Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Rustic Free-Form Apple Tartlets

Food is one of the love channels that goes straight to my husband's heart. There is nothing more satisfying to him than great food cooked for him. It's one of his love languages. So when Father's Day rolled around, there really wasn't a question of what we would be giving him. No gifts necessary for this man of mine, just food.

The other thing that is important to know about my husband is that he loves, I mean loves, apple desserts. Apple pie is his all-time favorite, but high on his list is also apple crisp, apple dumplings, apple cobbler, and apple strudel. Add a scoop of homemade vanilla ice cream, and my husband is in heaven.

Because of my husband's fondness of apple desserts, I am always in pursuit of a new apple recipe that will put a little twist on his favorite classic. These apple tartlets were the answer. I loved the idea of no crust to make. The words "rustic" and "free-form" felt so much more relaxed to me; no perfect pie crust needed. I also loved the idea of cream cheese in the crust--that was enough of a little-something-different that would satisfy and delight him.

Apples. Check. Straight-forward recipe. Check. A little-something-different. Check. Great tasting. Check. Happy Husband. Check!


Tart Dough
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour*
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon table salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), cold, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces cream cheese (cold), cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 teaspoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
1-2 tablespoons ice water

Apple Filling
1 1/4 pounds Granny Smith apples (about 3 medium)
1 1/4 pounds McIntosh apples* (about 3 medium)
2 tablespoons lemon juice from 1 lemon
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 egg whites, beaten lightly

*A couple things about the ingredients....I substituted 1/2 spelt flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour for the all-purpose flour in this recipe. I didn't want you to be alarmed if my dough was darker or appeared different than yours. Also, if you are unable to find McIntosh apples, substitute Gala, Fuji, or Braeburn.


1. In bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade, pulse flour, sugar, and salt to combine. Add butter and cream cheese; pulse until mixture is sandy, pebble like curds, 10 to 12 one-second pulses (mixture should not form cohesive ball). Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle lemon juice and 1 tablespoon ice water over mixture. With rubber spatula, use folding motion to evenly distribute water and lemon juice into flour mixture until small portion of dough holds together when squeezed in palm of hand. Add up to 1 additional tablespoon ice water if necessary. Mixture will look dry even after liquid is incorporated.

3. Turn dough onto clean, dry work surface; gather and gently press together into cohesive ball, then flatten into rough disk.

4. With chef's knife or dough scraper, cut dough into 6 equal pieces.

5. Shape each piece into disk about 3 inches wide. Place disks in single layer on flat dinner plate, wrap plate in plastic, and refrigerate until firm, about 30 minutes (can be refrigerated up to 2 days).

6. Remove dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 30 minutes, let stand at room temperature until soft and malleable). Working one at a time, roll out disks between 2 sheets of lightly floured parchment paper into circles approximately 6 inches wide. Remove top layer of parchment; trim bottom layer of parchment into rectangles about 2 inches larger than dough. Stack rectangles with parchment on plate; cover plate with plastic wrap and refrigerate while preparing fruit.

7. Adjust one oven rack to highest position and other rack to lowest position; heat oven to 400 degrees. Peel, core, and cut apples into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice, 1/4 cup sugar, and cinnamon.

8. Arrange parchment-lined dough rounds in single layer on work surface. Arrange apple slices in even circle over dough, leaving free a 1-inch perimeter of dough for fluted edge.

9. Fill in center with additional slices, lending support to circular wall of apples.

10. Fold outer lip of dough snugly inward over apples, pleating dough to fit snugly around applies. With cupped hands, gently compress and shape dough to filling, reinforcing shape and compacting apples.

11. Using parchment lining, slide 3 tartlets onto each of 2 cookie sheets.

12. Bake tartlets until pale golden brown, about 15 minutes. Brush crust with beaten egg whites and sprinkle apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Return tartlets to oven, switching positions of cookie sheets; bake until crust is deep golden brown and apples are tender, about 15 minutes longer.

13. Cool tartlets on cookie sheet 5 minutes, using wide metal spatula, remove from parchment and transfer to cooling rack. Cool additional 5 minutes. Serve with a scoop of ice cream or with lightly sweetened whipped cream.

Recipe from Cook's Illustrated

Yields: 6 servings. Each serving contains: Calories 481; Total Fat 22.8g; Saturated Fat 13.9g; Cholesterol 61mg; Sodium 282mg; Total Carbohydrates 65.3g; Dietary Fiber 4.8g; Sugars 39.5g; Protein 5.9g; Vitamin A 16%; Vitamin C 18%; Calcium 3%; Iron 11%


Kimi @ The Nourishing Gourmet said...

Those look so lovely! I love "rustic" desserts. :-) It's a great "fruit based" dessert.

Susan Graham said...

Just wanted to stop by and say that I think you are very talented and I am so happy for you that things are falling into place. Your blog are so fun. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

comment4, meg ryan nude, 187, kara tointon nude, 076744,

Anonymous said...

comment4, jamie lynn spears naked, 289688,

Anonymous said...

, christina hendricks nude, %[, camille grammer nude, 4047, jessica lange nude, dtyfbf,

Anonymous said...

, barbara eden nude, %D, joan collins nude, >:-[, shannen doherty nude, wngqrg,

Anonymous said...

, britney spears nuda, iecr,

Anonymous said...

, jessica gomes nude, pqagi,