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Simple Apple Tart: An Elegant Winter Dessert

dessert4Epic snow is an excellent occasion for making a tart. And yesterday in NYC, we certainly had that. But with its simple, elegant flavors, this is an amazing, understated dessert (or breakfast!) any day.

Sometimes the simplest foods can be the most delicious. This apple tart has a short list of ingredients designed to bring out the robust, tart flavors of the granny smith apples. Besides being absolutely beautiful, this simple apple tart is flaky, light and delicious.

A note on the recipe–I am a big fan of homemade crusts, but I understand that making your own can be daunting and laborious. If you like, go ahead and use pre-made puff pastry crust.

Simple Apple Tart (adapted from the Smitten Kitchen by way of Alice Waters)

for the crust
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
6 tablespoons cold butter
1/4 cup ice water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar

for the tart filling
3 granny smith apples
2 tablespoons melted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
good pinch salt

for the glaze
apple cores and peels
1/2 cup sugar
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/2 cup water

In the bowl of your food processor, combine the flour, salt, and sugar. Drop in the butter and pulse several times until the dough has a sandy texture. Drizzle in the water and pulse just until combined. You can also mix the flour by hand, and cut in the butter with a pastry knife, and then mix in the water just until combined.

Scoop the dough out onto a lightly floured board gather into a round disc. Wrap the  round in plastic and refrigerate for a half-hour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into an 11″ round, and then press it into a well-buttered tart pan. Fold any excess dough into the sides of the tart.

Wash and peel, and core the apples, reserving the peels and cores. Slice the apples into 1/8″ thick slices. Starting on the outer edge, arrange the apple slices in a tight circle, working your way toward the middle. Brush the apples with the 2 tablespoons of melted butter. Sprinkle the apples with the salt, and then 3 tablespoons of sugar.

Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet and then into the oven. Bake for 45 minutes, until the dough is golden and the edges of the apples have browned. Rotate the tart pan halfway through. Let tart cool for 15 minutes.

While the tart is baking, combine the apple peels and cores, orange zest, sugar, juice and water in a medium saucepan. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add extra water if needed. Strain the glaze, cool, and brush on the tart just before serving. My glaze was a bit runny, so I reduced it over high heat for a few minutes after straining.

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