We live on an old apple orchard in a small town, 30 minutes east of Seattle. All that remains of this orchard on our property are 6 ancient apple trees of indeterminate variety that are quite literally on their last legs. Each year during apple season I’m always amazed how much fruit these very neglected trees produce and while I promise myself that this will be the year to rent a cider press, or can applesauce, I’m never quite able to get ahead of the hungry animals that show up each night to feast on their bounty.
The trees have their issues, covered in moss and blight, left unpruned and largely ignored, they soldier on, despite everything. When September arrives the deer come to dine on whatever has fallen to the ground, and the bears climb on the brittle limbs breaking them in their efforts to reach the fruit highest in the tree.
One very large and determined bear, pushed a neighbors 30+ year old tree to the ground last weekend, uprooting it cleanly and picking it clean. I could only think to myself, that that bear must be incredibly large and very, hungry.. It was a good reminder to us that while fun to look at out our window, black bears are incredibly dangerous and brutally strong animals.
The neighbor at the end of our road had an Alpaca that was horribly mauled by a bear earlier this summer. Shocking to everyone, as the woods that border our properties are thick with berries, and the streams full of fish. It is all part and parcel of living in the country, and we take it in stride. All of us in our neighborhood do our part to prevent bears from getting into garbage, or feeling too welcome near people.
So in an effort to beat the bears, I made it my mission to pick as many apples that I could reasonably use this week, and decided that they would be a perfect addition to among other things, this Alsatian Apple Tart. This tart recipe comes from the new and beautiful cookbook, Taste of Washington: Favorite Recipes from the Evergreen State, written by chef, and food writer Michele Morris. Last month Michele was gracious enough to send a copy of the book to me and I was thrilled to receive it.
Bursting with fantastic recipes from Washington State restaurants and chefs the book is simply outstanding. Using regional and seasonal ingredients many of the recipes highlight the unique and very best of Pacific Northwest cuisine. Gorgeous recipes, like Geoduck Saute, Baked Halibut with Morels, Ramps and Smoked Bacon Butter Sauce, Crispy Walla Walla Sweet Onions, and one particular recipe that I can’t wait to try, Pine and Spruce Smoked Salmon with Clam, Parsley and Lime Chowder.
I’m equally thrilled to get the chance to meet Michele this weekend at the International Food Bloggers Conference here in Seattle. This conference will be my first. After blogging for more than 3 years I’ve decided it’s time to attend a conference and I couldn’t be more happy that it’s one hosted right in my own backyard. I’m planning on wearing my comfy pants this weekend as I’m sure I’ll be eating, eating, eating. I can hardly wait! I’ll be sure to fill you all in on how it went next week.
I must say the apples from my trees tasted especially fantastic in this tart. Made all the better due to the fact that I was able to beat the bears to get them. Tart, firm and the perfect foil for the deliciously flaky crust and can I just say, Brown Butter Ice Cream?? Smokes.. Buttery, slightly lemony and definitely made to go with this tart.
I received a free copy of this cookbook but no compensation for this post. All opinions stated are my own.
- Alsatian Apple Tart with Brown Butter Ice Cream
- Recipe used with permission from Farcountry Press and Michele Morris
- Alsatian Apple Tart
- 1/2 Cup butter
- 1/2 Cup cream cheese
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 Cup sugar
- 1 Cup heavy cream
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- salted caramel for garnish if desired
- Brown Butter Ice Cream
- 1 C. butter
- 2 C. whole milk
- 2 C. heavy cream
- 8 egg yolks
- 1 C. granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 lemon, juiced
- For the Tart: Cream the butter, cheese, and salt together in a mixer or food processor. Add the flour and mix or pulse just until the dough comes together into a ball. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a thin round disk.
- Press the dough into an 11 " tart pan with a removable bottom, carefully pressing the dough evenly up the edges. Trim off any excess dough and place the tart on a baking sheet.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Peel, core and quarter the apples. Place the apples into the tart shell, overlapping as you go, as the apples with shrink while they bake. Sprinkle with the 2 Tbsp. sugar and bake for 20 minutes.
- Whisk together the eggs, sugar, cream, nutmeg and cinnamon and pour over the apples in the tart. Return the tart to the oven and cook until the custard is set, 45-50 minutes. Cool slightly before slicing and serving. Top tart with brown butter ice cream and garnish with salted caramel sauce. * I brushed the tart with 3 T. apricot jam, heated for 1 minute in the microwave, to provide extra shine.
- Heat a small pan of medium-high heat, melt the butter, and continue cooking until browned, about 5 minutes, taking care not to burn the milk solids. Cool the butter slightly, and then strain and discard the solids.
- Combine the milk and cream in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat and heat to scalding. Beat the egg yolks and sugar together, and then add the butter, salt, and lemon juice and mix until incorporated. Whisk the hot milk into the yolks a little at a time until fully mixed. Return the mixture to the saucepan and cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon about 5 minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.
- Freeze the mixture in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturers directions, and then transfer to a covered container and freeze completely in the freezer.