I began baking small informal tarts several years ago when the boys started peeling off for college. Gus will eat fruit pie, but doesn’t ask for it. My husband LOVES fruit pie, especially cherry, but we can’t make our way through a whole 9 inch “deep dish” in a reasonable few days or week. These small “pies” are the perfect solution. The recipe below is for “apple.” It gives me the opportunity to use one of my favorite kitchen gadgets, one I’ve written about before: an apple peeling “gizmo.”
I bought five one December – boxed each with apples, cinnamon, and caramel sauce as “family” Christmas presents for my parents and each of my siblings. The verdict: an excellent gift – one of the best! I promise you’ll enjoy using it any time of year.
Rustic Apple Tart – Serves 4-6
¼ crust recipe (see below)
4 medium sized apples (use a variety that is sweet and tart: Gala, Braeburn, Jazz?) peeled and thinly sliced (use the LLBean Apple Peeler!) Don’t mind the tiny bits of peel left on the edges; they’ll add color to the finished dessert. After all, it’s a “Rustic” tart!
½ cup (2 ½ oz.) almond flour (remember, you can grind your own in a coffee mill.)
1/8 cup confectioners sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon almond extract (optional, or more to taste)
pinch of sea salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or walnut oil
½ cup fruit preserves (I used apricot plus a little plum for color.)
1 tablespoon water (more if needed.)
- Preheat the oven to 350 F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Roll out the dough in an informal circle to ¼ inch thickness, maybe a little thinner. Patch any cracks or gaps in the edges. Crimp the edges to form a ½ inch “rim.” Bake for 15 minutes.
- While the crust is baking peel, core and slice the apples horizontally.
- Melt the butter in a medium/large skillet until bubbling. Add the apples, rounded sides up. (See photo illustration below.) Cook without stirring over medium heat for 5 minutes. Cover and cook over low heat for another 5 minutes. Uncover and set aside.
- In a small bowl mix the almond flour, confectioners sugar, cinnamon, salt, and almond extract.
- Spread the almond mixture over the pre-baked crust.
- Using a spatula to transfer, arrange the sliced apple halves on top of the almond mixture. Return to the 350 F oven for another 15 minutes. Reserve the pan juices.
- Put the preserves and 1 tablespoon of water in the skillet with the apple/butter juices and bring to a boil, whisking to blend and create the glaze for the tart. Add a little more water if it seems to thick or more preserves if it seems too thin.
- Spoon the glaze over the tart when it comes out of the oven. Let rest for 5-10 minutes before serving, or serve at room temperature. It can also be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated. Best out of the oven though!
Crust (Enough for a 9” two crust pie, or 4 of the Rustic Fruit Tarts)
2 ½ Cups (15 oz.) GF Flour Mix (set aside 1 cup in a small bowl) plus 1/2 cup more for kneading.
1 tablespoon sugar (2 if you’re making a dessert crust.)
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon xantham gum
12 Tablespoons COLD unsalted butter (out of the freezer is fine.)
1/4 cup (2 oz.) vegetable shortening (arghhh: I use Crisco.)
2 1/2 tablespoons iced water
2 1/2 tablespoons vodka (better if it’s cold, but don’t worry if yours is room temp.)
- Measure 1 1/2 cups GF flour mix into the bowl of a food processor.
- Add the sugar, salt and xantham gum. Pulse to blend.
- Add the butter and shortening and blend until it’s the consistency of corn meal, perhaps a little “clumpier.”
- Add the reserved 1cup of GF flour and pulse to blend.
- Sprinkle the vodka and water over the flour mix and mix just until the a dough is formed that pulls from the sides of the “bowl.”
- Turn the dough out onto a GF floured surface and knead several times to incorporate enough of the extra flour so the dough is easily handled.
- Divide in quarters, pat into disks, wrap in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for an hour. (The dough will keep refrigerated for up to three days. It can be frozen for up to two months.)