An Apple a Day…

It’s that time of year, bring on the apples!

apple-on-tree

Feeling creative? Bring that fresh picked delight to your kitchen and brainstorm ways to incorporate it into your go-to salad, perhaps a tiny dice whisked into a vinaigrette, or feeling really adventurous? How about a Crabmeat, Apple, and Mango Salad? Looking for a heartier dish, something to bring to the table that can sit center stage next to a perfectly prepared pork chop, try this Apple, Potato, and Onion Gratin.

But let’s face it…our first instinct is dessert! And call it what you want, Apple Pie, Tart, Tarte Tartin, Cobbler, Crostata…they all bring comfort and scrumptiousness to any day.

Creating such a dessert might seem intimidating, making the perfect dough, rolling it to just the right thickness, then do you go with a more rustic presentation allowing the beautiful filling to shine on it’s own or use that extra touch of arranging the meticulously thin slices just-so for a classic look. Don’t stress! Food, especially dessert is meant to be enjoyed and to make you feel good. Take the time to play in the kitchen and I can think of no better recipe to relax and have fun with than whatever your version of pie is.

My play day featured an Apple and Cranberry Tart. With all my ingredients gathered and my mind set on just that creation I was a little disappointed to find my official “tart” pan has not arrived from California yet (How was that not in the priority boxes?). Nonetheless, a “tart” was made. Using a spectacularly simple recipe recently learned at FCI, except I added a my own twist by tossing in a handful of cranberries, my dessert was a success.

apple-tart

Still want to roll that perfect thickness of dough? Get yourself an Adjustable Rolling Pin from JosephJoseph, I love mine.


JosephJoseph rolling pin

Apple Tart

Crust~
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup (1 stick) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1/4 cup (or more) ice water

Filling~amounts determined by the size of your pan
3-5 apples (Granny Smith)
1-4 Tablespoons of water
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 lemon

1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)

Finish~
2-3 apples (Golden Delicious)
1/2 lemon

2 tablespoons butter, melted

For crust~

Blend flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder in processor. Add butter; pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add 1/4 cup ice water to processor and pulse until moist clumps form, sprinkle with more ice water if mixture is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill at least 1 hour.

Roll out dough on floured work surface to approximately 3 inches larger than your tart pan, about 1/8” thick. Brush off excess flour and transfer to pan. Gently fill in the corners of the pan with the dough and create a side edge about 1/4-1/2” above pan walls or to desired finish. Chill crust while preparing filling.

For Filling~

Peel, core and chop the apples into 1” cubes. (Rub the apple with sliced lemon if necessary while cutting to prevent browning.) Combine the apples, water and sugar in a pan over medium high heat. Cover the pan with a parchment paper lid cut to the size of the pan with a whole in the middle. Cook the apples, stirring occasionally, until soft and resembling chunky applesauce. Add more water if needed throughout cooking. If adding the dried cranberries do so in the last minute of cooking, stirring in the berries allowing them to absorb some of the juices. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

For Finish~
Preheat oven to 350° F. Pour filling into prepared crust, spreading to form an even surface filling to 3/4 full. Peel, core and thinly slice the topping apples to desired thickness either by hand or with a mandolin for precise consistency. (Rub the apple with sliced lemon if necessary while cutting to prevent browning.) Carefully arrange the apple slices covering the filling completely since the slices will shrink slightly during baking. Brush the apples with the melted butter.
Bake for about an hour. The apples should be soft and browned slightly on the edges.
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