Apple and Pear Rustic Tart aka Crostadas

While apples and pears are hitting their peak at the Collingswood Farmers' Market get thee to buying some now! Schrober Farms, Fruitwood Farms, Springdale, and other other fine farmers are all putting out the best the season has to offer.  And just in time for this week's Apple Pie contest, you can put your pie dough making skills to the test and make a few rustic style tarts using the best of the season's fruits. 

I once made these apple and pear tarts/tartlets for an Autumn Harvest Dinner Party class I taught in October of 2013 (can't believe it was 4 years ago now!)  Re-sharing the recipe as these are easy to make and so worth the effort.  If making pie dough is too much to take on, but honestly, it is easy, the trick is to be as gentle as you can with the dough and barely work it; let it rest and then roll it out.  You can use a store bought dough.  I've even seen dough in Trader Joe's in the frozen section.  Since the tarts are rustic there's no fussing with a double crust or trying to get the dough to look all pretty in the pie pan.  

Apple and Pear Rustic Tarts Pie Dough Ingredients:
  • 1 1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Sugar
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter - cut into cubes and chilled
  • 1/4 Cup to 1/2 Cup Ice Cold Water
  • 1 Large Ripe Pear - peeled, cored and cut into thin slices 1/4 of inch thick or thinner
  • 2 Apples - such as Ginger Gold and Golden Delicious (1 Sweet/1 Tart) - peeled, cored and cut into thin slices - 1/8 inch thick or thinner
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar PLUS 1 Tablespoon of Sugar for Sprinkling
  • 1 Dash of Freshly Grated Nutmeg
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Cinnamon
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Unsalted Butter - cut into small pieces
Directions for Pie Dough:
  1. In a food processor fitted with the dough blade - pulse the flour, sugar and salt in the food processor until combined.  
  2. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse meal and there are pea-sized pieces of flour and butter combined.  
  3. Slowly add in the ice-cold water, a few drops at at time; pulse until moist clumps form.  If the mixture is too dry, add a bit more ice cold water.  
  4. Gently gather the dough into a ball and flatten into a disk.  Wrap the disk in plastic and chill at least 1 hour or up to 2 days. Dough disk can be frozen for 3 months, tightly wrapped in several layers of plastic wrap.
Directions For filling:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Position rack in center of oven.  Prepare a sheet tray  by lining it with parchment paper or a Silpat. Set aside.
  2. Roll our the dough on a well-floured surface until it is about a 12 inches in diameter - the dough does not need to be a perfect circle - the tart will be rough and rustic.  Carefully roll dough onto the rolling pin and transfer the dough to the prepared sheet tray.  Chill the rolled dough in the refrigerator while you make the filling.
  3. Peel, core and cut the pear and apples into thin slices.  Add the slices to cold water along with the juice of 1 lemon. Set aside.
  4. Remove the pears and apples from the lemon water, shaking off as much water as possible.  Add them to a mixing bowl along with the 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour, 1/4 cup of sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon and salt, stirring to combine.
  5. Take the rolled out disk of dough from the refrigerator; work from the center and carefully layer the apple and pear slices onto the pie dough, leaving a 1/2 inch border from the edge.  Continue layering the fruit from the center of the dough to the outer area until all the slices are used or the pie dough is full. Carefully fold up the edges of the dough to form a crust.  
  6. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar on top of the fruit & pie dough crust.
  7. Dot the fruit with the tablespoon of cut-up butter over the fruit slices.
  8. Bake the tart for 28-33 minutes or until the dough is golden brown and the fruit juices are bubbling.
  9. Remove the tart from the oven and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes before serving. Serve warm with ice cream, whipped cream or a slice of sharp cheddar cheese. Serves 6 -8.

Use a variety of apples and pears - such as Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples and Red Bartlett Pears
Peel, Core and Cut the Apples and Pears into thin slices.  Keep the slices in lemon water to keep them from browning.  The juice from the lemon will add a bit of tang/tart to the fruit.
Thin slices - about an 1/8 of an inch thick - too thick and the the fruit won't cook down properly
Keeping the apples and pears in lemon water keeps them from turning brown. You can peel and slice the fruit and keep it in the water for up to 2 days if needed.
When making the pie dough, you can use a food processor to bring the dough together.  Having all of your ingredients cold will help to make a more tender dough.  Cold flour, cold butter, ice cold water.
Cut the butter into the flour, sugar and salt until the mixture resembles coarse meal and small peas.
Add in ice water, a few tablespoons at a time, just until the dough forms and pulls away from the sides of the food processor. Some parts of the dough can be a bit crumbly.
Gently pull the dough together into a ball but don't over work it trying to get all the flour and butter to stick together.  As the dough rests and chills in the refrigerator, the dough and loose flour will seem to "magically" come together.
Cut the dough into two pieces, then wrap it in plastic wrap, wax or parchment paper.  Shape the dough into a disk and flatten slightly.  Refrigerate the dough for at leaf 30 minutes or up to two days.  The dough can be frozen too, up to 2 months, until ready to be use.
When the dough has chilled, at least 30 minutes, take it out of the refrigerator and roll it out onto a lightly floured surface, into a rough circle, about 10 inches in diameter.
Working on a Silpat or baking mat will make it easier to roll the dough out without having to use a lot of extra flour on the work surface.
After the pie dough has been filled with the fruit, roughly fold up the edges to form a crust.  If desired, dot the surface of the pie tart with butter.  This is optional.  Also - sprinkle the tart and the dough with sugar and cinnamon.  Bake as directed.


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