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Rustic Apple Tarts

Abandon your pie plates!  You won’t need them when you bake Rustic Apple Tarts.  This recipe can be handy at the cottage or anywhere there are limited cookwares, and is really a lot of fun to make because the tarts don't need to be pretty.

If you’re baking in a pizza oven or countertop convection oven, you can prepare five of these at a time so that they are always fresh when served.  The pastry dough keeps well in the refrigerator until needed, stored in a glass tumbler or stein.  Makes roughly 15 tarts in total.

Rustic Apple Tart

Filling

7-8 medium apples (Royal Gala, Golden Delicious, Cortland, Fuji, or a blend of these)

1 tbls cinnamon

1 pinch cloves

¼ cup Demerara sugar

¼ cup flour

sliced almonds for garnish

Pastry

2 ½ cups flour

½ cup ice water

1 tsp vinegar

1 tsp fine sugar

½ tsp salt

1/3 cup lard, chilled

4 tbls butter, chilled

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In a measuring cup, whisk the cold water, vinegar, and sugar until dissolved.  Store in the refrigerator until needed.  Measure the flour and cut in the chilled lard to resemble pea-sized crumbles.  Cut in the chilled butter and then mix in the water using just enough to make the dough come together in a ball.

Roll the pastry dough into a log that will fit inside a tumbler or stein.  Wrap it snugly in pastic wrap and twist the ends.  Slide the log into your tumbler and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour.

Peel and core the apples, then slice them in the food processor or thinly by hand.  Mix together the flour, sugar, and spices and toss with the apple slices to coat thoroughly.  If you like, you can add a few tablespoons of dried fruit, such as cranberries, raisins, or cherries.  Set aside.

Slice a disk from the pastry log roughly 3/8” thick.  On a lightly floured board, roll out thinly.  If your apples are juicy, you can brush the crust with soft butter or even sprinkle a little extra flour over.  Use tongs to place enough apple mixture to mound nicely in the middle of the pastry.  Draw up the rough edges and crimp them securely around the filling. Sprinkle with sliced almonds and place on a baking sheet.

Continue with as many tarts as you need at the time, and bake in a conventional oven or countertop oven preheated to 425° F; after a few minutes, reduce the heat to 350° F and bake until nicely browned, usually around 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly before serving.  These will cool much more quickly than a pie will.

Store leftover apples in a sealed container in the refrigerator until needed.  The pastry can remain in the twisted plastic wrap in a tumbler refrigerated until required.  This recipe is a great one to have almost ready when people drop by on short notice!

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