Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Valentine's Apple Tart

I'm sure many of you spent your Valentine's Day dressed up in a fancy restaurant, stuffing your bellies with price-fixed delicacies and wine pairings.

Sean and I are penny-pinching for the wedding and beyond that, I wanted to use my newfound cooking skills to show my love for him. So I concocted the perfect (for Sean) V-Day meal: Homemade Pepperoni Pizza and an Apple Tart!

Sean lives for apple desserts, while I'm more of a chocolate girl. I don't have a pie plate, but I do have a tart pan, so I went with Smitten Kitchen's interpretation of an Alice Waters recipe.

Start with the crust (obvi). Combine sugar, flour and butter. It will appear to be easy if you have the right tools, but for me, it involved lots of struggling to get 1/2 inch pieces of butter to reduce to pea-size balls. Really, really hoping to get a standing mixer for the wedding.

Slowly "dribble" water into the mixture and drop through your hands. Or that's what Deb says to do. I didn't know what the hell dribble meant and at no time did my dough get "ropey" or have "dry patches." But don't fear, it still came out just fine.

Once done, wrap the ball of dough in plastic and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes or so. I went with "or so," which was about 1 hour.

Take a million years out of your life and slice up some apples. I wanted to use Golden Delicious, but do to catastrophic snowstorms in the south, none were to be had. These are Granny Smith Apples.

Take out the dough (and remember to be preheating your oven to 400, friends! Crucial!) and roll into a 14-inch circle. I found myself incapable of doing so and came up a bit short. But my general failure at math didn't let me know I had come up short until later, when one part of my crust wouldn't cover my apples. Don't make my mistakes, friends!

Line the apple slices up in your tart pan and fold the corners of your pie crust up, pinching as you go. Melt butter and brush it over the apples and crust with a pastry brush, then sprinkle sugar all over the crust and apples.

** If I had trusted my gut, I would have added some brown sugar or cinnamon for some extra depth of flavor. I might have even added some caramel. The tart is good, but I could have used the extra sweetness. **

Pop the tart in the oven for 45 minutes, rotating every 15.

While the tart is baking, take the remains of the day (i.e. the apple peels and extra bits) and put them in a pan with sugar water just filling to the top of the apples. Let it simmer for 25 minutes, then strain. This will create an apple compote syrup.

*** Make sure there is enough sugar to thicken the sauce. I definitely did not have enough, but it wasn't a disaster ***

Take the tart out when edges are brown and brush with the apple syrup all over.

READY TO EAT. So freakin' American and wholesome, isn't it?

And just so you can see, that's the pepperoni pizza.

It was a good meal and Sean enjoyed the apple dessert. I liked it okay (I'm a chocolate girl), but I will definitely make some adjustments next time.

2 comments:

EdibLessons said...

I don't remember how I found your blog, but I've been following for a while. I'm also a CNU grad...

I've never heard of the "dribble" method, but I usually just add ice water a tablespoon at a time until the right consistency is reached. It looks like you did a good job doing your own thing, though! It looks good!

Amber said...

Hi fellow Captain! Good to know about the ice water...I'm not sure mine was quite that cold. Cooking seems to be a series of happy or not-so-happy accidents.