Admittedly, I am a grazer favoring vegetables and dessert, but not necessarily in that order. If I could make this dessert into a turkey shape, I would be happy to swap it for the main course next year. With Thanksgiving under our belts, literally, the only turkey I want to see is on a napkin. I am officially pardoning all turkeys until then. You may think I am a turkey for saying that, but with Christmas around the corner, I am joyously anticipating some serious dessert-making.
Could be I’m whining because I overindulged and have less than a month to fit back into my elastic-waisted eating pants. I even spared you all those tips and ideas of what to do with leftover turkey. Whether you made carb-laden Turkey Panini (still a sandwich) or Turkey Tetrazzini, it’s still turkey. Then you go take a nap.
So by now my thoughts wander off to desserts….no surprise. Not exactly diet food, but a little bit will make you happy. That counts for something, right? We enjoyed all sorts of different Italian and Polish desserts growing up and I swore each was my favorite until mom made a different one. But as Christmas approaches, this Polish delight comes to mind. Dad and I always fought over the last few crumbs. His sweet tooth was bigger than mine, so he always won.
This tart recipe has a buttery melt-in-your mouth short crust with an apple center. It will look beautiful on your holiday table – or any time for that matter. And unlike turkey, no one will ever tire of it, so make two….or three (so you can hide one for yourself.)
For the Crust:
2 sticks unsalted European butter at room temperature
1 cup fine sugar
2 Tbs. vanilla extract
5 large egg yolks
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 beaten egg for top brushing
vanilla sanding sugar for top of crust
Cream the butter and sugar until fluffy with paddle attachment in an electric mixer. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the vanilla extract and blend in. Slowly add the flower and salt and mix until incorporated. Transfer half of the mixture (which will be pliable) by hand into a round buttered tart pan (or 8 inch buttered square pan is OK). Press evenly with fingers making sure dough reaches the edges of the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. After it has cooled, add the apple filling you pre-made below and spread evenly. With remaining half of the dough, (you may need to refrigerate for a few minutes to handle it better), roll it out into a round shape and place on top of the apple mixture. Don’t worry if pieces break or split, you can shape handfuls of the dough and gently push edges together once dough softens again. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour to firm up and then criss-cross the top with fork tines. Brush the top with beaten egg wash for gloss and browning. Sprinkle with vanilla sanding sugar for crunch. Bake in pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until golden on top.
For the Apple Filling:
4 peeled , cored and sliced semi-tart apples (I use combination of Honey Crisp and Granny Smith)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbs. butter
juice of 1/2 lemon
Prepare apple filling by melting the butter and sugar in a saute pan until it begins to caramelize. Add the sliced apples and simmer on low until softened slightly. Add the cinnamon and squeezed half lemon, stir and set aside to cool.