Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Apple Tarts

Apple Tart
I had a cool thing happen to me recently. The Horn Player's mom loaned a cookbook to me that is quite old and actually belonged to her mother. Since, I love cookbooks and particularly old ones, I felt privileged indeed to be given the opportunity to peruse some of the old recipes. The pages with spatters and splashes from repeated use are the ones I'm drawn to. You can bet there's a memory or two attached to those recipes revisited time and again because of their good report.

Books such as this hold a special place in my heart and my kitchen. I have a counter-top corner where I stacked up some of my favorites for their aesthetic merit but still within handy reach. I wish I had more time to devote to reading and researching. There is such a wealth of delicious choices hidden within the yellowing pages. Ahhh, if only I had more time to spend in my favorite room of the house. My dream is to cook and photograph, then post here on Anny's Red Plate. My culinary juices are ready for a new challenge. In between seasons I don't know what I want to eat. It gets tiresome just trying to conjure something for dinner. And The Horn Player isn't any help at all; he usually calls me to inquire what my inspiration for dinner might be. Lately, I'm clueless. But I'm especially confident that Spring and my promise to begin a cookbook journey will spark new culinary adventures. Hopefully Spring isn't too far away.

The copyright - 1942, 1943 and 1944.
Very cool

I decided to use this book in some way and the pie crust recipe seemed like a good place to begin. It's simple, standard and pretty much the recipe I've used since I had the courage to make my own pie crust many, many years ago. Definitely tried and true.

Pie Crust

2 cups all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
2/3 cup chilled shortening
Ice water

The Pie Crust page

Mise en place for pie crust

I really love to pre-assemble everything for a recipe. First, you're sure you have everything on hand for the recipe and secondly, it just makes everything so much easier. The bonus for me...makes me feel sort of 'chefy'.

Cold shortening about to be cut into the flour. I keep my shortening in the freezer and that's just what you want, very cold shortening. After it's cut into the flour add drips of water and mix after each, until the dough comes together. 

There it is...all together and ready for a rest. Don't over mix or handle the dough too much. It's a delicate thing, you know?

I wrapped the pie crust dough in plastic wrap and parked it in the fridge for about 30 minutes to rest. 

Ya gotta have an apple or two to make an apple tart. The apples I chose, Honey Crisp. 


I had to include this photo. I just love the contrasting red and chartreuse hue's in this stack of apples. I cooked the apples with a scoop of sugar (you determine how sweet you want the filling to be) a pinch of cinnamon, a grind of nutmeg and just a slight 1/4 cup water. Simmer on medium/low until the apples are tender and the sauce has thickened sufficiently. Cool completely.

Rolling out the individual pieces of dough for the tart pastry's and stacking them up for filling is a good idea. Every step in its own time. Just cover the stack with a damp towel.

A healthy scoop of apple goodness onto the dough, but not too, too much. I tend to overload the filling and that can be messy in the cooking process. A couple of tablespoons is all you need.

With a pastry brush, dampen the edges of the dough with water and press to seal securely. Set aside and continue with the remaining dough and sweet apples. Now at this point you can choose the cooking method you wish to employ. I gotta be honest here, I really prefer fried pies over baked ones. But I was a good girl and I baked this batch. 

After the assembly, I placed them onto a greased baking sheet and brushed them with an egg/water wash. I placed them into a 350 degree preheated oven until they were crispy and browned. After removing them from the oven I perched them on a cake rack to cool and lastly, I dusted a copious amount of confectioners sugar over each one.


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