Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Apple Tart

My parents have a small orchard between their house and the barn where they grow a handful of apples in different varieties as well as cherries, peaches, and pears.  This year the apple trees are so overloaded with fruit that the limbs are weighted down so heavily they are beginning to break.  When I took a trip to visit last weekend I brought a load of apples home and made them into apple pie filling that I canned.  A few days later my dad brought another load of apples for me.  So I made half a dozen into applesauce for the base of this tart and sliced four more for the beautiful spiral on top.  I have so many more apples left I'll be looking for recipes to try in the next few weeks.

tart shell:
1 cup flour
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon salt
3-4 tablespoons ice cold water

Use a pastry cutter to combine flour, salt, and shortening until mixture has pea-sized bits throughout.  Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of water over flour mixture and combine with a fork.  Add additional water until mixture begins to come together.  Gather dough with hands and form into a disc.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more.  Flour work surface and place cold dough on top.  Let rest 10 minutes if very cold, and then roll out thinly and line tart pan.  Trim edges.

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (found at williams-sonoma)
2 tablespoons sugar
6 tart apples
1/4 cup water

Peel, core, and roughly chop the apples.  Add all ingredients to a large saucepan and bring up to a boil. Turn to a low simmer and cook for 30-40 minutes or until apples have broken down.  Mash any lumps with your spatula or spoon.  Let cool completely.

To assemble:
4 medium apples, cored and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons sugar

Spread applesauce in prepared tart shell.  Smooth out and then arrange apple slices decoratively on top of applesauce.  Sprinkle sugar on top of apples and dab with butter.  Bake in a 350°F oven for 35-40 minutes.  Serve with ice cream.

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