So…It’s been a while…but I’m finally back to posting. It’s been a crazy few months in my life and I didn’t really have much time to do anything more than just breathe. Here’s the short list: I lost my teaching job due to budget cuts (thanks Kansas Department of Education for overspending your budgets, so you aren’t able keep all of your teachers to be able to properly educate your children; really great move on your part), budget cuts = no teaching jobs in Kansas, no teaching jobs = packing up all of my (and my boyfriend’s) stuff and moving to…drum roll please…Austin, Texas! We’re still unpacking, but have settled in quite nicely, so back to baking I go.
About once a week we have a “game night” with some friends of ours and I, of course, choose to bring dessert, while my boyfriend typically supplies the board games. (Don’t forget to check out his blog listed on my blogroll as “a blog by a boy”). The first dessert I ever made for game night was this Rustic Apple Tart. This type of tart can be found in many different European cultures and can be called about a dozen different names, but no matter what others call it, I just call it deliciously easy. It starts with a store bought pie crust (I’m still working on perfecting homemade) followed by a layer of cream cheese mixed with powdered sugar, then heaped with cinnamon scented apples, and topped with a sprinkling of cinnamon and sugar for good measure. Everyone loved it including our friend who doesn’t really like desserts all that much (I know! A sin, right?)
Here’s what you need:
1 refrigerated roll-out pie crust (from a package of two)
1 block cream cheese
2/3 cup powdered sugar
2-3 apples (I used fuji)
2 Tbls. butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 Tbls. cinnamon, divided
pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
Mandolin with a straight blade (optional)
Here’s what you do:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and grease a baking sheet. I prefer an AirBake cookie sheet because of its larger size, but whatever you have will work just fine.
Unroll one pie crust onto greased baking sheet making sure to flatten it out completely. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until well combined. As you can probably tell from previous posts, I like to pair sweetened cream cheese with fruit, but if you don’t, feel free to leave it out.* Spread the cream cheese mixture onto the pie crust leaving about a two-inch border.
Time to prepare the apples. Cut the apples into fourths and remove core and seeds. Using a mandolin slice the apples letting them drop into a bowl of cold water to prevent browning. If not using a mandolin, slice apples into 1/4 pieces. Melt butter into a large skillet over medium heat. Add brown sugar, 1 Tbls. cinnamon, pinch of salt, and 2 Tbls. flour. Stir to combine and cook until slightly bubbly. Remove the apples from the water, add them to the skillet, and turn to coat. Cook until apples are slightly tender and sauce is thick, about 8 minutes. Spoon apple mixture over the cream cheese leaving about 1/2 inch of cream cheese around the edge.
To form the edge of the tart, gently fold the exposed edges of the pie crust over the apple mixture being careful not to break the crust. You are wanting to encase the edge of the tart and crimp it slightly to keep the filling from leaking out while baking. Finish by combining the sugar and remaining 1 Tbls. cinnamon, brush the edges of the tart with water (I just use my fingers), and sprinkle the tart with the cinnamon and sugar mixture.
Bake at 400 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. When baked remove the pan to a cooling rack and let cool for about 5 minutes. Using a spatula (or two) carefully remove the tart to its serving try. To serve cut into slices and drizzle with a powdered sugar glaze, if desired.
*One of our friends doesn’t eat cheese, so I made a personal-sized tart for him without the cream cheese. I used the other crust from the package and cut it out into about an 8 inch round, filled it with apples, and baked it along with the large tart.