Fall is such a beautiful transition. I think of cool breezes, the strangely refreshing smell of decaying leaves, cold pumpkin ale, pumpkin pie, ripe apples…I could go on.
I feel so lucky to live in upstate New York, close to some of the nation’s tastiest apples. Apple picking is an autumn experience that everyone should have. I love putting on my first sweater of the season, getting family and friends together and mingling among the rows of apple trees.
I went apple picking yesterday with a simple apple tart in mind, one that would require minimal effort but would make my kitchen smell like the sweet spices of fall; cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice.
Saratoga Apple is a beautiful farm with mountain views and rolling acres of old apple trees. Take route 29 east until the only thing in sight is vast farmland, past the rundown barns, past the farmhouses offering their bounty of pumpkins, and past the haunted corn maze until you see the apple trees. Inside the roadside store they have great produce: Long Island cheese pumpkins, pears, and apple-fed pork. The smell of cider doughnuts was intoxicating, but I fought off my craving by keeping my apple tart in mind.
Saratoga Apple grows many different varieties including the usual McIntosh, Crispin, Cortland and Empire, an organic grove, Ginger Gold and Jonagold. Yesterday the Empire and Cortland varieties were the most abundant. I picked a 1/2 peck of 20 apples which was more than enough.
Easy Red Apple Tart
Frozen puff pastry makes this simple dessert quick and easy. If you leave enough time for the puff pastry to defrost (about 3-4 hours), then it’s a dish that you can easily whip up. Mixing up the varieties of apples makes for a more complex flavor.
- 4 Red apples
- 2 Sheets or 1 box of frozen puff pastry
- 1 Egg
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 2 Tbs butter
Prepare the pastry:
- Preheat oven to 400º.
- After pastry has fully defrosted, gently unfold on a floured surface. Beat egg in a small cup.
- Overlap the sheets: brush egg on top of the bottom piece to seal them together to create one long 8″ x 16″ sheet. Use a rolling pin to flatten the overlapping center of the pastry.
- Cut a 1 inch piece off each side to create crust.
- Make the crust: brush the border of the pastry with egg and place the 1 inch strips on top. Cut off any excess on the sides. Transfer pastry to a large baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush crust with egg.
Prepare the apples:
- Wash and peel apples.
- Cut them into even, thin, 1 inch slices. Immediately layer them on pastry. You can layer them horizontally, vertically or on the diagonal.
- Sprinkle with 1/2 cup of sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Dot with butter.
- Bake in the oven until golden brown, about 45 minutes.