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Rustic Apple Tart with Rich Cream Cheese Crust

Makes 4 to 6 servings.

I've come to rely on this recipe not only because it is super simple but because everyone loves it. The cream cheese dough is not rolled but simply pressed into a rough round. The apples don't have to be precooked. The combination of tart apples and rich, tangy dough is irresistible.

For the filling:

  • 2 large tart apples, such as Granny Smiths
  • 2 tablespoons strained fresh lemon juice
  • 1?4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1?4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 recipe Rich Cream Cheese Tart Dough, rolled into one 10-inch or 4 small crusts, and chilled for at least 1 hour
  • 1 large egg yolk, lightly beaten whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (optional)
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Make the filling: Peel the apples and cut them in half. Remove the cores with a paring knife. Cutting from blossom end to stem end, slice each half into 1?4-inch-thick slices.

3. Combine the apple slices with the lemon juice, 1?4 cup of the sugar, and the cinnamon in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Let the apples stand until the sugar is dissolved, about 15 minutes, stirring once or twice.

4. Place a shaped large dough round on a baking sheet. Arrange the apple slices in 2 concentric circles on the large dough round or in one circle on the small rounds, overlapping the apple slices slightly. Brush the rim of the crust with the egg yolk. Sprinkle the apples with the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. Bake until golden, 30 to 35 minutes.

Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or ice cream on the side.

Rustic Apple Tart is best served on the day it is made.

A good excuse to make Rustic Apple Tart with Rich Cream Cheese Crust: If I'm having eight or fewer people for Thanksgiving, I might double this recipe and make eight individual tarts. The dough can be made and shaped weeks ahead of time, and the rest of the prep is minimal, leaving lots of time to prepare the rest of the meal.

Excerpted from Mom's Big Book of Baking, by Lauren Chattman. ©2001, used by permission from The Harvard Common Press.

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