Even though we’re not getting to the farmer’s market as often as usual, we’re seeing apples everywhere and FEELING the yearly hunger for warm apple desserts…
If you are a lazy dog like me of late, I recommend a swell Apple Crumble with Rosemary. It’s a formula, really, in which you can switch out any number of the ingredients: pears for apples (with plums or raspberries or other fruit), pecans for walnuts, cinnamon and lemon for rosemary. OR If you have a tad more ambition and are in the mood for something pie-esque, a freeform Rustic Apple Tart is a good way to go. They can be made any size, including little hand-sizers.
IF you don’t like peeling apples or IF you just want to monkey around with a power tool, you could employ a power drill like Luca Eisen did….
Apple Crumble with Rosemary
Serve warm in a bowl with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a dollop of creme fraiche or whipped cream.
Serves 4 to 6
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
4 large apples (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, cored, and sliced into thin wedges
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Preheat the oven to 350. To make the Crumble Topping, spread the almonds on a baking sheet. Roast until they are just golden and fragrant, 6 to 7 minutes (do not allow the nuts to brown past golden). Set aside to cool.
In a food processor, grind the nuts, flour, sugar and salt to a medium-fine meal. Transfer to a medium bowl. With your fingers, work in the butter by pinching and rubbing the mixture until it is very crumbly. Refrigerate 15 minutes.
In a buttered 10-inch baking dish, toss the apples with the sugar, rosemary or cinnamon. Sprinkle the lemon juice over the fruit and toss again. Spread the fruit in the dish and sprinkle the topping evenly over it.
Bake until the fruit is tender, the juices are bubbling and the top is browned, 50 to 60 minutes. If the top is browning too quickly, cover lightly with foil.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Rustic Apple Tart
Traditional Shaker flavorings — rose water and nutmeg – make an unusual and somehow poetic apple pie. Replace cinnamon in the recipe below with the 1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater and 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg.
1 1/2 pounds apples, such as Golden Delicious or another good pie apple, peeled, halved, cored and sliced 1/4-inch thick
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup light brown or granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon OR 1 1/2 teaspoons minced FRESH rosemary
Flaky Butter Pastry (below) or 8 ounces of your favorite pie dough or prepared, refrigerated or frozen pie dough (If the dough is already in a pie pan, carefully remove it and roll as directed below).
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour plus more for rolling the dough
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 teaspoons confectioner’s sugar (optional)
Preheat the oven to 400′. In a large bowl, toss the apples with the lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the cinnamon.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the Flaky Butter Pastry to a 14 -inch round. Transfer the round to a baking sheet.
Combine the 2 tablespoons flour with the remaining 1 tablespoon of the brown sugar and sprinkle evenly over the dough to within 2 inches of the edge. Arrange the apples over the flour-sugar mixture.
Fold the edge of the dough over the apples. Moisten your fingers lightly and gently press the creases together so that they hold their shape. Dot the apples with the butter.
Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes or until the crust is golden brown and the apples are tender. Cover the tart with foil half way through if it’s browning too quickly. Let cool for at least 10 minutes and sift the confectioner’s sugar evenly over the crust.
Flaky Butter Pastry
This is a great dough for people who are intimidated by pie crusts. It is virtually foolproof, easy to make and handle, yielding a buttery pastry that is tender yet sturdy enough to accommodate the abundant fruit.
The recipe can be doubled or tripled and can be frozen well wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 1 month. To defrost, thaw in the refrigerator several hours before using.
Makes 8 ounces dough, enough for one tart
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 1/2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2″ bits
3 tablespoons sour cream
In a medium bowl combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. Add the butter and cut it into the flour with a pastry cutter or use a pinching motion with your fingers until it makes a very coarse meal. (If you have time, chill this mixture in the refrigerator 15 minutes). Add the sour cream and blend with a fork to combine, then, using your hands, squeeze the dough 7 or 8 times to incorporate. To make the dough in a food processor, process the dry ingredients to combine. Add the butter and process to a coarse meal; chill if time. Then add the sour cream and process until the mixture looks like sand.
Flatten the dough into a 1-inch thick disk, wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1/2 hour before rolling.