Have you ever made a tart? We hadn't until recently, when our removable-bottom tart pan lured us into what seemed like a tricky undertaking. Guess what? It was so easy!
Since then, fruit tarts have become our go-to dessert. Food processors make tart crusts extra easy: throw your butter, flour, salt and sugar into the food processor and presto you have a crust. It's actually preferable to mixing by hand, since the food processor doesn't warm the butter the way your fingers do. Then slice in some fresh fruit and a little sugar, bake it and you have a delicious dessert.
I got a little fancy on this one. There was some tart dough left over so I pulled out some autumn leaf cookie cutters and topped the tart with a few pastry leaves.
This is an eggy tart, with an egg-enriched pastry dough that is hearty and yet still flaky. The custard binds the apples together in a soft, homey filling spiced with cinnamon and cloves.
Apple Custard Tart
1 9-inch tart
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, chilled and diced
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon cold water (if necessary)
3 small apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cloves
3 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/2 teaspoon cloves
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup milk
Blend the pastry ingredients together in a food processor, reserving the water and egg. Take out and mix in the egg just until the dough comes together. If it's still crumbly, add the water just until it comes together. Refrigerate while you prepare the apples and filling.
Heat the oven to 350ºF. Prepare a 9" tart pan, lightly greasing it. Slice the apples and toss with the cinnamon and cloves. Whisk the eggs with the sugar, spices, and salt, and then whisk the milk in until smooth.
Roll out 2/3 of the dough and press into the tart pan. Arrange the apple slices in a spiral, then pour the custard over top. Roll out the rest of the dough, cut out shapes like leaves or stars and put on top.
Bake for about 50 minutes or until a knife comes out clean. The custard will still be a little wobbly. It will set as it cools.