Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apple Tart & The World's Easiest Dough

Having discovered the wild world of baking in my late 30s, I've reached an age where I prize speed and convenience above most other things, especially when it comes to hitting the kitchen. That's why this dough is the best for banging out delicious baked goods fast, like this apple tart on the right here that I knocked out tonight.

Mixer needed? Nope! Have to knead? Nope! Need to firm it up in the fridge? Nope! You just make it and throw it in the oven. Though you might want to put it in a pan first.

As to the apple tart, I highly, highly, highly recommend using the supremely sweet Fuji apple. Now, you might be reticent, you might have had plenty of success over the years with other apples in your apple pies, you might have a deep abiding affair going with a Macintosh or Braeburn or Gala - heck, for all I know, you might be deeply prejudiced against all things New Zealand - but trust me, when it comes to a great apple tart, the Fuji is the way to go. It's at the top end of the sweetness spectrum of apples and lemme tell ya, it sure holds up well during the baking process.

Other than that, you just need a food processor, as well as a tart pan to cook it in, though you can wing it with an affordable aluminum pie pan from your friendly neighborhood grocery store (do those exist in New Jersey?).

  • .75 C all purpose flour
  • 1.75 C whole wheat pastry flour (I cannot emphasize enough that you must use pastry flour, the regular whole wheat flour just tastes awful in baked goods, if you don't have any, just use 1.5 C all purpose flour, it'll be a bit less healthy but taste great)
  • .25 C granulated sugar
  • .5 tsp baking powder
  • .5 tsp lemon/orange zest
  • 7 tb unsalted butter softened
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 C preserves (I dig the apricot jelly, you can find it at almost any grocery store)
  • 1 Fuji apple cut into wafer slices
1. Preheat: Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. By the way, I highly recommend scooping up an oven thermometer at your local kitchen wares emporium. After finally buying one I made the infamous discovery that the actual temperature in my oven is about 25 degrees hotter than the dial setting. Sheesh.

2. Food processor: Chuck on in there your flour, sugar, baking powder, zest, and butter. Pulse it on up. Add the egg . . . and . . . pulse it on up. Throw in the yolk . . . and . . . pulse it on up. You should be seeing a soft dough form by now. Did I mention the need to pulse it on up?

3. Counter: Scatter some flour on your counter top and drop the dough on it. Pat it together, and if it doesn't come together enough, sprinkle a tablespoon of water on it and you'll be in business.

4. Pan: Next, just drop the whole thing in the tart pan. Mash it down in the middle and use your fingers to work it up the sides.

5. Preserves: Spread the preserves on the dough, save yourself about 2 tablespoons.

6. Apple Slices: Arrange apple slices in a concentric circle. If you have a really small apple, you can get away with a groovy inner circle (where only VIPs will be allowed to eat), but with a typical apple, you'll just need to fill in the middle a bit as in the picture above.

7. Oven: Bake for 20 minutes and take it on out.

8. More Preserves: Spoon the remaining preserves over the apples.

9. Oven: Bake another 20 minutes or so until the crust is golden. Feel free to dust it with confectioner's sugar, but definitely let it cool first.

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