have been working to find my zen recently, and one practice I have taken away from my yoga sessions is that of gratitude. Thanksgiving reminds us to be grateful out loud. So what better way to express my gratitude for those in my life than with a Friendsgiving!? Nothing says thank you for being you like a heaping plate of homemade food, some booze, and a rustic apple tart.
As this was Alex and my first Friendsgiving, and we had many-a food group to tackle. I wanted to find a recipe that would be simple so we could stay laser-focused on the mysterious process of brining a turkey and somehow deriving gravy from said salty bird. I came across this recipe from Jacques Pépin on FoodandWine.com.
While I am a fan of pie, there can be a lot of variables involved in creating the perfect balance of a flaky crust with a filling that’s just the right consistency. This tart takes out all of that guess work and leaves you with a heartwarming dessert that any pie-lover would rave about.
Start by making a traditional pie dough. To be sure everything stays flaky once it bakes, measure out your ingredients and pop everything (flour and all) in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
Once the dough just starts to come together, stop adding liquid and turn it out onto a flat surface. Give it a knead or two just to form a ball. You still want to see chunks of butter marbled throughout the dough. What is great about this recipe is that this dough does not require additional refrigeration before rolling out for use!
However, if you are preparing ahead of your turkey day feast, you can refrigerate the plastic-wrapped dough for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months. If you plan to freeze, I recommend wrapping in an additional layer of foil to protect it from the elements. Defrost the dough for about a day in the fridge and from the fridge, place on the counter for about 30-45 minutes before rolling out.
This recipe calls for Golden Delicious apples that lend a sweet, slightly tart, and almost buttery flavor to the tart. This variety holds its shape and texture nicely without needing to add too much sweetener to counter the tartness found in other varieties like Granny Smith (though you really could select your favorite variety for this pie and adjust sweetness to taste). Because this recipe comes together so quickly, no need to take any precautions from your apples browning. Simply peel, slice and lay out on the dough.
Channel your baking zen as you start layering the apple slices in concentric circles starting with the outside, leaving about 3 inches of dough around the edge. I broke up an apple slice into small bits to create the center of the tart. Fold over your dough edges to create a cozy little swaddle for the slices, bush remaining melted butter over apples, brush crust with egg wash, and sprinkle the tart with coarse sugar.
After your tart transforms into a delectable, golden apple pizza, let it cool on a wire rack and brush the whole tart with melted apricot preserves. This adds a touch of flavor and eye-catching shine! Serve it up warm or cold. It is delicious either way with a dollop of cardamom cayenne whipped cream.
Here is a peek at our Friendsgiving table. As this was the first large-ish gathering at our house, we borrowed a table and set up each place setting with somewhat matching plates, cups, and silverware. We used our coffee table which is also conveniently an Ikea bench for extra seating. Part of the fun is in pulling together what you have and remembering that as long as everyone has a fork, they’ll be happy!
Not looking to break the bank to host our friends, we hit up Amazon for the essentials like a turkey thermometer and cloth napkins, used leftover gourds from Halloween for the centerpiece decor and hand wrote some name cards and tucked atop some mini pinecones I found at Michaels. I used cooking twine to wrap up the bowtie-inspired napkins.
One trick I love for handwriting place cards (or anything requiring some stylish appeal) is hopping on a font site like DaFont.com, typing the name in the preview section, tracing from my computer screen, then outlining with a felt tip calligraphy marker.
I hope this inspires you to host your own Friendsgiving and share your love of baking with those that you know love eating it! Happy Thanksgiving neighbors!
- In a food processor, pulse 1 and 1/2 cups flour with salt. Toss bowl of food processor in freezer along with 1 and 1/2 sticks butter and 1/3 cup cold water for 10 minutes. Remove ingredients from freezer, reattached bowl of food processor. Add cold butter and process until the butter is the size of peas, about 5 seconds. Sprinkle the ice water over the mixture and process until just moistened and the dough starts to come together, about 5 seconds.
- Transfer the dough to a lightly floured work surface and knead 2 or 3 times, just until it comes together, leaving marbles of butter throughout. Pat the dough into a disk. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out the dough into a 16- to 17-inch round about 1/4 inch thick.
- Line a large unrimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll the dough around the rolling pin and unroll it onto the prepared baking sheet.
- In a small bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the sugar with the remaining 1 tablespoon of flour. If you wish to add additional spices like cinnamon or nutmeg, you can do so here. Sprinkle over the dough.
- Arrange the apple slices on top in overlapping concentric circles, starting with the outside, leaving around 3 inches to the edge. Fold over the edge of the dough about 1/2 inch, then fold again to cover the outer edge of the apples in a free-form fashion.
- Brush the apples with the melted butter. In a small bowl, beat an egg and brush over the outer edge of the dough. Sprinkle tart with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar. Refrigerate the unbaked tart until slightly chilled, about 10 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake the tart in the center of the oven for 1 hour, or until the apples are tender and golden and the crust is deep golden and cooked through. Set tart on wire rack to cool. While cooling, brush apples and crust with melted preserves. Let the tart cool slightly before serving.
- For the whipped cream, whisk together very cold heavy whipping cream, sugar, cardamom, and cayenne in a chilled bowl until soft speaks form. Serve on top of tart slices.
The baked tart can be stored overnight at room temperature and can be reheated in a 325° oven before serving.