Apples and pears

Last weekend we had a great time (and great weather) picking apples and pears at a farm nearby. Elstar apples and Conference pears were in season — my favorite kinds! The fruit trees are pruned to be short, more like bushes, so it was easy for the kids, even the baby, to join in. We ended up with 11 kilos (!) of fruit, but I gotta say, it was really hard for the kids to stop adding to the bags. So, to use up some of this fruit, desserts are in order. I’ve re-posted one of my favorite recipes for Dutch appeltaart here. (Here’s the original post as well.)

Baby-sized Conference pears: perfect for snacking.

You must do a bit of taste-testing…

… and make sure to wear waterproof boots.

Short trees make you pick too many, of course.

A pear tree tipping under the weight of all that deliciousness.

Dutch Appeltaart
makes one 9-inch taart

For the crust:
2 cups all-purpose flour (300 grams)
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar (150 grams)
zest from one mandarin orange
1 teaspoon salt
12 tablespoons cold unsalted butter (about 175 grams), cut into 1/2-inch chunks
1 egg
1 slice white bread, processed into breadcrumbs in a food processor

For the filling:
2 pounds apples (I like Granny Smith for its texture and tartness)
4 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. Line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with parchment paper. Combine the flour, brown sugar, orange zest and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and cut it into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. (Alternatively, use a food processor.) Stir in the egg with a fork, then use your hands to knead the mixture until it resembles, well, a ball of dough. Flatten the dough into a 6-inch disk, wrap in cling wrap and place in refrigerator for at least an hour.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Roll out 3/4 of the dough between two sheets of cling wrap to about a 13-inch circle (set aside the other 1/4 of the dough for the top of the tart). Set it into the springform pan. Don’t worry if it tears; the dough is really forgiving, so just pat it into the bottom and sides of the pan. Scatter the breadcrumbs along the bottom of the tart crust. Place it into the refrigerator while preparing the filling.
  3. Core and peel the apples. Divide each apple into 16 slices. (Place the apples in a bowl of ice water so they don’t turn brown.) Drain the apple slices and combine with the cornstarch, salt, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla.
  4. Roll out the remaining crust dough into strips to create a lattice-like top. (Don’t worry about making it perfect– it’ll sort of ‘melt’ in the oven anyway.)
  5. Place the apple mixture (but make sure not to include the accumulated liquid) into the tart crust and lay the lattice-dough-strips on top.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 50 minutes. Remove and cool on a cooling rack– once it’s cooled to room temperature, remove the springform sides. Serve with sweetened whipped cream.

: Original post of Appeltaart: apple pie, Dutch stylie