Apple Cranberry Tart
* 1 (one) recipe for 9-inch tart dough
* 3-4 medium apples; Golden Delicious or Granny Smiths are good. Mix and match is fine.
* 1/2 cup sugar plus more for sprinkling
* 1/2 tsp cinnamon
* pinch kosher salt
* 1/2 tsp lemon
* 1/4 cup cranberry sauce
* 3 tbsp unsalted butter
* 2 tbsp apricot jelly (optional)
Special Equipment: 10" tart pan with removable bottom, pie weights or dried beans
1. FOR THE DOUGH: On a floured board (or alternately, between two pieces of parchment) roll out the chilled dough very thin, 1/8-inch or so, until it is large enough to fit into a 10" tart pan. Fit the dough into the tart pan, making sure to press it gently but firmly into the corners and up the sides. Trim the top. Place the tart on a rimmed baking sheet, and place that in the refrigerator for at least a half-hour.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Remove the tart from the refrigerator. Line it with a piece of tin foil, then add the pie weights or dried beans (I use a one pound bag of dried beans). Spread the weight evenly around, making sure to push them to the edges. Bake the tart crust for 18-22 minutes (or thereabouts), until the edges just slightly pull away from the sides and it starts to look lightly golden. Remove the weights from the tart, prick the bottom of the tart several times with a fork, and continue baking for 5-8 more minutes, or until the tart gets a little more golden. Remove from the oven.
3. FOR THE FILLING: While the tart is parbaking, peel the apples and slice them into thin wedges, about 1/8-inch thick. Toss them (GENTLY - don't break them) with the sugar, cinnamon, salt and lemon juice to combine. Let them sit for twenty minutes or so, until the apples soak up some flavor and release some liquid.
4. ASSEMBLY: Spread the cranberry sauce in a thin layer around the bottom of the tart. Drain the apples and arrange the slices in concentric rings, going three-four layers high (this is a light dessert, but even though the apples have already given up some of their moisture, they'll reduce even further in the oven. You want there to still be a decent amount of apple). Dot the top of the apples with chunks of butter and sprinkle with sugar.
4. Bake at 375 for another 20-25 minutes or so, or until the apples have cooked and started to turn golden brown. If you have some apricot jelly, heat it in a small saucepan or in the microwave until loose. Then brush it on the apples in a light layer, and put the tart back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes; this will give it a nice sheen and another layer of flavor. If not, you might want to brush it with a little bit of butter again towards the end. Be mindful that the edges of the apples on the top layer do not burn.
5. Remove from the oven and let cool on a rack for ten minutes. Remove from the tart pan and let cool to room temperature. Serve with a dollop of creme fraiche or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
NOTES: This gets that much easier if you've done some work ahead of time. If you're at all serious about baking, you should have some pie or tart dough already in the freezer. It keeps very well, and if you're going to make one batch, you might as well make three batches and freeze some for later. Once you roll out the dough and get it into the pan, you can leave it in the refrigerator for up to two days (I'd put it in a zip-top bag if I'm going to leave it that long) or in the freezer for even longer. The apples can be peeled and sliced ahead of time; keep them in a bowl of cold water with a little lemon juice - they won't turn brown. Cranberries are for more than Thanksgiving - if you don't have any cranberry sauce, making some from scratch is ridiculously easy. But if you don't want to go to that trouble, you can use any other sweet-tart preserve/relish, such as strawberry or apricot. Just make sure you don't use so much that it overpowers the apples.
Pairs Well With
There's nothing special about this tart - it was born out of a desire to use up some apples, some tart dough I had in the freezer, and some cranberries. It comes together incredibly fast (even faster if you've got some of the ingredients prepped already), and I was pleasantly surprised at how elegant it turned out.