Soon after Ted and I moved to Boston's South End in 1980, we met a woman who lived on Fort Hill, a middle class, not-yet-gentrified enclave of brick row houses in the midst of the low-income, mostly black and Hispanic Roxbury neighborhood. She invited us to dinner, and we had a lovely evening. Then, we called a taxi to pick us up. Our host laughed, and said no cabs would come to her neighborhood at that time of night. She was right, as it turned out, and we waited an uncomfortably long hour-plus until one finally arrived. Fortunately, our awkward exit isn't all I remember about that night; I remember the apple tart she made for dessert. This is it, a bare-bones, apple-lover's, no-gooey-pastry-cream tart best made with crisp apples (and equally delicious made with sweet pears). If you've spent any time here in The Perfect Pantry, you know I don't bake. In fact, I'm a bake-o-phobe. So, when I tell you this pretty tart is super quick and easy, believe me. You can do it.
Quick and easy apple or pear tart
2 tart apples (Granny Smith, Macoun, Jonathan, etc.), cored (do not peel) and thinly sliced; or 2 large Bartlett pears, cored and thinly sliced
Juice of 1 lemon
1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 sheet puff pastry, defrosted according to package directions
2 tsp butter, melted
2 Tbsp granulated sugar
Preheat oven to 375°F.
In a mixing bowl, combine the apple slices and lemon juice, and toss gently. Set aside.
Scatter the flour on your counter top, and unroll the puff pastry on the flour. With a rolling pin, lightly roll out the creases in the pastry. If there's a small hole, push the pastry together with your fingers to patch it.
Fit the pastry into an 8-inch round, or square or rectangular, tart pan, preferably one with a removable bottom. Press the pastry into all corners of the pan and up the sides, with the excess hanging over the edge. Run your rolling pin across the top of the tart pan to cut the excess away (discard the trimmings, or use for mini tartlets).
With two forks, prick the bottom of the tart dough all over. Don't be shy; make lots of pricks, as these will keep the dough from rising.
Remove the apple slices from the bowl, and arrange them in the bottom of the tart. Paint the fruit with the melted butter, and sprinkle the sugar evenly over the apples.
Bake for 30 minutes.
Remove the tart from the oven and let it sit on a wire rack for 10 minutes or longer. Remove the outer ring from the pan (sit the whole thing on a can, and the ring will fall away), and place on a serving plate. Serve in wedges, warm or at room temperature.
More apple goodness:
Apple spice cake, from The Perfect Pantry
As-American-as apple pie, from The Perfect Pantry
Apple cinnamon buttermilk cake, from Pinch My Salt
Apple turnover panini, from Panini Happy