All you need is one pie crust, four or five medium apples and a jar of jelly or jam for this easy-to-make pie.
To make pastry these days, I almost always use my food processor. I add 1 ½ cups of flour, 5 tablespoons of butter and 3 of lard, a tablespoon of sugar. Hit pulse a few times and then steady on for about 30 seconds. That usually turns it into something resembling coarse cornmeal. I dump it into a bowl and drizzle icy water around the edges, and toss until the mixture comes together. I make two balls, then flatten them on waxed paper, wrap and stick them in the freezer or fridge until I am ready to bake. Give yourself some time to let them chill pretty thoroughly, at least a half hour, so that they will roll neatly.
As it happened, I had pastry enough for one crust left after holiday baking, so the fact that it was already prepared was part of what makes this a painless process. Making some pastry and freezing it for use later is a way to help yourself out, but then you have to remember to thaw it in time. Of course, there is always commercial pastry to keep on hand for when you need a dessert in a hurry.
Then there were the apples. I have quite a few foraged apples in the cellar right now, and it behooves me to use them. Peeled or unpeeled, your choice, then sprinkle on some flour, a little sugar and a dash or two of cinnamon. Toss it all together.
To add a little moisture, I decided to spread the crust with jelly, in my case elderberry, but really, since apples get along with almost any fruit, whatever jelly or jam you have will work. Just spread a generous layer on the crust and toss a little into the apple mix, too. I don’t know about you, but I make jams and jellies all summer long, give some away, and receive some from friends, so I end up with an impressive collection of different sorts, but really, there is just so much toast one can spread it on. I’m always looking for ways to use preserves, and if you have a clever way of using some, please share.
This little tart can be baked in a pie plate or on a baking sheet. I lined a pie plate with the pastry, spread the jelly on it, dumped in the apple mix, and pulled the edges of the pastry up around the apples and pressed it in place. That was all. I thought about dotting it with butter or sticking a little cheddar cheese in there, but didn’t. You can always add the cheese when serving it, if you belong to the apple-pie-with-cheddar-cheese school of thought.
The overall experience of eating this was like having a lovely piece of apple pie, but easier to do. Fewer apples, only one crust to mess with. Easy peasy.
Happy New Year! I wish for you good health, a sufficiency of life’s necessities, and the pleasure of wholesome time with friends and families. And, of course, the joy of home cooking.
Rustic Apple Tart
Yields an 8-9-inch tart
Pastry for one crust
4-5 medium apples, peeled, cored, spliced
1-2 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons white or light brown sugar
¼ tablespoon cinnamon, or more to taste
Jelly or jam to taste
1. Heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a 9-inch pie plate with the pastry, or lay it on a parchment-covered baking sheet.
3. Put the prepared apples into a medium bowl along with the flour, sugar and cinnamon, and toss it together until the apples are lightly coated with flour and sugar.
4. Spread a layer of jelly or jam on the pastry and add an optional dollop to the apple mix. Toss the apples to mix in the preserve.
5. Pile the apples in the center of the pastry and gently pull the edges of the pastry up and around the edges of apple, pressing it into place over the apples. There will be an open space at the top.
6. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown.