Thursday, February 25, 2010

Simplest Apple Tart

The pictures of this recipe just called to me -- flaky crisp tart dough, tender baked apples, crunchy sugar -- so pretty and tasty looking! I ended up making it for a family gathering last fall so I wouldn't eat it all myself.

Simplest Apple Tart
from Alice Waters via Smitten Kitchen


  • 1 c unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 6 T (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 T chilled water

  • 2 lbs baking apples, peeled, cored, and sliced (save peels and cores)
  • 2 T unsalted butter, melted
  • 2-4 T sugar

  • 1/2 c sugar

  1. Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
  2. Dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropey with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon of water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball.
  3. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
  4. Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to make a free-form galette. Heat oven to 400 degrees. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)
  5. Overlap apples on dough in a ring two inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.
  6. Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle with sugar.
  7. Bake in center of oven about 45 minutes, or until apples are soft with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown, making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
  8. In the meantime, make the glaze. Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.
  9. Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
  10. Brush glaze over tart, slice, and serve.

Comments & Modifications:
  • Lacking a tart pan, I went for the free-form galette.
  • I had some trouble with the dough, as usual. It was a bit sticky, but also seemed to crack in the oven, causing the apple juices to leak all over the pan in a big sticky mess. It took several washes to get it clean.
  • Since I was making this for the next day, I opted to skip the glaze. We also warmed it slightly in the oven before serving.
  • The picture makes it look like this serves a lot, but I say 6 to 8 servings.

Verdict: Even without the glaze I thought this was fantastic! Someday when I've had more practice with crusts I'll try this again.

Blueberry Buckle

Well, so much for that whole "post every day during November" thing. I look back at that last post and it's like I just gave up! Which I think is pretty much what happened; once I missed the first day, it was like, what's the point?

Anyways, to motivate myself to post I decided to start in the dessert section, otherwise known as the best and yummiest section.

I tried out this recipe late last summer, with a large container of very sour blueberries from Wegmans. Not wanting to eat them plain, I needed to find a tasty way to get rid of them, and settled on this recipe suggestion from my coworker.

Blueberry Buckle
from the Food Network

  • 9 oz cake flour, approximately 2 cups
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 5 1/4 oz sugar, approximately 3/4 cup
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 15 oz fresh whole blueberries, approximately 3 cups
  • 3 1/2 oz sugar, approximately 1/2 cup
  • 1 1/2 oz cake flour, approximately 1/3 cup
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 2 oz unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9x9 glass baking dish with nonstick spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and ground ginger. Set aside.
  3. Beat together the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, approximately 1 minute. Add the egg and beat until well incorporated, approximately 30 seconds. Add the flour mixture and milk in thirds, alternating, beating until just incorporated. Gently stir in the blueberries and pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  4. In a small bowl combine the sugar, flour and nutmeg. Add the butter and work into the dry ingredients using a fork to combine. Continue until the mixture has a crumb-like texture. Sprinkle the mixture on top of the cake. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for 35 minutes or until golden in color. Cool for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Comments & Modifications:
  • Can't say I remember any, which isn't too surprising given that I made this almost a year ago.

Verdict: This was substantial and tasty. I doubled the recipe and baked it in a 9x13 dish, and it made a TON of cake. We brought this to a college reunion with about 10 people, and there was still leftovers at the end of the weekend! While it's not particularly special, it is yummy and filling, and I'd definitely make it again.