Celebrate the spoils of autumn with is this crisp, delicious dessert that pleases the eye and the palate.
*Serves about 8
All-Butter Pastry Dough
Combine using a fork or a whisk in a medium bowl:
2 ½ cups chilled all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
Add and cut in, using a pastry blender (or use the food processor method discussed above), until the butter chunks are the size of small peas and the mixture looks mostly consistent:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, well-chilled and cut into cubes (alternately, you can freeze the sticks of butter and grate them on the large holes of a box grater into the flour)
Add by the tablespoon, stirring with a fork, until the dough comes together in a shaggy mass:
About ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons ice water
Divide the dough in half, handling it as little as possible, and shape each half into a disc about 1 inch thick. Wrap each disc in plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or up to 3 days. You can also freeze the dough for up to a month
½ recipe All-Butter Pastry Dough with 1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary added if desired
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Roll out the dough and transfer to a tart pan or pie dish. Trim the edges and crimp as desired. Line the dough with parchment and fill with beans or weights. Bake for 28 minutes or until the edges of the crust are starting to brown and feel firm. Remove the weights, prick the bottom crust with a fork, and bake 10 more minutes or until dry to the touch and starting to brown.
Reduce the oven temperature to 350°F.
Combine in a saucepan:
1 quart (4 cups) applesauce
¼ to ½ cup brown sugar, depending on how sweet your applesauce is (taste it!)
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Zest of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon cardamom
Cook the applesauce until the butter is melted. If your applesauce is particularly watery, cook it down until the excess water has evaporated. Remove from the heat and add:
2 tablespoons bourbon
Pour the applesauce over the crust and smooth. Slice paper-thin (I used a mandoline, but a very sharp knife will work):
1 small, tart apple
Arrange the slices over the applesauce in a decorative pattern. Bake the tart until heated through and bubbly, about 30 to 40 minutes. Since the applesauce is already cooked, you don’t have to worry too much about the cooking time–cook it until it looks good to you.
Remove from the oven and brush with:
Let cool completely before slicing. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, or barely sweetened crème fraîche.
Image courtesy of John Becker