Apple TartPosted: 4 October 2011
I spent a few hours this past weekend in my sister’s back yard, picking apples from her giant, amazing, fabulous apple tree. The result is about a billion delicious Haralson apples that must be used in any way possible. Haralsons are a lot like a Honeycrisp apple, the best apple ever invented. They’re juicy, crunchy and sweetly tart. Not as tart as a Granny Smith of course, but just enough for a perfect eating apple. Given that the tree is older than Honeycrisp apples are, it’s likely the best apple tree that could have been planted at the time. PS both Haralsons and Honeycrisps were invented in Minnesota. Yes, invented. They’re specific hybrids that have awesome flavor and crispness. Woot.
I have no problem eating those apples. Or picking them. Or trying to come up with 14 different recipes to use them in. The good news is, these awesome apples are perfect for not only eating raw, but also for baking up a storm. You really don’t have to tell me twice. I figured I’d start off the applepalooza with an easy apple tart. Partially because I’m in love with my tart pan. Partially because I love apples covered in sweet goo. I covered all my bases.
Generally I’m not a giant fan of traditional apple pie. During Thanksgiving I’d much rather have pumpkin. Or cherry. Or pecan. But I really do love those gooey, sweet apples. And, because I’m not crazy, I adore the combination of vanilla ice cream on top of apple pie. At all times ice cream should be served with this tart.
If you don’t have a tart pan you can use a shallow pie plate. However, a tart pan is totally worth the $9.00 investment. I bought a super fancy German one and it was $12.00. I know. If only fancy shoes could be bought for $12.00 my life would be complete.
When I peeled the apples for this pie I was using a really poor potato peeler. I later located my ancient and useful potato peeler but it still took me a while to peel enough apples for the filling. In order to keep the apples from turning brown, cut a lemon in half. Immediately after peeling each apple, rub the entire fruit with the halved lemon. This will keep the apple from browning before you can get to slicing and baking.
for the crust
1 1/3 cups flour
1/2 cup lard
1 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons cold water
Mix all ingredients together with a pastry cutter or fork. Try to use slightly chilled lard or butter as this provides a better texture to the crust and makes it easier to roll out. Roll the crust out into a 12 inch round and place in a greased tart pan. Save the excess to make a decorative topper to your tart.
Place a round of parchment paper in your crust shell and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake the crust for 15 minutes at 375º.
for the filling
5 medium sized apples
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1/2 of a lemon
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon all spice
Peel the apples. To keep them from turning brown, rub half of a large lemon over the exposed flesh. Keep them peeled, but whole until you’re ready to slice all of them and prepare the filling.
Slice the apples and toss with 2 tablespoons of vinegar in a 9×13 baking pan. Add the sugars, salt, cinnamon, cloves, all spice and corn starch to the pan. Toss the apples so they’re well-coated.
Pour in the melted butter and stir. Bake the filling for 30 minutes at 350º until the apples are just starting to become tender.
assemble the tart
Pour the filling into the tart shell. Make sure to do this on an even surface so you don’t break your shell. Fill the tart until it’s about 1/8th of an inch from the top of the crust. Do not fill completely or it will overflow.
Using the leftover crust, cut out a decorative apple or any shape you want for the top.
Bake at 350º for 35-40 minutes. The crust should be starting to look golden. The filling should be bubbling and increased in volume. The apples may have small bits of caramelizing on the edges.
Let cool for an hour before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
**Since I have a billion apples remaining, what’s your favorite apple-based recipe?**