I couldn’t be more pleased to do a guest post for Shea and her Dixie Chik Cooks. I’ve loved her blog for a long time because not only are her recipes and photos good, the girl’s got sass. I love that. We should all have that no-nonsense attitude when it comes to cooking.
Since Shea is a true Southern Belle, I’m going to post a REALLY southern recipe. None of that deep south stuff, we’re going all the way south to Australia. I’m a Yank in Oz and I got this recipe for an apple tart from my mother-in-law who said, “Doesn’t everyone use applesauce in their apple tarts?”
It’s interesting to see what people think of Americans when they’ve never visited the states and only have the occasional TV show to judge all of us. I live in Australia and I love it here but my brain is American.
When I first moved to Australia my future mother-in-law was reluctant to meet me. She assumed I chewed gum, spoke irreverently and used slang all the time – just like those TV shows. I told J that if she met me she’d like me. Eventually that day came and we’re the best of friends now.
We took “the olds” (yes, that’s what we lovingly refer to them as) to the states several years ago and it was a true eye opener for them.
“Everyone is so nice.”
“I can’t get over the service in a restaurant!”
“It’s so green and beautiful.”
“New York City is really clean and everyone is so friendly.”
I wanted to say, “Told you so,” but decided I wanted to stay in their good graces. I just smiled and said, “Americans are good people.”
While I’ve always been a pretty good cook, I love learning new recipes, ingredients or methods of cooking that differ from the way my mother taught me to cook. When my mother-in-law invited me to cook with her one day I jumped at the chance. We made this apple tart together and it’s been a favorite of mine ever since..
Start by making the pastry. This is my standard pastry that makes enough dough for two tarts. If you have one you like, it will work just fine for this tart.
Tart Pastry (from Cook’s Illustrated)
2 1/2 cups (12 1/2 oz. or 355 grams) all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbs sugar
6 oz (170 grams) of cold butter cut into small pieces
1/2 cup (104 grams) of shortening
1/4 cup cold vodka
1/4 cup very cold water
In a food processor, combine 1 1/2 cups of flour, salt and sugar and process in 2 one-second pulses.
Add the butter and shortening and process until the dough starts to form uneven clumps. This takes about 15 seconds and will look like cottage cheese and there is no visible flour.
Scrape the bowl and distribute the dough evenly around the blade.
Add the remaining cup of flour and pulse until the mixture is evenly distributed. Only 4 to 6 quick pulses.
Dump the mixture into a bowl and sprinkle the vodka and water over the mixture.
Important: Use a rubber spatula and fold and press until the dough sticks together.
Divide the dough into two and form two flat disks. Wrap and place in the fridge for 30-45 minutes (or up to 2 days)
Making the Tart
2 cups apple sauce (needs to be sweet and tastes really good with a bit of cinnamon)
1 tbs demerara sugar
1 tbs lemon juice
1/2 cup apricot preserves heated
Pre-heat oven to 400F or 200C.
Roll out the dough and place in a tart pan with a removable bottom (you can use anything you want but this pan makes placing the tart on the plate really easy)
Prick the bottom and place in refrigerator to chill.
Peel and cut the apples in half and remove the core.
Slice thinly and toss with lemon juice to prevent discoloration.
Retrieve the tart crust and smooth the applesauce over the bottom.
Lay the apple slices in a nice pattern on top of the apple sauce.
Sprinkle with demerara sugar and place in the oven. Reduce the heat to 375F or 190C and bake until golden brown. My oven took about 40 minutes.
Brush the apples with the heated apricot preserves.