter, Armagnac – I used Calvados, a flambé, caramelization – nothing apple pie about this. No cinnamon, no brown sugar – just buttery apple goodness with the right amount of alcohol burned into the apples. I made a couple of changes to this recipe from the saveur.com website based on comments I read. First off, change the temperature to 400f not as the recipe says – 425f. It’s just too hot and the phyllo will burn rather than turn golden brown. Even at 400f in my oven, I had to keep the top lightly covered with foil (after about 20 minutes) to avoid excessive burning. But that’s convection and I didn’t adjust the temperature down. I always always always, set the timer for 5 – 10 minutes less than the recommended time – always – and check progress. This gives you an opportunity to prevent browning or overcooking or burning or – well you get the idea. I used a 10″ springform, but will use a 9″ next time. Six apples didn’t seem to give me the depth I personally like in a tart/croustade/pie of this sort. 

10 tbsp. Churn 84, plus a little additional “butter” for greasing
1⁄2 cup plus 4 tsp. granulated sugar
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
6 sweet apples, Gala or Golden Delicious, peeled, cored, and cut into wedges
1⁄3 cup Armagnac, Calvados or some other brandy
8 sheets phyllo dough, defrosted

Melt 4 tbsp. Churn 84 in a medium sized pot over medium-high heat
Add 1⁄2 cup granulated sugar and salt – allow the sugar time to mix with the melted butter, add the apples; cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are slightly caramelized, about 20 minutes on medium high
Pull pan from heat – in all cases, for safety reasons, please turn the burner off, most especially if it is gas – and add the Armagnac, brandy or calvados – Grand Marnier would also have been a nice touch – and carefully ignite with a bbq lighter
Return to heat and cook until flames subside and liquid is reduced by half, about 3 minutes – let cool
Heat oven to 400°
Grease a 10″ springform pan with regular butter (please don’t use the Churn 84 for this purpose) and set aside
Melt the remaining Churn 84 in a small saucepan or microwave safe bowl, and keep warm
Unroll the phyllo sheets but keep covered with a damp towel
Lay 1 sheet of phyllo on a clean, dry work surface, brush with some melted butter and sprinkle with 1 tsp. granulated sugar and fit into the prepared pan, allowing corners of dough to hang over edges.
Repeat using 3 – 5 more sheets phyllo, laying each sheet at a bit of an angle turn from the last
Spread apples evenly over the dough – avoid putting any excess juice – close the excess edges over the apples in the pan
Cut remaining sheets of phyllo in quarters or sixths (depending if your pastry is square or rectangular), and, working with 1 piece at a time – brush with butter, pinch at the center and flip over, so that the corners are pulled together and facing up, place over top of tart and repeat with remaining pieces phyllo until top of tart is covered – okay the recipe says it’s supposed to look like flowers, mine clearly didn’t but I like to think of it as a flaming tart, there is just no right way to say it
Combine remaining butter and any juices left in the apple pot, drizzle this over the top
Bake until golden and crisp, about 25 – 30 minutes – it may take longer depending on your oven – if you find it browning too quickly on top, cover lightly with foil and leave for at least the minimum time, maybe a few minutes longer
Let the tart cool completely in the pan, then unmold and transfer to a serving platter
Serve at room temperature or warmed up, with ice cream on the side!
As always – enjoy!


An off the fire flambé – apples, butter, sugar and of course, the calvados! Intoxicating!



The Flaming Tart – Apple Croustade!

Pie 2a

Just the right size for me, before ice cream goes on the side!