Got those apple tarts made and baked off (the little one finally recovered and went to day care today). The results were good. Slicing the apples very, very thin makes for a better presentation, giving the surface a very nice scalloped effect. I used a 6-inch cutter for mine which is plenty big. Anything more in my opinion would make for a rather intimidating presentation, especially with ice cream and a big glass of Sauternes. Which way to the couch?
If I had to criticize (and I guess I really don’t, but I will) I’d say the tart is a bit monotonous looking with that large area of apple staring at you, pretty as the overlapping layers may be. When I make it again I’ll probably leave the skin on the apples for starters. Then maybe a more unusual garnish like dates, figs, or whole walnut halves. A dollop of honey-sweetened goat cheese might make a more interesting alternative to the ice cream, or maybe even something like this, which would have the added virtue of color.
Then again, I wouldn’t want to ruin the dessert’s elegant simplicity by adding anything too bold. From a flavor standpoint there’s plenty of room to maneuver with just the given ingredients. Lots of subtle effects can be created by mixing and matching apples and honeys. A tart green granny smith was a terrific match for some of my own flowery, linden-heavy honey (yes, I keep bees. What, you think I don’t have a life outside this dump?). But I could also see a darker honey, though probably not as dark as full-on buckwheat, going well with a less-tart variety like a Gala or a Braeburn.
But whatever I do, one thing this recipe has taught me is the value of honey as a glaze. Not only does it make for a subtler sheen than the typical inch-thick layer of goop you see slathered on fruit tarts, it also brings a much greater depth of flavor to the presentation.