A couple of weeks ago, I went apple picking in Hood River with my friend Adriana.
Long before we picked our buckets apples, we had grand plans for them. Adriana wanted to try her hand at apple butter for the first time. I was determined to make a simple and unsweetened rustic applesauce. There would be cakes and pies and galettes galore.
When I got home, I realized that I had picked a never-ending supply of apples. I successfully made (and canned) a batch of unsweetened chunky applesauce (and it was delicious). I made rosemary apple butter. I made butternut squash and apple soup (twice!).
After all of that, I still had apples.
I knew what I had to do with the rest of the apples — they needed to be baked into delicious treats — but I was a little hesitant. Truth be told, I’m a little terrified of baking desserts. It’s not that I don’t like dessert. On the contrary, I really, really like dessert. I just didn’t do a whole lot of baking in my younger years. You see, my sisters are the bakers in my family. I’m the cook. (I make Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner and they make all the pies. It’s tradition.)
All of that to say, I’m a little bit rusty in the baking department. It had been awhile since I’d made a proper tart dough, and I was a little bit nervous for how it would turn out. Thankfully, it turned out beautifully. It’s such a simple tart, and it really highlights the beauty of perfectly ripe apples. It’s simple, seasonal, and it might be my new favorite dessert. I’m not so sure what I was afraid of, but I’m glad I rolled up my sleeves and dove into a little seasonal baking.
I should do this more often.
- TART FILLING:
- 4 crisp apples (peeled, cored, and thinly sliced)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- TART DOUGH:
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1.5 cups all-purpose flour
- Pinch of salt
- 1/2 cup salted butter (1 stick), room temperature
- 1 egg
- In a small bowl, sift together the powdered sugar, flour, and salt.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Add the egg and dry ingredients, and beat until the mixture comes together as an evenly formed mass. Wrap dough in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (Dough can be made one day ahead of time.)
- Once the dough is chilled, roll dough into a thin circle (slightly larger than your tart pan). Working quickly, line the tart pan with the dough. Trim off any excess dough that hangs over the edges. Prick the bottom of the crust with a fork a few times.
- Toss apple slices with lemon juice, nutmeg, and half of the thyme. Working from the outside toward the center, lay the apple slices in the tart shell in a circular pattern, overlapping them slightly.
- Gently whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, and vanilla, until just combined. Pour the custard mixture over the apple slices. Sprinkle the rest of the thyme over the custard and apples.
- Bake tart at 375 F until the crust is golden and center is set, 30 to 40 minutes. (Note: if you find your crust is browning too quickly, cover the tart with aluminum foil for the duration of baking.) Allow the tart to cool before serving.
Adapted from Joanne Chen’s recipe on Gothamist.com