Apple Tart

Well, there is nothing like a hurricane to give you an incentive to cook something. For those of you who have somehow not heard, the East Coast is experiencing a bit of bad weather. Many students across the Northeast are rejoicing tonight as schools and universities have announced closures for the second day in a row. Since most of my friends and I have strategically avoided Friday classes, this has given us a much-need five day weekend to catch up on sleep and homework–or, in my case, cooking. I just really hope this clears up so kids can go trick-or-treating on Halloween!

About a week ago, I went apple and pumpkin picking with my friends West and Amanda.

Surveying our options

I love pretty much everything about fall, but the one thing I love most is escaping the city for a day and going apple and/or pumpkin picking. This is incredibly ironic as the thought of camping gives me hives. But picking my own produce? Totally down with that. West grew up on a farm, and I like to think that Amanda and I amused him with our extreme excitement at all things nature-related. Like most city-folk who venture to a farm, Amanda and I came home with roughly 6½-lbs of apples each. I haven’t had a chance to make anything with them until now, however, as assignments have kept me out of the kitchen. Nothing like a hurricane to return one’s cooking-mojo.

This is my go-to apple galette/tart recipe. I’ve been making it for nearly eight years, and no other recipe has been able to trump it. The crust is flaky and quickly assembled. The filling is easily adaptable to what one has on hand. The tart itself is not very sweet–making it the perfect vehicle for some coffee or vanilla ice cream. So, if you still have power and are stuck indoors during a hurricane with a ton of apples, I suggest betaking your stir-crazy self to the kitchen. Happy eating, and I hope everyone in the Northeast stays safe and dry!

Apple Tart
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma. While I think W-S’s pastry is spot-on, I always change up the filling–that’s the beauty of baked fruit desserts. The instructions below are for my normal tart. For the version of which I am posting pictures, I swapped the juice for some of the white wine I was drinking (Hey, don’t shake your head at me! What else do you do in a hurricane?!) and threw in ½ tablespoon of maple syrup.

Ingredients:

For the pastry:

  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 stick butter, cut into small pieces
  • 6-7 tablespoons ice water

For the filling:

  • 3 lbs apples
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cloves
  • Juice of one lemon (zest optional)
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar (adjust based on the sweetness of your apples)
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into small small pieces

Directions

  • First make your pastry:

    In a medium bowl, combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir to combine.

    Add in the pieces of butter. Using a pastry blender or knife, cut the butter into the flour until it resembles coarse cornmeal with pea-sized pieces of butter remaining.

    Add your water, one tablespoon at a time, stirring between each addition. Stop adding the water once a shaggy mass has formed. I generally need 6 tablespoons, but it really depends on the humidity at the moment.
    Transfer to a large piece of aluminum foil. Shape into a flattened disk, wrap in the foil, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours (yes, you can be lazy and freeze if for half an hour, but the baking gods will hold it against you).

  • While the dough chills, make your filling:

    Fill a large bowl with cold water. Add half your lemon juice. This is to preserve the apples while you prep them.

    Peel, core, and slice the apples into ½-inch wedges or ¼-inch slices. Place the pieces in the water-lemon solution as you work so they don’t oxidize and turn brown.
    Once your apples are prepared, drain them. Them, transfer back to your now dry bowl.

    Add the cinnamon, cloves, juice (or wine), and sugar. Stir to combine and taste. Add more sugar if needed.

    Once the apples are seasoned to suit your taste, add the flour and toss to coat.

  • Now for assembly:

    Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Butter the parchment.

    Remove the dough from the refrigerator and place on a floured surface. If making one tart, roll into one, 14-inch circle. For two tarts, divide the dough in half and roll each half into a 9-inch circle.

    Transfer the dough circle(s) to the prepared baking sheet. If making two tarts, I suggest starting with one half, assembling it, then adding the second. Makes life easier.

    Add your apples to the center of your dough circle, leaving a 2- to 3-inch border. If you have a lot of excess liquid (like ½ cup), only spoon 2 tablespoons in with the apples. I sometimes reduce the rest in a small pan with a little butter and effectively make an “apple butter” of sorts. I top the tarts with this midway through cooking. This is totally unnecessary, but it makes me feel better about wasting that flavorful liquid.

    Fold the dough up around the apples, leaving the center open. Dot the center with the remaining pieces of butter.

    Sprinkle with some sugar, then transfer to your preheated oven.

  • Bake for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 more minutes, until the apples are bubbling.
  • Cool 10 minutes before serving.

Serves 8.

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