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November 7, 2012

Edible Objective:
You Decide Apple Pear Tart

BY
BRAD MERCIL

You Decide Apple Pear Tart
Thanksgiving is coming up so I thought I would write about something you could make for the holiday. I've been making an apple pear tart that is easy to execute yet it looks like you've spent considerable a amount of time cooking it.

Although, tarts and pies share a lot in common, there is some gray area between the two. Tarts generally have one crust while pies have two crusts that completely incase the fruit filling. Pie crust uses plain pastry while a tart crust is made from a sweet cookie-like pastry. Fruit tarts usually take two forms. Fresh fruit and pastry cream is baked right in the tart crust, or the pastry cream is added after the tart has baked and allowed to cool. Alternatively, the crust is baked then fresh fruit is artfully arranged on the baked crust and then topped with a simple glaze of apricot jam or jelly and water. The glaze gives the unbaked fruit a shinny finish. This technique is called "miroir" and comes from the French word word for mirror.

You Decide Apple Pear Tart
My apple pear tart lands squarely in the gray area between the tart and pie as it has elements of both. It uses a single crust like a tart, then uses fruit that is prepared almost like a pie filling. I like to keep the crust rustic looking and will roll it out so that it folds over the filling in several places.

I use a combination of apples in this recipe, one variety should be sweet the other should be tart. I'll often use Golden Delicious for sweet and Granny Smith for tart. Just see what varieties your favorite grocery store has and pick out what you think would work best. Or, use whatever happens to be in your fruit bowl. The last player in this combination is a pear, the pear brings just enough juice and sweetness to pull the apples together. When I mix the apples and pear I do this ahead of time so that they have time to develop a natural sauce while I'm working on the tart crust.

This is the kind of recipe that is right in my wheelhouse. It's easy to make and you can use up items that are sitting around in your fruit bowl.

So let's get started... ..

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Apple Pear Tart

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*****Ingredients for fruit filling*****

3 Golden Delicious apples
2 Granny Smith apples
1 Bartlett or Red Bartlett pear
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash nutmeg (optional)
1 egg white

*****Preparation*****

Pre heat oven to 425 degrees. Peel all of the fruit then cut into thin slices about 1/4 of an inch thick. Place fruit slices in a glass bowl add sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg if desired. Allow to sit while the tart crust is prepared. Once tart crust is placed in tart pan or pie pan add the fruit mixture and then fold the excess crust over the fruit. In a small bowl, whip egg white with a fork. Brush egg white on fruit slices and crust.

*****Ingredients for crust*****

1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons chilled unsalted butter cut into small pieces
6 tablespoons ice water
1 inch tart pan or pyrex pie pan

*****Preparation*****

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cup and level with knife. Combine flour and salt in mixer for 30 seconds. Add butter, incorporate until mixture resembles coarse meal. With mixer on, add ice water. Press mixture into a 4 inch circle on plastic wrap, cover and place in freezer for 15 minutes.

You Decide Apple Pear Tart
Slightly overlap 2 lengths of plastic wrap on a damp surface so that you can roll out dough to form a 14 inch circle. Unwrap chilled dough, and place on overlapped plastic wrap. Cover with 2 additional lengths of overlapping plastic wrap. Roll the dough out into a 14 inch circle.

You Decide Apple Pear Tart
Place the rolled dough with plastic wrap on a cookie sheet and return to freezer for 5 minutes until plastic wrap can be removed easily. Remove top plastic wrap sheets and with plastic side up press into a tart pan or pie pan. Remove second layer of plastic wrap then fold excess dough over fruit filling to form an edge.

Bake in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes, allow to cool completely before serving.

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