Golden Delicious Apple Tart
Commercial apple production in the Anderson Valley appears to have begun here near the end of the 19th century, but by the middle of the 20th century, apple orchards were giving way to the vineyards for which the valley is becoming famous. Apple cultivation still makes up a good share of the food culture here, and the Mendocino County Fair, held in Boonville every September, continues to feature the “Apple Show” along with sheep dog trials, livestock competitions and a rodeo.
My apples come from the organic orchard of my neighbor, from whom I also procure hens’ eggs and incredible honey. This year, his Golden Delicious were the stars. Because they hold their shape during cooking, this variety is perfect for an apple tart and its beautiful spirals of apple slices.
Cooked, this apple can have a bland flavor, so this tart includes lots of enhancements that marry well with apples: mainly lemon, cinnamon and nutmeg.
GOLDEN DELICIOUS APPLE TART
Makes one 10″ tart or one 9″ two-crust pie
- 3 lb. organic Golden Delicious apples
- Zest and juice of 2 organic lemons, about 6 tablespoons
- 3 – 6 tablespoons honey -or- ¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, depending upon the sweetness of the apples
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- pinch of sea salt
- 1½ tablespoons corn or tapioca starch
- Half of the recipe for Pie Crust if making the tart, and an entire recipe if making a 2-crust pie
- 1 egg, separated
- Preheat the oven to 400º.
- Peel, core and thinly slice the apples to a thickness of about ⅛”. Toss with the lemon zest and juice, cinnamon, snutmeg, vanilla extract and salt, taking care not to break up the apple slices. Drizzle on 3 tablespoons honey or sprinkle on ¼ cup brown sugar. Toss thoroughly, then taste and add more if necessary to adjust the sweetness. Whisk the egg white until frothy and add it to the apples along with the corn or tapioca starch. Toss to combine, then set aside.
- Roll out half a recipe of pie crust dough and use it to line a 10″ tart pan with a removable bottom, folding the excess under and even with the top of the pan, pressing to make uniform sides. If making a 2-crust pie, allow the excess dough to drape over the side. Drop in the egg yolk, and with a pastry brush, spread the yolk evenly across the bottom of the crust and about ¼” up the sides. (This helps prevent the bottom crust from becoming soggy.)
- If making the tart, layer the apple slices in a concentric pattern. Pour any excess juices evenly over the top. If making a 2-crust pie, simply tip the apple mixture into the bottom crust and gently arrange to fill the pan; top with the top crust and press the edges to seal. Turn the excess under in a roll on the lip of the pie pan and press a decoration into the rim of the crust. Slash the top crust in a star pattern to vent the steam while the pie is baking.
- Put the pie or tart on baking sheet to catch any juices that boil over, and place on the center rack of the preheated oven. Close the oven door and turn the heat down to 375º. Bake the tart for 45 minutes; if a pie, bake for 1 hour, or longer if necessary, until the apple juices are bubbly and the apples are very tender, offering no resistance at all when pierced with a skewer or toothpick. If the pastry is browning too much, cover loosely with foil.
- Cool on a wire rack, in the pan, for at least 1 hour. Serve warm or cold. Garnish with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche, if desired.