Rustic Apple Tart

OK, I confess.  I guess I should have called my blog “Pies and Tarts.”  I love to bake and nothing gets my creative juices bubbling like fresh fruit.  A flaky, buttery crust is a must.  Actually, I like the crust as much as the fruit filling. Don’t even think about a store-bought crust.  None of them can compare with what you can make in five minutes.

For dough:

2 ½ cups flour, plus more for rolling out dough

1 t salt

3 T sugar

14 T unsalted butter cut into ½ inch slices

4 T vegetable shortening

1 egg yolk

4 T + ice water

For apple filling:

8 Golden Delicious apples

2/3 cup sugar

3 T fresh lemon juice

1 t ground cinnamon

3 T unsalted butter cut into 1/2 –inch cubes

For glaze:

4 T apricot preserves

1 T Calvados

Optional:  Clotted Cream or vanilla ice cream

Place 2 ½ cups flour in bowl of food processor.  Add 1 t salt and 3 T sugar.  Pulse to mix.  Add butter and vegetable shortening. Pulse just enough to form a mixture that contains pea sized pieces of butter.  Add one egg yolk and pulse again just for two seconds. I have discovered that the addition of the egg yolk makes the dough easier to handle. Slowly pour 4 T ice water around mixture and pulse briefly. Continue to check consistency of dough, adding more waiter as necessary just until dough holds together when pressed between thumb and finger.  It should not look dry nor should it form a ball.  Getting it just right may take a little practice but this is the all-important step.

Empty bowl onto a lightly floured marble slab or a double wide sheet of plastic wrap and pat ball of dough together.  With the heel of your hand press dough outward starting at front end and continuing backwards, thereby further incorporating the fat and the flour.  Pat the dough together again, wrap and refrigerate for at least a half hour.

Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a 13 by 20-inch rectangle. (Yes, you’ll need a rolling pin longer than 12 inches.) Trim edges with a pizza cutter).  Roll dough up over pin to the extent you can pick it up and drape onto 12 by 13-inch baking sheet. Fold edge of dough over onto itself a half inch to form a rim. Prick with the tines of a fork. Bake in a 375 degree oven about 8 minutes or until dry but without color. Set aside.

Peel and core Golden Delicious apples.  Use a round corer to get uniform slices, cut apples in half vertically and then slice each half into 1/8- slices.  Either fan out each set of slices , arrange on dough, and sprinkle with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and butter bits OR shake slices in a bowl with sugar,  lemon juice, cinnamon and butter bits and arrange on dough in overlapping rows.  Bake in 375 degree oven about 30 minutes or until apples have crisp lightly browned edges and are soft.

Heat 4 oz. apricot preserves in a small pan until melted.  Add 1 T Calvados or enough to make a syrupy glaze.  Strain and brush on tart.  Serve with clotted cream  (see recipe for Scones with Clotted Cream posted 3/4/10)  or vanilla ice cream. Enjoy!

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