I’d like to introduce Diane, guest blogging with a recipe I plan to try this very Thanksgiving!
It’s that time of year again. Fall–my favorite season. No matter how hard I try, I just can’t resist comfort food. I suppose it’s my body telling me I need to store fat for the long, cold winter. (At least that’s my excuse.) And, no surprise, what better reason is there but to make use of the Fuji apples from Eric Kincaid’s family orchard, which he so thoughtfully gifted. And, since Jennifer invited me, and I love to bake, I thought it might be a great reason to share a recipe and try my hand at writing something for her.
I decided to make apple tarts using with a recipe I used when I was the pastry chef at Just A Taste restaurant, back in the 1990’s, then owned by Sandy Dimmick. It was a favorite of the patrons and became a regular item on the fall dessert menu. It was inspired by Lionel Poilȃne, a well-known baker in France and entitled, Tartelettes Aux Pommes Lionel Poilȃne (Lionel Poilȃne’s Apple Tarts). I only have the adapted recipe and do not know the name of the book where it appeared, or its author. I have also added my own touch with the addition of the cinnamon to the apple filling. The recipe may be doubled also.
The recipe starts by making the pastry dough so it can be chilled while preparing the rest of the recipe. It calls for quite a lot of butter, but that is so the crust does not become soggy from absorbing the liquid from the apples. Those French—they know all the tricks!
1 to 1 ¼ cups of all-purpose flour
7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 teaspoons sugar
⅛ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons ice water
Place the flour, sugar and salt in the bowl of a food processor and process just until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add the ice water and pulse until the pastry begins to hold together, about 6 to 8 times. Do not let it form a ball, or it will be over worked. Transfer the pastry to a piece of plastic wrap, flatten the dough and shape into a disk. Wrap and refrigerate the dough for about an hour.
Remove from the refrigerator and divide the dough into quarters. On a slightly floured surface, roll each quarter into a round about 6 inches in diameter. Place the circles on a baking sheet and refrigerate until ready to bake. I lined the pan with parchment for ease in clean-up.
While the tart shells are chilling, prepare the filling.
4 tart and firm apples (Granny Smith or Fuji)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup granulated sugar
¼ – ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon light brown sugar (or more, if needed)
Start by peeling and cutting the apple into quarters. Core each section and slice into thirds to form uniform slices.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium-high heat. When it is hot but not smoking, add the apples and sprinkle the granulated sugar and cinnamon over the apples.
Sauté the apples, turning occasionally by coating the apples with the sauce, until lightly browned. The butter and sugar will bubble and begin to caramelize. The whole process will take about 15 minutes.
After the apples are cooked, remove the pastry rounds from the refrigerator. Spoon the apples onto the center of each of round.
These tarts are yummy when served warm. I like to add a dollop of French vanilla ice cream on the side.
Yield: 4 individual apple tarts.