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Thin-crusted apple tart

Thin-crusted apple tart
Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

With thick, hollow trunks and lichen-draped limbs propped up on crutches, the century-old Gravenstein trees at Walker Apples look less like a working orchard than an arboreal infirmary, or the rear guard of a retreating army. The 20 square miles ... Read more

Total time: 1 1/2 hours, plus chilling time for the dough | Serves 6 to 8
  • 1 cup (4.25 ounces) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes and chilled
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons ice water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 3 to 4 apples, preferably Gravenstein
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground clove
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3 tablespoons warm apple jelly

Step 1In a large bowl, combine the flour with one-half teaspoon salt. Add the chilled butter cubes and use a pastry cutter or fork to work the butter into the flour, forming an even crumb. Work quickly so the butter stays cold. Drizzle over 3 tablespoons of ice water and mix quickly with a fork, careful not to overmix. The dough may not come together completely; this is fine. However, if the dough feels especially dry, drizzle over up to 1 additional tablespoon of ice water.

Step 2Place the dough in the center of a large sheet of plastic wrap. Pull the edges of the plastic wrap around the dough, pressing the dough into a disk. Seal tightly and refrigerate until chilled, at least 1 hour.

Step 3While the dough is chilling, fill a medium bowl half full with water and add the lemon juice. Peel the apples and halve them lengthwise. Core the apples with a sharp knife or melon baller and trim the ends. Place the apples in the acidulated water as they are peeled and trimmed so they do not brown.

Step 4Cut the apples lengthwise into thin (one-sixteenth inch) slices, and return to the water.

Step 5Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Sprinkle your work surface generously with flour. Roll out the dough into an 11-inch circle; the dough will be about one-eighth-inch thick. Carefully transfer to a nonstick, rimmed baking pan.

Step 6Turn up the outer edge of the circle of dough to form a one-half-inch rim. Use the tines of a fork to press the rim into place and to prick the tart in several places.

Step 7Drain the apples, shaking them vigorously to remove excess water. Set the apples out on a dish towel to dry. Arrange a circle of overlapping apple slices at the far edge of the dough. Add a second circle inside the first and a third inside the second. Finish with a small circle of apples in the center.

Step 8Using a pastry brush, coat the apples and outer rim of the dough with the 3 tablespoons of melted butter. In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg and remaining one-eighth teaspoon of salt. Sprinkle the mixture over the apples.

Step 9Bake the tart until the apples are tender and the crust is golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool for 5 minutes. Set the tart on a serving plate and gently brush the top of it with the warm jelly. Cut the tart into wedges and serve immediately.

Note: Adapted from a recipe by Michele Anna Jordan, A.P.P.L.E. (Apple Publicity Promotion Ladies Effort), published in "Sebastopol Gravenstein Apples: Sweet & Savory Recipes." Sometimes Jordan adds a pinch of chipotle powder and replaces the apple jelly with a hot pepper jelly made by Tierra Vegetables for a combination of sweetness and heat.


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