Free-Form Apple Tart

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1 recipe Tart Pastry (see below), wrapped in plastic and chilled at least one hour

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

1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract

1/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

3 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and cut into small pieces

1/4 cup Apricot Glaze (see below)

1 1/4 cups flour

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into very small pieces and chilled

1-3 tablespoons ice water (or as needed)

1/2 cup apricot preserves

2 tablespoons water or orange-flavored liqueur such as Cointreau or Triple Sec

I was making something similar to this all winter. OK, i cheated a little and I used puff pastry--but it made such an easy dessert to whip up when friends came over--I could even make the whole thing after dinner!

I also use my favourite kitchen tool--my mandoline to get even slices!

The topping is so good--I have it pre-mixed in a jar in my cupboard, so I can do it any time:

6 tbsp white sugar

2 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground allspice

1 tsp ground coriander

mix together and sprinkle generously over the apples. Bake at 400F for 20 mins or so--just watch until pastry starts to brown and the topping starts to melt a little on the edges.

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