Sunday, October 9, 2011

Who you callin a Tart? That's Apple to you!

Not perfect, its country yall.
This dish began where all dishes should, at the farm. Healthy boyfriend and I spent rather blustery Saturday afternoon at Grandad's Farm, in Hendersonville, NC. First thing healthy boyfriend did was purchase a piping cup of cider, which made walking around the farm much more enjoyable.
First a trip To Grandad's Farm
The intention was to go apple picking, but we soon saw most of the apples had been picked. We found many that had fallen to the ground, and ended up picking through the giant wooden crates that held apples of different varieties. I never knew how many types of apples North Carolina had. I've been seriously missing out on some delicious apples. I ended up buying a peck, which in layman's terms is a whole shit-ton of apples for two people. It was 22 apples precisely, for only $8 bucks. SA-WEET.
On the hunt
Is there anything better than apple picking followed by a sweet flaky homemade tart? If only I'd had time for a romp in the hay........I joke (sorta).
So many apples have fallen
I heart clouds
It's my APPLE CHART! From Left: Cameo, Stayman, Wine Sap, Mutsu, and Jana Gold
Everyone should make this dessert. The simplicity of the ingredients really helps the apple shine through. The pastry crust is flaky and a perfect "plate" for the apples to be shown off on. Trying to find the perfect apple tart recipe was tricky, so I combined two of the best ones I read. I used the crust from Orangette Blog, and used Jaques Pepin's way of preparing the apples. Recently I've been reading a lot of his book, Jaques Pepin's Table. He is so french and adorable, and his recipes are simply stunning. I have no doubt this is not my last apple tart, and I'm eager to try a variation or two.

Clearly the tart did not come out perfect looking, but the taste was exceptional. This was a dish I honestly couldn't believe I made. It tasted like something I would buy at a fancy bakery. Sure it took some time, but nothing was terribly complicated and it was, INCREDIBLE. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think I like this better than apple pie. You really taste apple, and the crust is a part of the dish, but doesn't take over as in some apple pies. I still have apples left, so I'm sure there will be more apples dishes to come.

I did not get a chance to make the whipped cream, so it's not pictured. I'm sure it is delicious, I've had whip cream on a foot and it tasted delicious. Ok, not really. Point is, whipped creme makes everything better. 

There is no better time to make this recipe. Apples are season. Happiness is in season. Go pick some apples, find some happiness and get tartin! (I know I know, not a word)

Country Apple Tart
I miss you already...
The Goods: Serves 6-8

Tart Dough:
1 1/2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp ice water
9 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
3/4 tablespoon salt

Apple Filling:
4 large golden delicious apples (1 3/4 pound) I used Stayman and Mutsu
1 tablespoon honey
4ish tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Heavy Cream for whipped cream
Drizzle of honey

The Deal:
1. In a food processor combine flour, sugar and salt and pulse to blend. Add butter, and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal; there should be no pieces of butter bigger than large peas. With the motor running slowly add the water, just until the dough begins to come together, about 10 seconds. If your down doesn't come together, add water, one tablespoon at a time, until it does.
Dough that is ready to be molded
2. Place dough on a wooden board or clean counter top, pressing the dough until it forms a ball. Press into disc about 1 1/2 inches thick. Pinch cracks together with your fingers, and then tightly wrap the dough in plastic wrap. Press it once more, massaging out any cracks, using the plastic wrap to help you form it into a smooth disc. Refrigerate the wrapped dough for at least 2 hours.
Disc with cracks
Smooth Disc, labeled and ready to chill
At this point the dough can be refrigerated for up to 4 days or frozen for 1 month. Thaw in refrigerator overnight before using.

3. Prepare your apples: peel, halve and core your apples. Arrange them cut side down on a cutting board and slice crosswise into 1/4 inch slices. Allow dough to soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
I used a tablespoon to scoop out the cores.
4. Preheat oven to 375, being sure your oven rack is in the middle position. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough into a rectangle measuring approximately 11 by 16 inches. Transfer dough to a cookie sheet.
Next time I'll smooth out my edges.
5. Arrange apples over the pastry in 5 rows, leaving a one inch border, overlapping them like solitaire cards. Mix cinnamon and sugar together in a small bowl. Drizzle honey over the tart, then sprinkle the sugar honey mixture evenly over the tart. Dot with one tablespoon of butter.
I only fit four rows
6. Fold the edges of the pastry over the apples to create the one inch border. Bake tart until the pastry is crisp and the apples are tender, about 35-45 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool on the pan.
It's a tart! It's a tart! 
7. Cut into 8-10 slices and serve luke warm or room temperature with honey sweetened fresh whip cream. Yum!
Do not eat this by yourself. Tarts are for SHARING. 

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