It's been crazy around here lately. There has been lots of business stuff going on, spring cleaning, wrapping up all the loose ends of our school year, planning for our next school year and graduating our first homeschool student. Whew. I need a nap.
Before I crash (or at least day dream about living a life that actually allowed for down time), I will let you in on a little secret for how to appear like you spend oodles of time creating delicious food when in reality, you slam out your meals in a hurry.
Enter the Rustic Apple-Cranberry Tart.
Really, you could use any fruit. Just adjust your sweetener and spices to suit the fruit you plan to use. Peaches would be lovely in this. This looks fantastic when you present it at the dinner table -- like you spent a lot of time. It's guaranteed to get "ooh's" and "ahh's". You alone will know how easy it was.
I'll give you the recipe at the bottom of the post, but lets go through the process first:
In a large bowl, just mix up your fruit, sweetener and spices.
Set aside while you work on your pastry.
To make a tender pastry, cut your cold fats into your flour mixture until it is well combined and resembles bread crumbs. Then add your liquid in the center and mix with a fork until just combined. If you overwork your dough, it will be tough. Being tough has it's place, but not in your pastry.
Spray a cast iron skillet (you could use something else, but cast iron does the job very well).
Roll out the dough until it is about 6 inches larger in diameter than your pan.
People make it seem so difficult to make your own pie pastry, but really, it is so simple. I roll mine out between two sheets of wax paper and flip my pastry over from time to time as I roll it. With it rolled between wax paper, I have no issues with it sticking to the rolling pin or tearing as I try to move it.
Once you have the pastry to the right size, peel the top sheet of wax paper off the pastry and gently flip the pastry and center it over your pan. Now you can peel the other layer of wax paper off the pastry. My pastry tore just a bit due to the fact that I used a mix of unusual gluten-free flours which made it more brittle. (Tasted great, though. And this is a rustic tart, remember? So the imperfections only add to its appeal.) Because so many folks are apprehensive about working with pie crusts, I will give you my regular (and easier to work with) pastry recipe below.
You're almost done. If you have any obvious extra long areas of pastry, you can trim it a little more evenly, but it really isn't necessary. Now just dump the fruit mixture in there and sort of fold the pastry up and over the fruit. No perfection needed here. Just flip it up and fold it over. If you have a pastry tear, just pinch it together and move on with your life.
Now, if you want to get fancy, or at least make it look like you did, beat an egg with about a tablespoon of milk. Brush it on the pastry part with a pastry brush. Sprinkle some course evaporated cane juice sugar on there.
Done. Pop it in the oven according the recipe below, and enjoy. If you happen to have some freshly churned vanilla ice cream you can put a dollop on each plate as you serve your Rustic Tart. Mmmm.
And now for the recipe:
Rustic Apple-Cranberry Tart
Preheat oven to 350 F.
3-4 baking apples
1-2 cups fresh cranberries (I always keep some frozen in my freezer)
1 cup evaporated cane juice sugar
1 tsp. real vanilla
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
dash sea salt
Mix and let sit while you work on your pastry. Just before you pour fruit into your pastry, add:
2-4 Tbsp unbleached flour (more for juicier fruit, less for dryer fruit. You want your fruit to still be juicy, but not watery anymore.)
2 1/4 cups unbleached flour (I used a homemade gluten-free flour blend for this and needed to add extra water at the end.)
1 heaping Tbsp. sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
9 Tbsp cold butter (no substitutes)
1/4 cup coconut oil (at a cool, but not cold temperature, so that it is semi-hard, and not liquid)
4-5 1/2 Tbsp ice water (the colder, the better)
Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter or two forks. Add the coconut oil and continue cutting in until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Sprinkle in ice cold water 1 Tbsp at a time, tossing and compacting the mixture with a fork as you go. After the 4th Tbsp, add the water in small sprinkles until the dough just holds together. Knead dough once. Do not overwork the dough, or it will become tough. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for 15-20 minutes before using (unless you're like me and you're too impatient to wait. In that case, skip the chilling step and proceed. But don't tell Martha Stewart.) Roll out between two sheets of wax paper to desired size. This is enough for two pie pastries or one cast iron tart pastry (with a little leftover, depending on the size of your pan.)
Assemble according to the pictures in the post. Dump in your fruit, fold pastry over, brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with course evaporated cane juice sugar. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the filling is bubbly and the crust is golden brown. Cool and enjoy!
Have a great day!
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