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Sunday, January 23, 2022

How Much Time Do You Have?

Since Thanksgiving, I have been baking quite a bit. Maybe, because it seems colder this year or because I have wanted to do something other than business related chores.

Since mid-summer, I worked a great many business related projects, without reward. I am rather frustrated with the amount of time I spend creating new revenue generating properties (i.e., WiredShops) or updating and repairing existing tools, with no visible signs of recompense.

So, I have been baking. Earlier this month, I made an apple tart.

I liked the way the tart turned out, however have to admit it was an laborious effort.

The reason I wanted to try a new apple dessert? I made an apple pie for Thanksgiving, using a homemade crust. I found the recipe years earlier, however decided to do something I had not done before, use a mixer to blend the dough. In the past, I used a pastry cutter.

As shown in the illustration below, I used a pastry cutter to blend the dough for the (more recent) apple tart.

I used this recipe for the crust, with the following modifications for a smaller yield.

Ingredients:

  • 1.68 Cups All Purpose Flour (little over 1½)
  • ¾ Cup Unsalted Butter cut into small pieces
  • 2¼ Teaspoons Sugar
  • ¼ Teaspoon Salt
  • ½ Teaspoon Vinegar (original recipe called for red wine vinegar. Does not matter after the crust is baked.)
  • 7½ Tablespoons Ice Water

Directions:

  • In large bowl stir flour, sugar, and salt until combined.
  • Combine vinegar and ice water.
  • Add small pieces of butter to the flour and coat.
  • Using the pastry cutter, begin cutting the butter into flour. Dough should be lumpy with pieces the size of almonds or peanuts.
  • Begin adding the vinegar/water to the flour/butter mix a tablespoon at a time while stirring with a fork until the dough starts to come together. The flakier the dough, the flakier the crust once baked. The dough should be a shaggy mass when the step is complete. Add more flour if the dough becomes too sticky.
  • Turn dough out onto a very lightly floured surface and press firmly until the dough comes together. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1-2 hours before rolling.

Toward the end of the two-hour period the dough was in the refrigerator, I cored, peeled, and cut into thick slices three large gala apples. I then sautéed the slices in butter, cinnamon, nutmeg, cornstarch, brown and white sugars to release the juices from the apples. I have found this step is critical in ensuring the apple filling is not too juicy after baking.

After rolling out half the dough for the bottom layer of the tart, I layered the tart pan, pricked the crust with a fork in several places, and put it into the oven for about 10 minutes.

Once out of the oven, I added the apple filling, and a lattice topping with the rest of the dough. I baked the tart for about 40-45 minutes. Keep in mind the tart is smaller than a pie and I recommend baking the bottom crust a bit before baking the entire tart.

This tart turned out buttery, flaky, non-juicy, and in my opinion just great.

Note: I used a tart pan with a removable bottom so lining a cookie sheet with foil turned out to be a good idea. Not much of the filling leaked through, however enough that it could have been a cleanup problem if not for the lining.





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