At this precise moment in time, the following things are 100% true and undeniable:
I am sunburned which renders any itch on my arms or legs unscratchable. I am watching a soap opera with the grams and I am not ashamed. I had half a bagel for breakfast but all I can think about is having a second breakfast (such a thing exists, no?). And to top it off, I’m worrying about what everyone thought of this tart.
Making this choice was a lot less painful than I thought it was going to be (definitely less painful than this sunburn, ack). If there’s one thing that I’ve learned with my time as a part of the TWD gang, it’s that you can’t go wrong with baked apples and buttery tart dough.
Was I right in my assumption? Please say yes, I’d really love to not worry about this anymore :)
Making Dorie’s tart dough is so simple: toss everything into my food processor, give it some whirls and I’m done! The most taxing step in making the filling is peeling 5 apples (and I’ve gotten pretty darn efficient at that). From there just assemble it all and bake away! Serve a slice (or two, who’s counting?) with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream and you’re in business.
As a few of my dear TWD friends have pointed out, these really do resemble the apple pies you can get from McDonald’s. Now whether that’s a culinary stab to the great Dorie herself, I don’t know. But I DO know that if you love the cinnamon-y pies from the golden arches, you’ll love this pie as it is a dressy, grown up, flaky version that makes you swoon.
A Tourtely Apple Tart
Tourte is the French term for a covered tart, and it wasn’t until after I created this sweet that I realized that I had created a tourte. What I had in mind when I went into the kitchen to start baking was a slimmed-down apple pie, something not quite so generous as the all-American favorite, not so high, not so fully packed and not so rustic looking. What I ended up with was a trim, sleek but still come-hithery double-crusted tart with the warmth and appeal of an applesauce cookie. The crust is made from almond sugar cookie dough and, if it were cooked down just a tad longer, the filling, which is spiced, spiked with cider and smoothed with browned butter, could be grandmother’s best applesauce.
A double recipe of Sweet Tart Dough with Nuts (recipe below)
For The Filling
2 pounds (about 5 medium) tart-sweet apples, peeled, cored and cut into 2-inch chunks
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2tablespoons apple cider, apple juice, or water
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup ground almonds
¼ moist, plump raisins (dark or golden, optional)
Pinch of ground cinnamon, freshly grated nutmeg, allspice and/or salt (optional)
To Make The Crust: Butter a 9-inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom. Divide the almond tart dough in half. Wrap one half and refrigerate it. Press the remaining soft dough over the bottom and up the sides of the tart pan, allowing the dough to extend just a bit above the rim. Butter a piece of aluminum foil and press it, buttered side down, lightly against the crust. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
When the second packet of dough is chilled enough to roll, place it between two sheets of wax paper or plastic wrap and roll it into a circle that is between 1/8 and ¼ inch thick. Using a pot lid as a guide, cut the dough into a 10-inch circle. Use the wide end of a piping tip or sharp knife to cut a small circle (a steam vent) out of the center. Slide the dough onto a cutting board or a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.
To Bake The Crust: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat. Fill the foil-covered crust with dried beans, rice or pie weights and bake for 20 minutes. Remove the foil and weights and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until just lightly browned. Transfer the tart pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
To Make The Filling: Put the apples, brown sugar, cider and nutmeg in a medium saucepan over medium heat, cover and bring to a boil. Check the heat — you want the mixture to stay at a medium bubble – and continue to cook, still covered, for about 10 minutes, or until the apples are so soft you can almost, but not quite, mash them with the back of a spoon. While they’re cooking, stay close by – the mixture has a tendency to boil over. Remove the cover and, stirring constantly, cook until the liquid evaporates, about 5 minutes more. Scrape the filling into a bowl, and wipe out the pan.
Put the butter in the pan and set the pan over medium-high heat. Cook until the butter boils and turns a deep golden brown. Don’t walk away – the time between brown and burned is quick. When the butter is brown and smells nutty, stir it into the apples, along with the vanilla, almonds and raisins, if you’re using them. Taste the applesauce and decide if you want to add the additional spices and/or salt. Press a piece of plastic wrao against the surface of the applesauce and cool. (The applesauce can be made up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated.)
Getting Ready To Bake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the over to 425 degrees F. Place the tart pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Fill the crust with the applesauce and smooth the surface. Lightly moisten the edges of the crust with water and place the chilled top crust over the tart. If the top crust is very cold and therefore a little brittle, let it stand at room temperature for about 5 minutes before proceeding. When the crust is still cold but pliable, run a rolling pin over the top crust to seal the tart; trim off the excess dough.
Bake the tart for 20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and cover the tart loosely with a foil tent. Continue to bake for another 20 to 25 minutes (total baking time 40 to 45 minutes), or until the crust is golden. Transfer the tart to a rack and cool until just warm or at room temperature before serving.
Makes 6 to 8 servings
Serving: This is a winner topped with crème fraîche or plain vanilla ice cream.
Storing: Tarts are best served the day they are made, but this one is good served chilled the next day.
Sweet Tart Dough With Nuts:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup finely ground almonds (or walnuts, pecans, or pistachios)
1/2 cup confectioner’s sugar (powdered sugar)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick plus 1 tablespoon (9 tablespoons) very cold (or frozen) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg yolk
Put the flour, ground nuts, confectioners’ sugar and salt in a food processor and pulse a couple of times to combine.
Scatter the pieces of butter over the dry ingredients and pulse until the butter is coarsely cut in — you should have some pieces the size of oatmeal flakes and some the size of peas.
Stir the yolk, just to break it up, and add it a little at a time, pulsing after each addition. When the egg is in, process in long pulses — about 10 seconds each — until the dough, whisk will look granular soon after the egg is added, forms clumps and curds.
Just before you reach this stage, the sound of the machine working the dough will change — heads up.
Turn the dough out onto a work surface and , very lightly and sparingly, knead the dough just to incorporate any dry ingredients that might have escaped mixing.
For many more versions and beautiful pictures of this tart, head on over to the TWD bakers page.
Thank you all for baking along with me!!