Sunday, October 4, 2009
Fall Apple Tarts
My generous neighbor has an orchard. We call him "Neighbor Darren". He lives off a windy little country driveway and his personal orchard is very happily situated off to the left. His orchard is comprised of apple trees, pear and peach trees and a fence surrounds them. If you can imagine picking apples on a crisp and sunny autumn afternoon in a quiet place where the only sound is the wind rustling the leaves on trees and the air smells of Fall, then you have imagined a perfect afternoon. On many occassions, I have been invited to bring the kids and pick as much fruit as we can haul home. We bring the red wagon and I pull the kids down the road toward the orchard and their excitement builds. They get a kick out of the whole experience. It makes me feel good that they know where their food comes from, that its organic and that they can see their efforts contribute to the path from the earth to the table. On the way home, we snack on a couple. It's tradition!
This dessert is very simple and quick to make. Apples, cinnamon, sugar, pie crust. What makes it ideal for guests is that they each get their own. If you think the smell is good, wait until they see them! The tart dishes make adorable little apple pies all around! You will need a ready made pie crust and tart dishes. I used four.
My sister's birthday is in October. She came for a visit and I made her a happy birthday dinner. While dinner was in the oven, we took the kids and went over to Neighbor Darren's for some apples for the dessert. I really only needed one apple because it was huge! I quickly made up the apple tarts and you can too.
Fall Apple Tarts
2 medium apples or one great big one
1 ready made pie crust
1 T cinnamon
2 T sugar plus more for dusting tops
1 T flour plus more for rolling pie crust
2 T butter
1 beaten egg
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Place tart dishes on foil lined cookie sheet with sides. I prefer to use a jelly roll pan. If there is any spilling from cooking, its better it goes on your pan, than in your oven! Spray the inside of the tart dishes with nonstick cooking spray.
Peel apple and core. Slice apple into very thin slices with a sharp knife. Place apple slices in bowl and mix together with cinnamon, sugar and flour.
Roll out dough on floured surface. Using a knife or patterned pie scorer cut four pieces out just over the size of your tart dish. Do this all over again with remaining dough for the top of your tarts. Place a bottom layer of pie crust in the tart dish and arrange the apples slices on crust. I arrange them in perfect layered rows so when your guest takes a bite, it is in pretty layers. Put two small pats of butter on top and cover with remaining pie crust square and pinch or secure the ends pointing up. Usually, the sides are secured by holding the edges together and folding them under. For these tarts, pinch your edges together and fold them up.
Using an egg wash, brush tops of tarts and sprinkle remaining sugar over the top. Don't forget to score the top crust to let it breath while cooking. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until they are golden brown and bubbly. Remove them and let them sit. Often, I put them in the oven right before everyone sits down to eat dinner. By the time you and your guests have completed dinner, the apple tarts are ready to come out of the oven. They are still warm and ready for when you roll the dessert course out.
** Make and Take! By using the nonstick cooking spray, after they are cooled and because you rolled the edges up, you can virtually pop them out of the tart dishes and send them with your guests, put them on plates with icecream, or put them in a napkin and eat it with your coffee when you are on your way to work in the morning. Oops! Too much information.