Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Tale of Two Tarts

Let's begin at the start of these tarts, which was for me, an apple picking adventure to Ayers Orchard in Cana, VA, the closest orchard I could find. Apple picking is THE quintessential fall tradition in my book, and I convinced 2 carloads of friends to drive 2 hours (plus) to humor me in my stubborn adherence to it. After being led on a wild goose chase by the Australian woman in the GPS, we stopped at a country gas station, where we got directions ("up the hill, down the hill, up the hill, and down the hill") to "his mama's house" from whence we were told to take "all lefts except for the right" to the orchard warehouse, where we were drawn a puzzling "map" by the orcardist, we FINALLY found the grove, enjoyed a lovely picnic, and picked a bushel each of Fujis and Arkansas Blacks.
Stuffed my spoils in my (mama's) shirt
Back home on the Piedmont, I turned these apples into butter, grilled-cheese apple sandwiches, daily snacks, and tarts. For the first I used this recipe from Alice Waters/Smitten Kitchen.   It calls for a food processor-mixed pastry, of which I was skeptical, but I had heard a lot of advocates of this practice, so I decided to give it a try. The dough came together easier than by hand, and the whole tart looked rather nice with its spiraled delicate apple slices, but I just don't think there's any comparison to pastry dough mixed by hand. The butter stays chunkier and melts less, making it so much flakier. It was still a tasty treat, and Neale and James came over to enjoy.
Neale and James in the TEZ
For the second tart, I decided to go with what I know--the standard crust recipe, and the apple butter my friend Lora and I had just made and canned. Plus Miss Lapidus was visiting. We opted for the rustic tart, being the rustic tarts that we are. Here's the approximate recipe we used:   Simple Rustic Apple Tart

Nothing-in-the-House pie crust (at right), using all-purpose flour
2 lbs. apples (we used Arkansas Blacks)
5 Tblsp. sugar: white and turbinado mixture
1/2 c. homemade apple butter
1 Tblsp. lemon juice

1. Make pie crust and once chilled, roll out in 10-in circle. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  2. Core and cut apples into delicate thin slices. Toss apples with lemon juice and 3 Tblsp. sugar.  3. Brush apple butter onto pastry dough and arrange apples on top of the apple butter in concentric spiraling circles. Fold crust over edges. Sprinkle 2 Tblsp. sugar over top of apples and crust.  4. Bake for 35-45 minutes on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Enjoy!
You are what you eat: rustic tart for a rustic tart
In other news, I look forward to seeing what pies our Nothing-In-The-House correspondents will make for Thanksgiving, the #1 biggest pie day of the year!

1 comment:

Chocoluv said...

i am SO with you on the whole hand mixed crust method!

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