Dec 3, 2010
One of the first things I wanted to make when I started baking was an apple pie. Isn't it one of the most comforting things ever? But when I started to look for recipes I was spoilt for choice. There were apple pies, crumbles, cobblers, crisps, brown bettys...phew!! And for a new cook it can be a bit overwhelming. Though they all have very slight differences, I didn't know which one to try! And so for the past few months I have just been trying to go back n forth trying to decide. You would think its not such a big deal, right? Just make the bloody pie! But being a Libran, indecisiveness is a part of my nature and we like to mull over our choices till the cows come home. However small the issue may be.
But a couple of days back while I was loitering around in the kitchen deciding what to make, I saw two apples on the counter. And was suddenly hit with the urge to have an apple pie. And this time I was determined. I wanted to do something simple for the first time, just wanted the flavor of apples to shine through. A quick search led me to Smitten Kitchen and she had a recipe for the simplest tart ever! Just butter, flour, sugar and apples! Within the hour my pie was in the oven and my kitchen smelled like heaven.
This pie is so simple that I think everyone should make it. Not even the fear of tackling pie dough should stop you. Trust me, you'll be happy.
Recipe by Alice Waters via Smitten Kitchen
The changes I made were to reduce the sugar a little and sprinkle some cinnamon over the apples. I halved the recipe and made a free style gallette.
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, just softened, cut in 1/2-inch pieces
3 1/2 tablespoons chilled water
2 pounds apples (Golden Delicious or another tart, firm variety), peeled, cored (save peels and cores), and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
5 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sugar
MIX flour, sugar, and salt in a large bowl; add 2 tablespoons of the butter. Blend in a mixer until dough resembles coarse cornmeal. Add remaining butter; mix until biggest pieces look like large peas.
DRIBBLE in water, stir, then dribble in more, until dough just holds together. Toss with hands, letting it fall through fingers, until it’s ropy with some dry patches. If dry patches predominate, add another tablespoon water. Keep tossing until you can roll dough into a ball. 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. On a lightly floured surface, roll into a 14-inch circle about 1/8 inch thick. Dust excess flour from both sides with a dry pastry brush.
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. Heat oven to 400#176;F. (If you have a pizza stone, place it in the center of the rack.)
OVERLAP apples on dough in a ring 2 inches from edge if going galette-style, or up to the sides if using the tart pan. Continue inward until you reach the center. 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 dough edge and the other 3 tablespoons over apples.
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.
MAKE glaze: Put reserved peels and cores in a large saucepan, along with sugar. Pour in just enough water to cover; simmer for 25 minutes. Strain syrup through cheesecloth.
REMOVE tart from oven, and slide off parchment onto cooling rack. Let cool at least 15 minutes.
BRUSH glaze over tart, slice, and serve.