Apple pie might be the ultimate comfort-food dessert, but that doesn't mean you have to make it the same way every time. This delicious tart, with its buttery crust and added richness of walnuts, is one tasty way to bring a fresh twist to the old Thanksgiving favorite.
- â…” cup chopped walnuts
- Â½ cup superfine sugar
- 1Â½ cups all-purpose flour or pastry flour, plus extra for dusting
- Â¼ tsp. salt
- Â½ cup plus 3 Tbsp. chilled butter, cubed
- 1 large egg
- 5 medium baking apples, peeled, cored and halved
- 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
- â…“ cup brown sugar, tightly packed
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- â…“ tsp. ground allspice
- Â¼ tsp. ground cardamom (optional)
- Tart crusts should be sturdier than ordinary pie crust, because tarts are usually removed from their pan before serving and must be able to hold together. If you opt for pastry flour in this recipe, the crust will be more delicate and crumbly, while all-purpose flour makes it more robust. If you opt to serve right from the pan, by all means, use pastry flour.
- The best baking apples hold their shape, even as they become tender, and are nicely balanced between tart and sweet. You might also mix tart and sweet apple varieties to achieve a similar effect. Each variety has its own unique taste, so combining two or more in your tart can give it a deeper, better-rounded flavor.
- If you don't have an 11" tart pan, or would simply prefer a more rustic-looking result, you can bake the tart as a free-form "galette." After you've rolled the tart dough on its piece of parchment, slide the parchment onto a baking sheet. Mound the apples in the middle of the dough, and fold the edges in by at least 2" on all sides to partially encase the fruit. Cover the open top with the walnut mixture and bake on the sheet pan until the crust is golden and the apples are tender.
Measure half of the walnuts into the bowl of your food processor with the superfine sugar, and pulse them a few times to make coarse crumbs. Add the flour and salt and pulse again to mix. Add Â½ cup of butter and continue pulsing until the mixture looks mealy and uneven, with no large pieces of butter remaining.
Add the egg and pulse until the dough just comes together. Turn the mass of dough onto a lightly floured counter and form it into a flat disc. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, preferably an hour or more.
Place the apple halves on your cutting board and cut them vertically into thin slices. Transfer the slices to a mixing bowl and toss them gently with the lemon juice to slow browning. Mix 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar with the spices and add this to the apples. Toss again so they’re lightly coated.
Place the remaining walnuts, flour, butter and brown sugar in your food processor and pulse a few times until the ingredients are all combined.
Heat your oven to 375Â°F. Remove the pastry dough from your refrigerator and let it rest at room temperature for 5 minutes, then roll it out on a lightly floured sheet of wax paper or parchment paper into a circle approximately 13″-14″ in diameter. Lift the dough by the edges of the paper, and position it over an 11″ tart pan. Slide the paper out from underneath so only the dough stays behind.
Press the dough into the bottom and sides of the pan, making sure it fills the fluted edges. Trim away any excess dough, using the scraps to fix any breaks or thin spots in the crust. Prick the dough in several places with a fork, then chill it in your freezer for 15 minutes.
Bake the crust for 15 minutes until it just begins to set. Remove it from the oven and fill it with the apples, spreading them evenly and making them as flat as possible. Scatter the walnut-crumb topping over the apples, then return the tart to the oven. Bake for another 25-30 minutes, or until the apples are tender (baking time varies depending on the apples you’ve chosen).
Remove your tart from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 20 minutes before lifting it from the pan by its removable bottom. Serve warm or reheated, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.