So, I’m pretty sure that I’m suffering from PIG. If you’re not familiar with this particular acronym (likely because I just made it up), it stands for “Pregnancy Induced Baking,” and I have it. Bad. In the past week I’ve made: pumpkin walnut muffins, pumpkin cornbread, chocolate pumpkin bread pudding, sweet potato pancakes, chicken pot pies (savory baking!) and this apple tart.
You can actually hear me gaining weight through the computer, can’t you? No amount of kale chips and quinoa power breakfast can balance this out. Oh well. I suppose its better than the chocolate malt and Shake Shack cravings I had while pregnant with Lillian. In Miami Beach. The bikini capital of Florida.
The truth is, now that my energy is returning, my nesting instincts are kicking in hard core. I’ve been cleaning things more than usual. Organizing forgotten shelves. Browsing the endless barrage of Land of Nod catalogs in our mailbox. But mostly baking. Because, lets be realistic. Cleaning and organizing doesn’t last long with Princess Super Lighting Bolt Lillian, Queen of Chaos reigning around.
At least with baking I get to enjoy the results for a few minutes. And boy was this tart fun to enjoy. Ain’t she purty?
Tarts are such pretty things, aren’t they? Honestly, I don’t know why I don’t make them more often except that if I’m going to bother making pastry dough I’m going pie. Double crust. Lattice top. Pie. All. The. Way. But there’s the beauty of this tart in particular. I made the crust using saltine crackers….at first because we were out of graham crackers but then as I was putting it together I realized how buttery and flaky it was going to be. Its like pastry crust without all the work. When it bakes, it comes out more crumbly in texture…similar to the graham cracker crust on a cheesecake…but boy is it good warm, with the yummy apples and a dollop of vanilla ice cream (or a dollop of freshly whipped cream). Next time, I’m thinking I might make a half batch of cheesecake filling to spread on the bottom of the crust before adding the apples, just for extra richness. But really, with a touch of ice cream or whipping cream, its not necessary. And what a lovely result. This would be a fun (and relatively simple) addition to a Thanksgiving dessert table, simply because its a bit different and unexpected. Perhaps I’ll make another one next week. Right after I bake a batch of oatmeal cookies, and a pie, or some cheesecake bars, or maybe some lava cakes…..
Apple Tart with Saltine Cracker Crust
Makes 1 9-inch tart
2 cups saltine cracker crumbs (about 1.5 sleeves of whole crackers)
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/8 cup tap water
2 pounds of apples (about 5 medium), cored, peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 1/2 cups apple cider (or apple juice)
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place saltines in the bowl of a food processor and process until evenly crushed and smooth. Add sugar and pulse to combine evenly. Pour melted butter and water (one tablespoon at a time) down the funnel with the food processor turned on, just until the mixture comes together into a dough. Turn off processor, scrape down sides and combine evenly using a spatula.
- Pour crust mixture into a tart pan and press evenly into the pan and up the sides using fingers. Once the crust is evenly pressed into place, prick the crust all over with a fork to create holes. Place crust in the refrigerator to chill while you prepare filling.
- Combine peeled, sliced apples, sugar and cinnamon in a large bowl. Use a wooden spoon or your hands to evenly mix the sugar and cinnamon with the apples. Remove crust from refrigerator.
- Begin arranging apples in overlapping layers, starting at the outside edge and working inward. Once apples are evenly arranged, brush the tops with melted butter.
- Place tart in the preheated oven and bake for 45 minutes, until crust is golden and apples are slightly bubbly at the bottom and golden on top. Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.
- To make glaze, combine apple cider and lemon juice in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture is thick and reduced to about a 1/3 cup. Keep warm over very low heat until tart comes out of the oven.
- Brush glaze over top of the tart as soon as it comes out of the oven. Cool completely.