It’s time to go apple picking. I’m tired of you city folk who’re too cool for basket weaving or hayrides. When’s the last time you put on a wooly sweater and overalls for an old-fashioned day of gathering? We’ve evolved into a multi-tasking mass of urban overachievers, who can’t perform the most basic of tasks: building fires, scouting for wild mushrooms and of course, boar hunting.
New York State is home to dozens of apple orchards, each with its own varieties: Cortland, Fuji, Gala, McIntosh, Rome, the list goes on. Many of the orchards invite visitors to fill baskets with ripe apples and then drop them in a community bin, while others allow you to take your trappings home. For orchards near you, check out www.nyapplecountry.com.
For all of the bakers hiding out in this city, give this tart recipe a try. The finished product is gorgeous! And they make pretty sweet homemade gifts.
1 1/4 cup flour
A pinch of salt
1/2 cup cold butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup of ice cold water
Egg wash (one raw, stirred egg and a little water)
4 apples peeled, cored (any kind) and placed in lemon water to prevent browning
1 bowl lemon water (the juice from one lemon and plenty of cold water)
3 tablespoons raw sugar
A pinch of cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour and salt in a bowl. Add the butter and crumble it in your fingers until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Dribble the ice water into the bowl and begin to knead the dough. Once a ball forms, dump it onto a floured surface and continue to knead the dough into a tight ball. Wrap it in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice the apples as thinly as you can. Toss with the raw sugar and cinnamon.
Remove the dough from the fridge. Cut it into four equal pieces. Use a rolling pin to roll each out into a rough circle a 1/4-inch thick. Brush the center with the egg wash and then fan the apple slices out in a circle. Fold the edges in on themselves, synching the dough as you go. Brush the crust with egg wash. Repeat with the other three pieces of dough. Place the tarts on a buttered sheet in the pre-heated oven for 1/2 hour or until the edges begin to brown. Remove, cool and serve with vanilla ice cream. One bite and you’re back at the orchard.