20 November 2008

Apple and Lemon Perfection

Don't you love apple tart? Because I love apple tart. It is the perfect fall dessert--not to sweet, with melting, floral apples over a shattering, just so slightly sweet, buttery crust. Add a little lemon zest, and you may have a slice of heaven.

This tart goes especially well if you're eating seasonally. Since it's late fall, there's the bounty of apples, especially in the last few places I've lived*. Furthermore, we're starting to touch on the citrus season (clearly the best season, in my unobjective opinion). I saw Meyer Lemons in the store the other day, and I just couldn't resist them. I picked some up, smelled one and was immediately hit by it's seductive perfume. I put them down, because I wasn't really in the market for lemons, but then I kept circling around them, like a bee around some fragrant blooms. So into the basket they went. And then their zest went right into my tart.

If you're going to make this, you may want to adjust the sweetness to taste. I use both a tarter variety of apple (Winesaps--if you can find them, they are floral and tart and sweet and all-around divine) and less sugar than the original six tablespoons. Also, the glaze makes a more elegant tart, and is delicious to boot. Make sure also that you heat the preserves a little, so that they're spreadable and melty. But part of the joy of this is that you get to make what you like, since variety is always possible, and always a good thing.

Practically Perfect Apple Tart

1 pâté sablée, unbaked; see here

4 medium apples, preferably a tart variety--I like winesaps
4 tablespoons sugar
zest of one Meyer Lemon
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons apricot preserves (optional)

1. Make the pâté sablée, and chill in the refigerator.
2. Preheat the oven to 375.
3. Peel the apples and thinly slice, as evenly as possible. Arrange the apples to cover the pan however you like. Mix the sugar and lemon zest, then sprinkle with apples with the mixtures. Cut the butter into small pieces and dot with the butter.
4. Bake for 50-55 minutes
5. Glaze the tart with the jam, if using.

*It must be said for both the Upper Midwest and for New York State that apples are indeed one of their more anticipated commodities.

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