My traditional Thanksgiving meal was belated and thus even more wonderful. It started with cocktails and a movie. But the crowning glory was the mashed potatoes: light in texture, creamy, but not overly buttery. I ate three helpings with gravy! There was turkey and stuffing, candied yams, and green beans, but I really love a mashed potatoes! Dessert was my apple tart, but also a fluffy, moist, yet crunchy polenta cake with a balsamic strawberry sauce and garnished with basil a la mode.
Why bake an apple tart, you ask? Didn’t you just make one? Well, yes, I had a pound of leftover apples and I spent a good time digging for recipes and I really wanted to make a spiced apple sauce cake that was devoured last year or even an apple-version of poached pears tart. But both were too time intensive.
There was a recent Mental Floss video that stated that the average American eats between 3000 to 5000 calories during their Thanksgiving meal; I tried my best, guys!
The turkey was a younger 12 pound version of the birds that run wild in gangs behind my parents’ house. Wild turkeys have cold dinosaur eyes, scaly necks, and legs and an impressive wingspan. They easily hop the backyard fence and like to perch on the wall, yodeling for food or attention and using the deck as their personal bathroom. Eating their brethren was a guilt-free experience.
And lastly, Thanksgiving stuff is usually marked by a message of gratitude. And I am grateful for all the people who have broken bread with me and shared their food and stories. It’s not just meaningful on Thanksgiving, but every day. And for all those people who I haven’t eaten with (e.g. readers who I’ve never met), I thank you for your views and kind words.
Rustic Apple Tart
NOTES: I have made Smitten Kitchen’s recipe several times before, but I’ve never been pleased with the sweetness level and I think I’ll still tweak in the future. This time I tried tossing the apples in sugar, which resulted in a delicious but sticky caramelized tart bottom as the sugary syrup sunk to the bottom during the baking process. I think I would go even sweeter by tossing the apples in sugar and then topping it with a crunchy layer of sugar. I tried an apricot jam glaze this time and it added a gorgeous color and sheen!
- 1 cup of flour
- 6 tablespoons of butter
- 1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 3 1/2 tablespoons of water
INGREDIENTS FOR FILLING
- 3 apples, peeled and sliced
- 5 tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tablespoons of apricot jam
- 2 tablespoons of butter
Mix flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. I used my fingers but you can use a food processor or pastry cutter. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas. Adding the butter in two steps makes it much easier.
Gradually dribble in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Wrap the dough in saran wrap, and don’t worry if it’s a little crumbly. The dough will come together in the fridge. Flatten into a 4-inch-thick disk; refrigerate. After at least 30 minutes, remove; let soften so it’s malleable but still cold. Smooth cracks at edges. Between two sheets of plastic wrap, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick.
Place dough in a lightly greased 9-inch round tart pan, or simply on a parchment-lined baking sheet if you wish to go free-form, or galette-style with it. I used a springform pan. Heat oven to 400°F.
Toss apple with three tablespoons of sugar. Arrange the apple slices casually or prettily. Fold any dough hanging over pan back onto itself; crimp edges at 1-inch intervals.
Brush melted butter over apples and onto dough edge. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over the dough. Bake in center of oven until apples are soft, with browned edges, and crust has caramelized to a dark golden brown (about 45 minutes), making sure to rotate tart every 15 minutes.
Remove tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
Brush with apricot preserves, slice, and serve with ice cream.