Mother Earth Living

A Farewell Feast: Rustic Apple Tart

This tart is as homey as it is tasty.
By Susan Belsinger
September/October 2004
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This tart needs no adornment, but it’s yummy when served with whipping cream or vanilla or butter-pecan ice cream.
Photo By Joe Coca

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Rustic Apple Tart
Makes 8 servings

This tart is as homey as it is tasty. It needs no adornment, but it’s yummy when served with whipping cream or vanilla or butter-pecan ice cream. Sometimes I serve the tart with very thin slices of sharp white cheddar cheese. I also like it for breakfast with plain yogurt.


1 3/4 cup unbleached white flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 pinches salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 to 1/2 cup ice water


6 apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 lemon, zested (save the zest) and halved
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon mace
1/4 teaspoon allspice
Scant teaspoon cloves
1 1/2 tablespoon flour
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour in the same bowl using two knives or a pastry cutter, or in a food processor with the steel blade. Add the smaller amount of ice water and stir with a fork, or pulse to mix. If a ball forms, don’t add the rest of the water, otherwise add it so that the dough comes together.

2. Turn the dough onto a floured surface and gather it into a ball. Work quickly and gently, kneading just a few times until the dough comes together. Place the dough on a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap, flatten it, and wrap it. Refrigerate the dough while preparing the apples.

3. As you peel and slice the apples into a large bowl, squeeze just a little lemon juice over each one. Sprinkle brown sugar, spices, and flour over the apples and add the remaining lemon juice and zest. Toss well to coat. Set aside while rolling out the crust.

4. Preheat the oven to 425°F.

5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface, creating a free form oval or rectangle about 15 by 18 inches. Gently fold the dough in half to lift it onto a baking sheet and open it to lay flat. Spread the apple mixture in the center of the dough, leaving about 2 inches of dough empty all around. Dot the apples with butter. Fold the edges in all around so that they overlap the apples and the apples in the center are showing.

6. Bake in a hot oven for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375°F. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes more. The crust should be golden brown, and the apples should be tender but not mushy when pierced with a knife. Remove baking sheet to cool on a baking rack. If you cut the tart when it’s hot, it will be runny. Serve warm or at room temperature.

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